It starts at prom.
"I think this is a bad idea."
How Santana can say things like this and still maintain a sound of disinterest in her voice will forever baffle Dave. He is slowly coming to learn her moods and tones; after hanging out with her for over a month now, he feels happy to say they are in early stages of an actual friendship. Dave has never quite had a friend like Santana: she's a long, far way from his friends on the football team although he does think she could quite easily take on all of them. She is just as guarded with her feelings as Dave is, and it makes for lots of awkward silences when neither of them wants to be the first to talk. Then to the far extreme when they are both unable to stop the revelations that come spilling out.
It's safe to say that Santana Lopez knows more about Dave than he has ever let anyone learn before.
Dave isn't ignorant to the murmurs and stares as they walk through the gymnasium. The school population usually bores easily of gossip, but this one has kept them talking for weeks now. He thinks it's mostly because no one can quite figure out what he and Santana are. He won't deny he takes a small amount of pleasure in seeing their confused, gormless faces whenever the two of them walk by.
"You wanted to come to your prom and not spend the whole night staring at Brittany and Wheels over there. You laid on a guilt trip pretty thick that made me feels so bad I finally gave in and agreed. I'm not leaving now."
"Hmm..." Santana struts ahead of him, scanning the crowd. "We both know you would have caved without my guilt trip. You're just as much of a masochist as I am." She motions her head to where the entirety of the Glee club has congregated and there, smack bang in the middle of them is Blaine, who is holdingKurt's hand and spinning him around gracefully. They all look so damn happy. For a moment Dave tries to picture himself in amongst them all – he pictures himself spinning Kurt around. He sees Kurt smiling at him blissfully, but it all fades as quickly as the first thought came.
"Still want to stay, big guy?"
Dave looks down at himself; his Dad promised him that he looked acceptable enough. It's at moments like that when he really misses his Mom. She would have said something reassuring and smiled brightly, giving him encouraging pushes towards what he should do. He's been missing her a lot recently, more than he ever has before, even more than just after she died when the pain was raw and fresh. It's deeper now, an aching longing just to see her and ask her advice.
Santana links her arm with his and starts pulling him forward. Dave tries to stop her but for someone so tiny she is freakishly strong. "Where are we going?"
"To hang out with my friends, unless you'd like to spend the evening with Azimio and the rest of the football losers."
"Half of those losers are in your precious Glee club, you know that right?"
"Look, David." She stops. They are in the middle of the dance floor, some top 40 hit blasting around his ears, happy couples and groups of friends moving around them. "I am sorry for dragging you here and even more so for what I am about to do, but I made a decision to not give up on the one thing I want more than anything. You'll hate me for this right now but one day you will thank me."
Before he can protest and pull them away from where the Glee kids are, Santana is using her crazy strength to pull them both along and they are standing in front of thirteen sets of judging eyes.
"Hi guys!" Santana says brightly. "Everyone having a good time?"
Dave has never seen them be so quiet, usually they are all flailing around, singing or chatting. The only one that moves is Blaine as he steps forward, putting himself in between Dave and Kurt. He can see why Kurt likes him so much. He is much prettier than Dave remembers from their only two encounters. There's strength in the way he holds himself, a braveness that Dave has already seen from their last confrontation.
"I thought we talked about this, Santana." Rachel stands up by Sam's side, her face defiant and strong, as usual.
"Yeah, we did. But I decided to ignore everything you guys said." Santana shrugs, her eyes darting briefly to Brittany who is sitting in Artie's lap.
"Well, you have a good night then. See ya..." Puck sneers and Dave would give anything to wipe that smarmy look of his face. In fact he'd do anything to wipe all the looks off their faces right now. The way they are looking at Santana, with such disgust and disdain.
"I can bring whomever I want to prom, Puckerman."
"San, it's fine..." Dave doesn't want to deal with this, not tonight. Not ever, if he is being perfectly honest and delusional.
"No, it's not fine. You've apologised and people should be big enough to accept that." When he meets her eyes they are fierce and determined. He knows better now than to argue with that look. He sighs heavily in defeat.
"So, he apologises and all is forgiven? Is your memory so short Santana that you've forgotten the misery that he put us all through? Of what he did to Kurt?" Quinn almost whispers the last sentence, like it's some kind of secret. It makes Dave want to look at Kurt, to ask him why the hell he is hiding behind his pretty boyfriend. Dave can't help but feel it's him that put Kurt there, hiding behind people and not being brave enough to step out.
Santana folds her arms across her chest and throws daggers at Quinn. "And what exactly has he done to you? Throw a slushy in your face? Let's face it Prom Queen you deserve a lot more than that. In fact, I'd say that every single person here is less than perfect so for any of you to be judging David is just laughable. He's not perfect but at least he's trying to make up for things."
Kurt steps out from behind the shelter; Dave takes in everything about how he looks. It may be the most understated he has ever seen Kurt look. Of course he still looks flawlessly put together and absolutely perfect. The tailored black suit fits him perfectly but it just isn't Kurt. "What do you want, Santana?"
"I have an idea." She smiles brightly before turning to Dave and winking. "I say that Prom should be about new beginnings, moving on, starting fresh and all that crap." She waves her hand in the air. "I say we each share a dance with someone, but it can't be your date."
She directs it at Hudson, the goofy grin on his face and the pathetic puppy eyes he was giving Quinn were beyond sickening. Dave is always grateful to have Santana in his life at moments like this.
"That's all?" Rachel says, her eyes lightening up and sneaking a glance at Finn. "That's all we have to do? Dance with someone?"
Santana nods. "Are you all in?"
"What's the catch?" Kurt folds his arms across his chest. Dave knows that Kurt is far from stupid and can see Santana's bullshit from miles away.
"No catch." Santana shrugs. "Puckerman, give me your hat. We can pull our names out."
Santana walks over to Puck, but Dave doesn't miss the wink she gives him before she turns away. Whatever it's about; he knows she has trouble planned.
Well, the one thing Santana was right about is that Dave is mad at her. He has thought about this moment a lot, he has had several day dreams where Kurt suddenly accepts his many apologies and falls into his arms. Dave isn't delusional enough to ever believe it would happen and even though he has Kurt Hummel in his arms, the day dreams do not at all live up to the expectation.
Of course they don't; because Kurt Hummel clearly wants to be anywhere else than in Dave's arms. Even Dave who has longed for this moment doesn't even know where to put his hands, if it's even okay that he has one lightly on Kurt's shoulder and one even lighter on his waist. Kurt's whole body is tense, his fingers keep gripping tighter onto Dave's arms, but not in a want to hold on, it's more of 'I hope if I grip on tighter it's going to hurt you, you son of a bitch'. It's not like Dave can really blame him is it?
"I'm guessing this is all part of you and Santana's plan."
Dave has no idea what Kurt is talking about. "What plan?"
"Whatever plan you and her have to humiliate me tonight." Kurt huffs angrily as Dave steps forward too soon and nearly steps on his foot.
"There is no plan, Kurt. Just prom."
Kurt makes an exasperated noise and tries to take some kind of lead in the dance. Dave kind of takes a weird joy in the fact that he can irritate Kurt with just his presence, he knows it's kind of wrong to take so much pleasure in it, but it really is the only thing he has right now. The fact that he can at least get some kind of reaction out of Kurt is better than nothing at all. He has been waiting for the day Kurt walks by him and it's like Dave isn't even there.
"Then why am I dancing with you?"
Dave sighs heavily. "Santana, she's trying to be a good friend."
"By forcing me to dance with you?"
"Being a good friend to me, Kurt."
Kurt's grip loosens slightly, his face softens from the angry expression and is replaced with confusion. It's hard for Dave not to blink as he stares at Kurt, he has to remind himself to look away every now and then because if he doesn't its going to be blatantly obvious to everyone and their mother that Dave is pining away for Kurt. He can accept the stares and comments in the hallway, the judgemental looks and harsh brush of the shoulder every now and then, but he isn't sure he could deal with the aftermath of everyone realising that David Karofsky has a pathetic crush on Kurt Hummel. He knows he'll never be good enough for him, he doesn't need everyone else reminding him of that too.
"Why would orchestrating a situation that allows us to dance together translate to Santana being a good friend to you?"
Jeez, Dave thought that Kurt was supposed to be smart. "Why do you think, Kurt? Did you really think that me and Santana stayed up last night plotting ways to make you uncomfortable?"
"I don't think you need Santana's help, you do a pretty good job by yourself."
Dave stops moving and drops his arms. "What do you want me to do? Is anything I say ever going to be enough for you?"
"No. You don't get to say you're sorry and then just expect me to be okay with you especially when it's a half-assed apology that you've been forced into."
"It's not like that... I thought maybe you would understand..."
"Are you actually trying to ask me for help? What would you like to do, David? Sit around and have heart to hearts and then I can give you a pat on the back and say well done for finally accepting who you are? You made my life hell for the better part of the year, I don't owe you anything."
Dave lets out a heavy breath. That right there was the last tiny piece of hope he had been hanging onto, the last thread that maybe, just maybe Kurt could be something more to him. A friend even. Dave's shoulders drop and his clenched fists relax.
"There's nothing I can do is there?"
Kurt is still close to him, the tension for one brief moment leaves Kurt's body, Dave is almost certain that he sees one of Kurt's hands move towards his, then it falls away. Dave allows himself one more look, he can give himself at least that. He'll torture himself with the moment later when he lies awake, unable to sleep but now he'll savour it. Imagining something different in Kurt's eyes other than the indifference he usually sees.
When Dave looks up, Kurt's head is tilted and his expression is still covered with confusion. "Why did you kiss me?"
"What?" Dave blinks. He has spent a lot of time replaying that moment over in his mind and he always focuses on the different ways he wanted it to end. There would be no pushing away and no terrified expression from Kurt, just blissful oblivion and Kurt clutching onto him and kissing him back.
"In the locker room, why?" Kurt's gaze is intense and unwavering. "I always thought it was because I got too close and hit a nerve. I know I kept pushing, I never expected that reaction and I've never really thought about why..."
"You want to talk about this here?" Dave shakes his head. "Do you even need me to say it?"
"We'll certainly never have this moment again and I won't ever let you this close to me again so why not? You'll never get another chance to explain yourself to me."
Dave stops moving and his hands fall away. "I forgot how much of a bitch you could be. Forget it." Dave shoves his hands in his pockets and skulks out of the badly lit gym. He passes by Santana, who is happily dancing with Brittany and ignores the questioning look she gives him. What sucks is that he can't leave, he promised Santana he would get her home safe and sound. Santana's dad looked scary as hell so there is no way he is getting her back even a second after curfew.
He pushes the gym doors open with force and they swing back, crashing shut. He sighs heavily into the empty corridor and walks slowly to his locker. He hid a flask of vodka in there earlier because he knew that something shitty would inevitable happen tonight. He slams his locker shut and slumps down to the floor. He takes a swig from the flask and pulls at his tie. He can hear the dull thud of the music, clearly the Glee Club have made their way back onto the stage and are happily dancing around. Fuck 'em. Fuck Hummel.
It's not enough that he just stood up in front of their entire class and danced with him, it's not enough that he has apologised and it's not enough that he has left Kurt alone. Nothing is ever going to change, there is always going to be a small amount of fear in Kurt's eyes whenever he looks at Dave and there is always going to be anger whenever they have a conversation. Kurt won't let it go and Dave can't deal with being backed into a corner. There are going to be enough questions for him to answer tomorrow, Azimio will corner him tomorrow with the rest of the guys and ask him what the hell he was thinking. Dave can't even tell his friends the truth, he can't even tell them that he fucked up monumentally and now he has to do everything right because so much as one step wrong will have him out of the football team on his ass. He can't even tell them who he really is. His whole damn pathetic excuse of a life is a lie.
The music from the gymnasium gets louder as the doors swing open and the sound of laughter makes Dave want to get up and punch the smiles off whoever faces are about to walk around the corner. He shuffles along the locker and places his body between an open door and the lockers, wedging himself up against the wall. It's not like he is tiny and can be completely hidden, but no one is going to notice him or pay close attention to him, so he can stay there and let whoever it is pass by.
"We can't stay out here too long, everyone else will notice..."
Dave recognises the sound of Sam's voice. Great, he is going to have to witness Sam making out with some random girl. He thinks he should be more surprised when he doesn't hear a girl's voice respond.
"They won't notice. Everyone's too caught up and happy. Besides, I'd like one dance with my boyfriend."
It takes Dave a few seconds to register the voice because he has only heard it a few times and those few times there had been a strong amount of disdain and venom aimed at him. It's unmistakeably Blaine though, only softer and happier. Shit. Maybe Dave is imagining things, it wouldn't be his first boy on boy fantasy. Fair enough he is usually involved and they are secluded to his bedroom and not the questionable dirty, and public, school floor, but it's still a strong possibility.
Dave pokes his head around the corner of the locker and sees if there is any way he can escape without being notice or falling over his own feet. Neither are likely given his size but Blaine and Sam seem pretty wrapped up in each other to notice much else. When he hears Blaine start singing softly he just wants to bang his head against the locker because, really? Who does that? Sam doesn't seem to mind though, he looks happy and a lot calmer than Dave has seen him look for a long time. Not that Dave has been actively looking at Sam, but he's heard the rumours about Sam's family problems. News travels fast in high school and people are cruel.
"I got my dance." Blaine's voice is slightly muffled against Sam's neck. "Want me to go back in first?"
Dave leans back against the wall again, he doesn't hear Sam respond but he must because the Gym door opens and closes. He'll wait until he hears it open and close again and go try and find Santana, see if she wants to leave early and go grab a pizza. He shuffles slightly and notices too late the flask slipping out of his hand and flinches as it hits the floor with a crash. He can hope that maybe Sam already went back inside and Dave just missed it. But of course life is just that much of a bitch for Dave, so instead, Sam is standing in front of him, staring down with half anger and half fear.
"Why are you creeping around, Karofsky?"
The self-righteous tone to Sam's voice pisses Dave off. Sam actually thinks he has the right to judge Dave? Dave may be an asshole but at least he isn't a cheating asshole.
"I don't know, Evans. Maybe I'm cheating with one of my friend's boyfriends. Oh no, that's you." He'd hoped he would sound a lot cooler when he said that. Mostly, it came out with him sounding like a girl.
"You don't know what you're talking about."
Dave pulls himself up, gripping onto the locker because apparently the Vodka was taking effect a lot quicker than he thought. "So that wasn't you making out with Blaine?"
Sam looks as though he is about to say something else, maybe throw out another denial but he seems to understand the situation he is in. The look on his face says it all as he realises he has been busted. Dave suddenly feels a huge wave of sympathy for the guy. He tries to put himself in this situation, if Azimio had caught him like this, if anyone had, he'd try and put up as much of a fight as he could. The same way he fought against Kurt. How, even after both of them knew the truth, he still blamed Kurt and turned it all away from himself.
"Are you going to tell anyone?" There's only panic in Sam's voice now and there is a sick twisted part of Dave that thinks he really could have a lot of fun with this. But he can't quite seem to muster up the enthusiasm to watch Evans squirm.
"It's none of my business." Dave shrugs. "What about Kurt?"
He asks the question before he has even really had time to think about it. He saw the way Kurt and Blaine were together earlier on, how happy Kurt had looked. He realises the anger he can feel is for Kurt. It's the fact that two people Kurt cares about are hurting him, fooling around behind his back.
"What about him?"
"What about him? I thought you guys were friends."
"We are friends..." Sam runs his fingers through his hair, anxiously. "It's complicated, okay? Things have been really hard for me recently and I've been trying to work things out and Blaine... I'm not trying to justify it but it feels good to have something right in my life for once. Why am I even telling you this?"
Dave shrugs. "You see anyone else in this corridor?"
"Why are you out here anyway? I thought you'd be in there loving all this."
"Yeah, I can't think of anything I'd rather do than dance round in a stupid suit with a big fake smile on my face with a bunch of people, most of whom don't like me."
"Can you blame them?"
"I'm going to ignore that seeing as it's coming from someone who thinks it's okay to fool around with one of their friend's boyfriends."
"It's not like that! Kurt and Blaine..."
Dave really doesn't want to hear anymore. He has got involved in enough glee club drama to last a lifetime. He holds up his hands and brushes past Sam. "Whatever, dude. Tell yourself whatever you need to. As long as it makes you happy right?"
"Are you seriously trying to take the moral high ground with me after what you did to Kurt?" Sam calls out behind him.
"What exactly do I have to do to prove I'm sorry? I stood in front of all of you and apologised. I'm sorry if it wasn't sincere enough or because I didn't burst out into song it didn't make it quite so genuine."
"All you did was say sorry. How would that make up for all the crap you've done?"
"What crap? I've stayed away from you guys like I said I would. You all still look at me like I'm something you stepped in. And Kurt... he doesn't even look at me."
Sam steps forward, his hands stuffed into his pockets and his face curious. "Why do you care about what we think so much?"
"I don't care."
"Sure you don't. Like you don't care about Kurt?" It's full of insinuation, so much that Dave is just going to ignore. Like hell is he going to admit to Sam Evans about... well anything at all actually. He does think it's a little rich that Sam wants to lead speeches about caring for Kurt. The smirk on Sam's face looks strange there, unlike the usual easy smile he wears it drops almost instantly when Sam registers Dave's expression. Sam seems to understand without Dave even having to say a word. "It's not what it seems. I mean, Kurt and Blaine aren't together anymore. If you can call them ever really officially being together... anyway, they decided to be friends and Blaine was at Dalton when I was delivering pizzas and we'd just hang out and..."
"I do not need to hear the Sam and Blaine love story." Dave holds up his hands in protest. He hopes it's enough to just make Sam stop.
Dave stumbles along the corridor, perhaps in hindsight it was a bad idea to drink the whole flask of Vodka so quickly. He is going to have to get Santana to drive them home but he is going to have to find her first. The last thing he wants is to go back in there and deal with all the questioning faces. News spreads quickly in this school and he has been doing a pretty good job of bullshitting his way through it so far; but Santana just made him stand up and dance with Kurt Hummel, what's more is he did it pretty much willingly. The thought of having Kurt that close outweighing any backlash he might get because of it.
He doesn't even reach the door before he feels a hand on his shoulder. "Dave, you aren't going to tell anyone are you?"
He turns around to see Sam looking at him with worried eyes. "I mean, no one else knows and it's not that I'm ashamed of being with Blaine, I mean I really like him but..."
"Seriously, dude, it's none of my business." Dave tries to manoeuvre out of Sam's grip and reach for the door. But his feet feel a little wobbly, and he can't quite get his hand to grip on the handle.
"Why don't I drop you off home? You don't look like you want to be in there anyway."
"I can't leave without Santana."
"She's in there getting pretty up close with Brittany. About time if you ask me... come on, I've got some time before I have to come back and take Mercedes and Rachel home."
Dave sighs heavily, he really doesn't want to go back in there. He can hear the music kick in loudly and Puckerman shouting at the crowd, urging them on. He doesn't want to go in there and look at their smiling faces and have to pretend. His whole life is pretending. He needs a night off. He shrugs his arm away from Sam and gestures forward with a small nod, before following him along the corridor.
"You don't need to be nice to me you know? I won't tell anyone about you and what's his face."
Sam shrugs. "Let's call this my good deed for the year or something."
Dave grunts and follows him out the door. He's trying not to focus on the bitch of a headache he is going to have tomorrow or the fact that he'll have a bunch load of angry texts from Santana about where he disappeared too. Mostly, he's just going to focus on getting home without Sam telling him the whole story about how he and Blaine got together.
On Monday morning the school is still buzzing with stories from prom. Who went home with whom, prom king and queen, there's even a crazy rumour going around that Puck knocked up the French teacher in the ladies restroom. All in all it's a normal day at McKinley high. Dave can't ignore the stares he gets as he walks through the corridor. Most of the time people look because it's hard to miss Dave and people are usually rushing to get out of his way. There is intent behind the looks today though and he can't help but feel more than a little paranoid.
He is relieved when he reaches his locker, happy to hide his head into his locker and ignore the chatter and bustle of the corridor. His locker door hits his head slightly and he would ignore it but it's persistent and annoying and he knows it has to be Santana on the other side of the door.
"You ignored all my texts, asshole."
Dave shrugs and slams his locker shut. "I was tired Saturday and I had a family thing on Sunday."
"You missed your big moment at prom."
Dave doesn't respond, he just starts walking toward Chemistry class. It's not that he is still pissed at Santana, not really anyway, it's not like she forced him into dancing with Kurt because he pretty much went willingly. He'll have a hard time explaining that away to the guys on the team, but when he uses the excuse that his hot girlfriend made him do it they are sure to understand.
"Are you mad at me?" Santana has linked her arm around his and Dave shakes his head and Santana continues. "I am sorry, but I saw Britt with Artie and I kind of snapped, okay?"
Maybe he doesn't get it to the same extent. Santana's feelings for Brittany are complicated and hard for Dave to understand because Santana finds it so hard to articulate them. But Dave sees the way Santana looks at Brittany, he has seen her turn up at his house and cry silently while they watch TV and he doesn't need to ask to know what it's about.
"It's okay, San. Stop being affectionate at school or people will think you actually have feelings or something."
Dave smiles down at her and she grimaces, releasing her arm from his. "They voted you prom king, you know? That's what all the stares and whispers are for. Everyone thinks you left because you had something to do with who was voted prom queen."
"Kurt. He was fabulous." Santana flips her hair over her shoulder. "He got up on stage and accepted the crown and pretty much flipped off every single person in the room. It was pretty impressive."
"Great. I bet they all think I planned the whole thing."
Santana shrugs. "I stuck up for you. Told them there was no way you had the brains or time to plan something like that."
Dave peeks his head into the classroom and almost immediately everyone is looking at him. "Fantastic."
"Don't worry about it big guy, they already thought you were a jackass anyway."
It shouldn't bother him really, it's not like he was unaware of the fact that most people in this school see him as a stereotypical jock. It just doesn't really match up with the title of prom king he got last night. The whole thing is confusing to him. Unless they think he rigged that too. He tries to figure out when he gave the impression that he gave a shit what anyone at this school thinks about him. Most of the time he feels like his whole persona is on display and every single move he makes is being watched and judged and he knows that's why he is so damn afraid. Because if someone looks close enough, if someone pushes hard enough everything that he hides away about himself will come crashing down around him and everyone will know.
"I need your help."
Dave looks behind him because Sam Evans really can't be asking for his help about... well about anything at all really. The few times they had crossed paths was in the school Gym but they just ignored each other and went back to whatever they were doing. Dave contemplates just ignoring Sam and heading for the showers but Sam kind of looks freaked out and he is blocking the damn door.
"Why would you need my help, Evans?"
Sam looks over his shoulder, searching around the empty Gym before taking a seat next to Dave. "Blaine and I have been together for nearly a month and I was thinking maybe I should take him out or something, but it's complicated because I don't really know if that's kind of lame but I guess... I mean... I want him to know how much he means to me and I figure this would be a good time to like lay my heart on the line you know?"
"Are you... did you get me confused with one of your Gleek friends?"
"But... why the hell are you talking to me about... whatever it is that you are talking about?"
"Look, you're the only one who knows about me and Blaine. Yeah, okay, I wish it wasn't you I had to ask about this but I don't have anyone else to talk to."
Sam sighs heavily and looks down at the floor, he has his hands entwined tightly together and he looks so damn defeated and pathetic that Dave almost feels sorry for him. He knows he is going to regret opening this... whatever this is and letting Sam talk at him or whatever he needs but it turns out he is a bit of a sucker for pretty blonde guys with pouty lips. He shouldn't be surprised really.
"Fine." Dave huffs. "How exactly can I help you with this?"
"I just want some advice, I mean – is that a nice thing to do? Take him out somewhere nice and celebrate being together for a month?"
Jeez, who knew Evans was such a girl. "I guess, I mean... you know him better than I do. If you think it's something he'll like... enjoy or whatever then you should... yeah, go for it."
Sam nods. "I just don't know where to take him. I mean, anywhere local is off limits, it's too much of a risk for anyone to see us."
"Is there a reason you don't want anyone to know?"
"At first, it was because we didn't want to hurt Kurt. I mean, Blaine and Kurt's relationship had just fizzled out but it's still weird you know? Dating a friend's Ex. Now, I'm just... I mean, I know myself. I've known for a while and I'm happy with who I am. But being bisexual and knowing it myself is a whole lot different than going out there and telling everyone. Woah, that's the first time I just said that out loud. And I said it to Dave Karofsky. This is more than a little weird."
Dave holds up his hands. "Hey, you started this conversation."
"I know you won't understand..." Sam shrugs. "But sometimes I just get scared. I guess I need a little more time."
Dave nods, because oh boy does he understand. He understands in a way that Sam can't even comprehend. "Look..." Dave sighs, he is no good at this emotional touchy feely shit but he figures he better at least give it a shot seeing as how honest Sam just was. "Is Blaine a good guy?"
"Well then, he must get all that stuff you just told me. So just, go somewhere that's special to the two of you or something. He'll probably just care more about being with you than anything else right?"
"Yeah, you're right. There's this park not far from Dalton where we used to meet up after school when we first started hanging out."
Dave nods and stands up, hoping he can make a break for it before Sam starts talking about what exactly they did at the park. He picks up his water bottle from the front of the cross trainer and waves in Sam's direction.
"Hey, Karofsky." Sam stood up and walked over to the door on the opposite side of the Gym. "Thanks."
Dave waits until Sam shuts the door and then slowly shakes his head. He has no idea what just happened here.
The week passes in a pretty uneventful fashion. Despite him telling the guys on the team that he was forced into dancing with Santana, they still give him shit for it but they counterpart it by congratulating him on getting the 'fairy' voted prom queen. He spends most of football practice wanting to punch them all in the face. It's getting harder every day to just laugh along with their stupid jokes and pretend that he doesn't give a shit that nearly every slur out of their mouth's is in some way homophobic. He tries to picture what would happen if the guys knew, if he just told them all the truth – somehow he can't imagine things being any different. Some things really just are the way they are and they won't ever change.
He does wake up to a text message from Sam on Friday morning giving him a way too detailed retelling of his "perfect" night with Blaine. He can't actually remember giving Sam his cell number or what gave Sam the impression that he wanted to know any of that. But seeing as he is feeling polite or insane perhaps, he replies back to the thank you in the text and hopes it was just a one-time event.
Friday afternoon had become somewhat of a routine for him and Santana. They had a free study period straight after lunch which of course they spent no time studying. Mostly Santana practised whatever song she had to sing for Glee that week and Dave spent his time doodling in his sketch book. He was running late as usual and the corridors were fairly empty apart from a few people hanging around their lockers. Dave turned the corner quickly, rushing to meet Santana outside on their usual bench when he crashes into a locker door left open.
He doesn't fall over, mostly just stumbles backwards and drops all his shit on the floor. He is about to curse and pick up his books from the floor but someone beats him too it.
"Oh crap! Gosh, I'm so sorry!" Some chick is on the floor making a pile of his books and picking up the random pieces of paper that flew out of his sketch book. She isn't moving quite fast enough for his liking because those are his damn sketches all over the floor and they are personal.
"I was just trying to get my books together for Monday. I'm new and I figured I best be organised you know? It's not really something that comes easily for me and my mom is always on my ass about it. "Zoe, why can't you be organised like your sister?" and I'm like "maybe, because I'm normal and not a tidy nazi like Sara" - you know what I mean?"
No. Dave has no clue what she means. He is pretty sure she would never be described as normal though. Her hair is a strange pink colour and the glasses she is wearing seem to match the colour exactly. She is short and tiny, her skinny jeans hidden underneath a big baggy bright blue shirt. She doesn't seem too interested in the sketches, mostly just trying to get them in a tidy pile. Once she has, she lifts it all up and hands it to Dave.
"Sorry, again. I'll make sure to keep my locker door closed unless I'm actually like, looking for something in it."
"S'fine." Dave shrugs and looks around the floor to see if any of the sketches have gone astray. He can just imagine one of them going missing and someone finding it and them realising it was him and having to come up with a damn good excuse...
"I'm Zoe." The girl, Zoe, is holding out her hand and smiling widely.
Dave looks down at his own full hands and shifts his books under his arm before shaking her hand. "David."
"It's nice to meet you, David. Gosh, even though I did crash into you, it's kind of nice to meet someone before I actually start on Monday. I tend to ramble when meeting people for the first time you know? I imagine it's going to be pretty terrifying when I have my first class. So you're on the football team, huh? What's that like? I'm not really into sports myself, more the creative stuff, you know?"
Dave just nods because this chick talks a lot and he is pretty sure she asked a couple of questions in her ramble but for the life of him he can't remember what any of them were.
"You're sketches are amazing, by the way. I guess there must be an art club here, then? I'll definitely be joining, not that I'm half as good as you are but it's something I really enjoy. You don't say much do you?"
"Were you going to give me a chance?"
That was kind of rude. Oops. Zoe is still smiling though, looking at Dave like she is trying to figure something out. "I did warn you I ramble when I first meet people."
Zoe slams her locker shut and pulls her book bag over her shoulder. "Well, I guess I'll see you Monday, David."
She turns away and waves over her shoulder before leaving through the doors at the end of the corridor. When Dave looks down at his watch he sees that he is half an hour late to meet Santana, she is going to kick his ass.
"So, you're telling me you were late because you were spending time with another woman?" Santana contemplates this. "Maybe we should have a fake fight about you cheating on me..."
"How about no?" Dave doesn't even look up from his sketch of the school he has been working on for ten minutes.
"You know, no one is going to believe this is real if we keep walking down the corridor hand in hand and just smiling at each other. We need to add some spice into the relationship."
"San, there is no relationship. Besides, people are interested enough in what's going on to keep them guessing. Let them think what they want."
"Let them think what they want?" Santana's voice is mocking. "Who are you right now? I thought we both had expectations and reputations we want to keep at this school and now you're saying let them think what they want?"
Dave shrugs. "Maybe I'm tired of it. No, I am tired of it."
"Is this even happening right now?"
"You spent the whole night at prom dancing with Brittany and the world didn't implode. You can't tell me that you wouldn't love to walk down the corridor holding her hand, or sit with her and lunch and feed her strawberries or whatever it is lesbians do."
"I think there was supposed to be something motivational in there but I'm not quite sure. Tell me, David – what else is it that lesbians do?"
Dave shrugs. "I don't know, you're the lesbian!"
Santana folds her arms across her chest. "You're forgetting one very important factor, Brittany is with Artie and she has made it pretty clear to me that won't be changing any time soon. Face it, we're all we've got. At this point I'd say there's more chance of you getting it on with Kurt than me and Britt getting together any time soon. And we both know that ain't ever going to happen."
"Sugar coat it why don't you?"
Santana tilts her head slightly, the look of pity across her face makes Dave want to bolt. "I used to think your crush on him was cute, now I think it's getting a little pathetic."
"Seriously, do we have to talk about this?" Dave tries to block out her voice and focus on the lines of his sketch, the shades he wants to use for the sky, what would be the perfect pencil to stab Santana in the hand with...
"There are so many guys out there, David. Hot guys. You know what we should do?"
"Whatever you are about to suggest the answer is and will always be no."
Clearly Santana is ignoring him and just carries on regardless. "We should go to a gay bar. I bet my cousin could get us fake I.D's. Come on, imagine being out of Lima – somewhere no one knows us, we can be ourselves and maybe get you someone to take your mind off lady pants."
Dave sighs heavily and stares down at his half-finished drawing. The shape of the building is all wrong, the trees are the wrong shade and there is something about the sketch that is completely off. It matches perfectly to his current state of mind. He thought he had been doing okay, better since his friendship with Santana began, better since Kurt had transferred back. Now he just feels like he is sinking and can't manage to pull himself up. The sketch is him, it's all out of place and distorted and doesn't resemble what he wants the school to look like. It has no reflection to what he looks at every day when he walks up to the building. It's the same feeling he gets first thing in the morning when he looks at himself in the mirror, he can see a flicker of a resemblance but it's not him. Not even half the person he wants to be.
Dave gives into Santana after the endless texts and phone calls and agrees to go to a damn gay bar. She says she is going to make plans and get back to him. It's so much easier to let her take control and do whatever she wants because he knows he would never hear the end of it. And maybe he is a tiny bit curious, I mean, it really couldn't hurt. Maybe, well maybe Santana is right he might meet someone he likes and then he can really know. He can see there are more people like him and he won't feel like such a freak all the time.
Azimio bugged him all day Sunday about going out and catching a movie, but it's got decidedly more awkward each and every time they see each other. Az keeps asking him questions about him and Santana, wanting explicit details and Dave just doesn't want to make up those kinds of stories. It actually pisses him off so much when Az starts talking shit about her; he goes off on ridiculous rants that she lost any cool standing when she quit cheerleading and became a full on Glee. Dave always ends up making excuses and leaves before he does or says something he'll regret.
He ends up driving in on his own, making some lame excuse to Az, but he knows he will only get away with it for so long before he ends up backed against a wall by Az demanding answers. He'll just carry on buying as much time as he can. He slams the door of his truck closed and instinctively opens the back door to pull his letterman jacket out. It's right there, just a reach away and yet somehow he really doesn't want to put it on. He doesn't want to have another thing to hide behind. He sighs heavily and slams the door shut, no one is going to ask him about it anyway. He's half way across the parking lot when he sees the girl from last Friday; Zoe she said her name was. She is pulling a big bag out the back of her Volkswagen Beetle, that looks like it's about to fall apart at any second, and she has a big stack of textbooks in her hand. She struggles to shut the door and even when she has, the books topple out of her arms and end up scattered on the floor. Dave sighs and starts walking over there slowly. When did he become such a saint?
He picks up the ones nearest him on the way to her car, even when he is close to her she doesn't notice him straight away – she is still frantically looking under the car for something. When she goes to move, she bangs her head and falls butt first on the ground, Dave stifles a laugh.
Zoe looks up, slightly peeved and exasperated, and then noticing Dave she smiles widely. "David. Hi, oh gosh- thanks for picking up my books I swear I am such a klutz."
Dave reaches out with his free hand to help her up and she takes it happily, wiping away at her jeans when she stands up. "Yeah, I've noticed that about you."
She shrugs and smiles at him. "Always have been, I guess. You want me to take those?"
"I can carry them in for you if you want... I mean if you need help?"
"Gee, I hope all the guys in this school are as nice as you, thanks. Let me just get my coat."
One thing Dave does notice is how quickly Zoe moves, he thinks it might be one of the reasons she is so damn clumsy because she doesn't finish doing one thing before she has already moved onto the next. It's like she is getting her coat, picking up her bag and her books all at the same time. Then she is standing at Dave's side literally bouncing on her feet.
"So I already checked and you probably already know, but art club is after school today, so I guess I'll see you there, right? What's the teacher like who runs it? I mean I don't have high expectations but it's good to have someone you can talk to, especially about art – it's so personal. Well, you know that... hey! Maybe we could meet up after last period and go together?"
They are already walking through the main doors before Dave can even respond. "I... I don't actually go to art club. Those sketches, well, I just draw for myself really... never even thought about showing anyone..."
"What? But, they were amazing. I always used to think I was pretty good but as soon as I saw your stuff I felt pretty much inadequate. Especially the one of that guy, the really pretty one... is he your boyfriend?"
"I... huh? I mean, what?" Dave clearly looks completely mortified without actually realising he is because Zoe seems to retreat.
"Oh gosh, is it like a secret? I mean, I just figured you were... oh boy this is embarrassing. You aren't gay are you? I totally just outed you and you aren't even out because you have nothing to be out about."
They have stopped outside Zoe's locker but they are just staring at each other. Zoe's eyes are wide and rimmed with dark black liner and she looks seriously worried and upset. Like she just fucking punched a puppy or something, and Dave feels bad. Damn. When did he start giving a shit about this stuff?
"It's not like that. I mean, he isn't my boyfriend and like..." He has been waiting for a moment like this if he is really honest with himself, for someone to figure it out and just say it and he would have no choice but to just say "yeah, I'm gay" - it really is the perfect opportunity because he doesn't know this girl but he thinks maybe he could be friends with her. He has a chance to start something with the complete truth and that's so much more than anything else he has in his life.
"I mean, I am. I'm… you know-" He looks around the corridor and whispers it. "But like, no one knows and I kind of don't know why I am telling you this because you could pretty much go tell everyone and yeah, but that's me. I'm on the football team, I draw and I'm a closet case and I have no idea why I am telling you this..."
Zoe's eyes soften and she smiles widely, reaching out to take the books from Dave's hands. "You know, you really should go to art club. I'd like to have a friend there – hey, you want to sit together at lunch?"
And that's that. Dave just told someone for the first time out loud that he is gay, even if he didn't say the actual words and they just acted like it was no fucking big deal. It's all a bit anti-climatic really.
He does sit with Zoe at lunch, which mainly consists of listening to her talk a whole lot while he ignores the looks from everyone in the cafeteria, mostly from the football team because they can't seem to figure out what the fuck is going on with him right now. He knows it means he is being a shitty friend, no matter how much shit they give him they have always, always had his back. But there is no way they can help him deal with this crisis – it literally hurts his brain to have to think about how they would act around Dave if they knew the truth. And trying to figure it out with their constant questions and jokes is just too damn much for him to think about on top of everything else.
It gets a little weird when Santana and Sam join them and Santana and Zoe hit it off and start talking about some TV show with models and makeovers. Dave zones out and watches Sam as he frantically taps on his phone, smiling like an idiot every now and then when he gets a message. He feels a strong pang of jealously every time that damn phone goes off. He hadn't spent a lot of time thinking about it, mostly because he was still trying to get his head around being gay – but something along the way changed and blurred that part because now that doesn't seem like so much of a big deal. It still is a big deal, but now he can't stop thinking about if he is ever going to get to experience that. To be the kind of person who can put a smile on someone's face like Blaine is with Sam.
"I meant to say... thanks again." Sam leans across the table, still smiling like a fool, his voice a whisper. "I went over to Dalton and surprised Blaine. We went to the park all day and just... well, yeah, anyway... it was awesome and he called me a dork for planning the whole thing but then he seemed to kind of love it and we totally... and anyway; it was amazing. Thanks for listening to me the other day."
Dave nods. "Oh yeah, just call me Dave 'relationship advisor' Karofsky."
"You must be doing something right, huh?" Sam motions towards Santana and Dave just shrugs his shoulder. He literally has no response to that.
Dave somehow manages to avoid Zoe the rest of the afternoon therefore getting himself out of art club. He is going to have to spend a lot of time tonight thinking about the fact that he came out to someone today. He may not have said the words, but someone knows – he confirmed it without having to say it, but Zoe knows and it's weird to not feel sick to his stomach or like the world might end. It's a relief and also terrifying all at the same time. The halls are quiet and okay, hiding out in the library so he can avoid everyone until they have left is so far from manning up, but there is no way he can deal with Az, not after the day he has had.
Every time he walks past the choir room there is something in him that makes him pause. He knows it's because it links the place back to Kurt, that something about it always pulls him there. He remembers the first time he walked by and heard Kurt singing; he had no idea what the song was, no doubt some show tune and he usually hates that shit but Kurt made it sound beautiful. When he shifted slightly to look through the small window in the door, he could only see the back of Kurt's head but he could tell that he was so caught up in the moment and loving having all that attention on him. He has lingered at the door listening to Kurt sing more times than he can count or even wants to. It's weird though how those little things have comforted him over the past few months. It's a long list of things that Kurt will never know Dave is so thankful for.
He can hear hushed voices coming from inside the room, the door is open and he should know better than to look. He seems to have a knack for picking up on drama when it is happening and ending up smack bang in the middle. What he should do is keep walking because obviously, whoever is in there whispering, it has absolutely nothing to do with Dave. Of course he looks though, he steps closer and leans against the wall and peeks around slightly. The Asian chick - Tina he thinks her name is – is kneeling down in front of Artie their hands linked, Artie is looking down at their hands sadly and Tina is talking softly.
"I don't know what to do... maybe it's best if we just come clean. You know? I care about Mike and I don't want him to get hurt, I think..."
Seriously, can't anyone in this damn club keep a girlfriend or boyfriend for more than five minutes? Artie is talking now, his voice slightly louder than hers.
"I'm not even sure what I want, Tina. In a way, I'm still mad at you... you hurt me. But, I can't exactly deny what happened last night. Maybe we should just take some time – see how we feel. I know I can't be with Brittany while I feel this way about you, so I'm going to do the right thing and be honest with her. I guess, you do what you have to do."
Tina is moving forward, her head rests in Artie's lap and his fingers run through her hair and they are both silent for a really long time. He moves away quickly, this moment isn't meant for him at all. He feels like he is intruding and even his blatant curiosity for drama won't let him stay there. His phone starts vibrating as he reaches the front door. It's a text from Az.
"I don't even know what the heck is going on with you, Bro. But my folks are out of town this weekend and there is no way I am letting that pass without a party. So you can get your fat-ass to my house this Saturday and act like you're my best friend. Got it?"
Dave sighs, there really is no point in protesting, so he simply replies back: "Sure."
The party is, summed up in a few words, awkward, lame, depressing, crap... actually Dave's list for the party could go on and on. He doesn't know half the people here and the other half he just desperately wants to avoid. He kind of wishes he had invited Zoe now, at least she could have hidden with him in the corner and talked to him about things he actually gives a shit about. They spend most nights either texting or talking on the phone anyway – he figures he can go hide away and call her in a bit. It's strange for Dave to get his head around someone else knowing. It makes him think that the more people are finding out the less he is getting good at hiding it. It also makes him feel that maybe sometime soon he can stop hiding.
For some reason a small number of the Glee club are here, it's probably to do with the guys who are on the football team and seeing as Az had extended the invitation to the whole team it kind of meant they were included. He lost sight of Sam a while ago, but the last time he saw him he was looking down glumly into a drink and casting glances at his cell. Rachel is dancing up close with some tall skinny guy with black curly hair who he doesn't recognise but can appreciate is very cute and Tina and Mike are huddled together on the sofa; it makes him think back to what he saw in the choir room the other day. Artie is nowhere in sight and he knows Santana is with Brittany who is supposedly devastated after her break up with Artie. The Glee club leaves Dave feeling confused and slightly terrified, mostly because he can feel himself getting pulled in and almost being interested why Tina looks like she is about to vomit and Finn is currently glaring at Rachel's cute date across the room.
It all just got far too High School Musical in here for him. He sighs and heaves himself off his corner of the room he had managed to hide himself in. He high fives a few of the guys as he works his way through the crowd to the almost empty kitchen. A couple are making their way out the back door, awkwardly as they are attached at the lips and Sam is sitting slumped against the counter in the middle of the room looking very much more depressed than he did an hour ago. He is surrounded by a lot of empty cups and that can't be a good thing. Dave finds a bottle of water in Az' fridge and takes a gulp before sitting on the stool next to Sam.
"You're not going to hurl are you?"
Sam shakes his head. "I didn't drink that much.
"Sure." Dave drinks again and nudges Sam, gesturing for him to sit down. Sam does, nearly falling off the seat in the process, it might be funny if he didn't look like he was about to burst out crying. "What's up?"
Sam shrugs. "S'nothing."
"Yeah, that's why you're sitting alone at a party getting wasted." Sam makes a strange little noise and stares down at the cell on the counter. "Waiting for a call?"
"Yeah, well... I guess. We had a fight."
"It was so stupid!" Sam gestures so emphatically that he almost stumbles forward off his chair into Dave's lap. His words come out in a slurred, jumbled mess and Dave is surprised Sam is even holding his head up. "They have all these rehearsals for these gigs they do and he's always spending time with this guy from the Glee club there and I know there's nothing going on. But then Blaine tells me that this guy apparently has a crush on him and told him he was interested. So I got mad because Blaine didn't tell him he had a boyfriend, just that he wasn't interested. And I know it's stupid because I'm the one who wanted to keep it secret, I know Blaine wanted to be upfront and I said some things that I didn't mean. Like, I said he has weird eyebrows! I don't think he has weird eyebrows. I think his eyebrows are adorable! Now he won't answer my calls, and I've text him like 20 times and he hasn't replied and I've screwed it all up because I am jealous idiot."
Dave blinks, trying to figure out what he actually asked Sam. Or why for that matter. There is an answer in there somewhere and something about eyebrows that Dave figures is probably the least important thing to be thinking about.
"He probably just needs some time to cool off. You got mad, so now he's mad... it'll be fine. Maybe leave it until tomorrow when you aren't drunk and call him then."
Sam nods slowly. "When did you get so smart?"
"I've always been smart, I just hide it really well."
"Do you really think it will be okay?"
"Sure, you had a fight and what sounds like a really lame one. You'll say you're sorry and he'll accept and everything will be fine."
"I just really care about him, you know? And like, you know what I really love... like when we make out he makes these cute little noises and he's always so grabby with his hands..."
Dave gets up. "Okay, that's my cue to leave."
"I forgot you're kind of weird about the gay stuff..." Sam rolls his eyes dramatically.
"It's not... that's not why I'm leaving. I just have a feeling you are about to divulge way too much information to me that perhaps your boyfriend was rather just between the two of you."
"Yeah! See, you are so smart!"
Dave chuckles slightly shaking his head, leaves the bottle of water on the counter and before he leaves turns back to Sam. "Drink some water and find me if you need a ride home."
Sam mumbles something into his cup and fumbles with his phone. Just as Dave leaves he is sure he can hear the start of Sam leaving Blaine a voicemail.
On his way back to hiding in his corner, Dave gets cornered by Az. Every time they spend more than five minutes together it ends up just being an awkward string of one syllable words. Dave knows it's his fault, because Az is trying in the only way he knows how. He is leering at the girls dancing and laughing at Hudson who is so drunk he can barely stand. The problem is, Dave has zero interest in the girls and he kind of feels bad for Hudson, he really has no idea what happened to him. Ultimately, their conversations all end the same way; Az sighs heavily and shrugs and walks away. Dave is a shitty friend.
He ends up sitting next to Hudson on a couch that has a good view of Rachel and her new cute boyfriend. It's not so bad, if he blocks out Hudson's pathetic moping and just focuses on the hot guy, that is. He usually ignores Finn at these parties so it's the first time he has had to endure his drunken behaviour and he is an annoying drunk. He starts poking Dave and asking him what's so great about the guy Rachel is with. Dave creates a mental list, one of course he is never going to say to Finn, but it's pretty fun nonetheless.
"I mean, look at that guy..." Finn gestures crazily with his hands and ends up smacking himself in the face. "... I'm hotter than that guy."
No, Finn. You really aren't. Not that Dave has spent much time, none at all actually, looking at Finn and marking his hotness but it's plain to see this new guy Berry is with is way hotter. Dave just shrugs and takes another sip of his water.
"They met at a drama club." Finn shakes his head. "That's so stupid. I don't even know what happens at a drama club, but I bet it's lame."
"Lamer than Glee club?" Dave suggests.
Finn tries to slap Dave's arms but misses and gets himself instead. "Glee club is awesome!"
Az walks by and it's just typical that it had to be at that exact moment he decided to stop and stand by the sofa. "Damn Hudson, can you at least quit that for one night? You go back to dancing like a damn fairy tomorrow."
The next five minutes were kind of surreal; Finn jumped up off the sofa and decided to prove to Az that he was the best dancer in the world, which caused a large group of people to form around him and Az. Dave thought maybe there was going to be some kind of dance showdown straight out of a cheesy 80's movie, but Finn tripped over his own foot on his first step and that quickly dispersed the crowd.
The whole thing had clearly been a show for Rachel, but she was far too caught up in other things to notice. So when Finn threw himself down next to Dave and asked if Rachel had seen the whole thing, he didn't really know what answer Finn was looking for.
"Nah, I think she went into the kitchen before that awesome display of dancing happened."
"Good, it would have been embarrassing if everyone had seen that."
"Everyone did see it, the only one who didn't was Rachel... and probably Sam who's outside having phone sex or something."
"With Rachel?" Finn stood up and fumbled through the crowd, heading toward the kitchen. This is why Dave shouldn't try and help people, he thought keeping Finn on the sofa would have prevented him from making a fool of himself in front of Rachel but then of course he has to open his mouth and send Finn in the right direction.
Dave follows because apparently he developed some kind of conscience over the last few weeks. He pushes through the crowd far more gracefully than Finn did and when he gets to the kitchen it's a far less dramatic sight than what he had been building up in his head. Sam has his head down on the counter, his phone in his hand still. Rachel is rubbing him on the back and Finn is glaring at cute boy who is getting Sam some more water.
"I think we should get Sam home, Michael."
Finn mumbles from the doorway something under his breath that Dave can't quite make out. He steps forward into the room and he smiles awkwardly at no one in particular. Rachel does her usual quick glance at him and acts like he never even stepped in the room, Finn gives him the thumbs up and Michael aka cute guy smiles widely at him.
"Hi I'm Michael, friend of Rachel's."
"Not a friend of Rachel's" Rachel adds that in without even looking in Dave's direction.
Finn pokes him in the arm. "Dude, don't talk to him."
Dave shoves his hand away and thinks about just leaving the room and maybe going home. As if he is needed in here anyway, why does he keep getting caught up in the middle of Glee drama? He shakes his head and turns to leave, not expecting anyone to stop him.
"It was David, right?"
It's Michael who does though, surprisingly. "Look David, me and Rachel are going to take Sam home because he keeps rambling about going across town and all he needs to do is go home. Maybe you should take Finn home?"
Finn, who clearly is in no state to drive home, is now sitting on the other side of Sam rubbing his back along with Rachel. It's clear he isn't doing this out of concern for Sam, just so he can stare at Rachel with big dorky gooey eyes.
Dave shrugs. "Fine."
"Oh my gosh! I love this song!" Finn keeps turning the radio to some top 40 shit and cranking up the volume so he can sing at the top of his voice. If Rachel hadn't given him a scary, stern warning he'd be pushing Finn out of the car and letting him walk the rest of the way home. Dave doesn't know how he is going to get Finn home without going unnoticed, if Finn's mom is anything like Dave's dad she is going to be pissed. And it's not really a good idea for him to be turning up to that house anyway, he is enemy number one at that house he is sure.
Dave turns the radio off and Finn just carries on singing Beyoncé. "Dude, where's your cell?"
Finn shrugs. "Jacket?"
Dave sighs and keeps driving, he'll just wait until he gets there and text Kurt or something, or maybe just call. He does consider just leaving Finn on the doorstep but knowing his luck, Finn will remember the whole thing and it will give Kurt even more reason to hate him. Not that Dave cares. Oh fuck it. Of course he cares, he keeps on thinking over every stupid damn thing he has done over the last few months and wishing he can turn back and change them all. He likes to think he'd do things so differently, but the fear that drove him to all those things is still there in the back of his mind.
By the time he turns up to the Hudson-Hummel house, Finn has drifted off to sleep and snoring lightly with his face smooched up against the window. Dave leans into the back and grabs Finn's jacket before searching through the pockets to find Finn's phone. He scrolls through the contacts and his thumb hovers over Kurt's name, it's stupid but he smiles, he shouldn't indulge himself like this but sometimes he lets himself imagine a time in the future where maybe he and Kurt could be friends. That Kurt's number is programmed into his phone and he can call him to talk any time he needs to. That's the hardest thing to process, out of the whole mess, he knows Kurt is the one person who can understand how he feels. He can daydream as much as he wants but he knows he has pushed Kurt too far for them to be anything more than... well to be anything at all.
He breathes deeply and listens to the ringer, he is just about to hang up when he hears Kurt's sleepy voice. "Finn... why the hell are you calling me?"
"Ahm, it's not Finn... it's David... ahm Karofsky?"
"Karofsky?" Kurt sounds suddenly much more wide awake. "Why do you have Finn's phone? What have you done to him?"
Dave rolls his eyes, because of course having Finn's phone automatically means he did something to Finn. "I didn't do anything. He got really hammered at the party tonight and I didn't think it was a good idea for him to do something stupid like drive himself home. Then I wasn't sure if your parents were in and knocking on your front door handing over him in this state didn't seem like a great idea."
There is a silence that seems to stretch on forever, Dave actually thinks that maybe Kurt fell asleep or something. He is almost about to check when Kurt speaks again. "I'll be right out. Is he passed out?"
Dave glances over to Finn who is 100% completely passed out from the world. "Yeah."
He hears Kurt sigh heavily and then the line goes dead. It's not long after that Kurt appears at the door, his hands on his hips. It's not surprising that at 2am and just woken from sleep he still manages to look fierce. Dave glances over at Finn one more time and contemplates how he is going to manage to get Finn into the house. Maybe he could just pick him up and throw him over his shoulder, that's got to beat picking him up and carrying him in his arms.
He gets out of his truck and shuts the door quietly, he thought about slamming it as hard as he could in an attempt to wake Finn up but he doesn't want to wake up the entire neighbourhood. He gets around the side of the car and lifts Finn out in a very ungraceful way. He ends up half carrying, half dragging Finn down the path to the door. He is sure he sees Kurt smirk slightly but it's gone by the time he gets to the front door.
"Can you carry him upstairs? I'd leave him on the sofa but he'd have to answer to his mom and my dad tomorrow if we do that."
Dave nods and follows where Kurt is pointing. It's even harder getting Finn up the stairs, he nearly stumbles a few times and drops Finn. Kurt is no help, he just follows behind quietly, watching his every move. Kurt points to the first door on the left and moves round Dave to open it. Dave drops Finn down on the bed as softly as he can. He looks around the room before turning back to face Kurt.
When he turns around Kurt has his arms folded across his chest and he looks uncomfortable, Dave hates that he is the one making him feel that way. That he is the cause of that discomfort. He can see every shove and every cruel word he has ever said etched across Kurt's face, the threats and the pushing things too far. If he hadn't been forced to stop he doesn't even know if Kurt would even allow them to be in the same room. He wants to believe he isn't capable of ever hurting anyone that bad, but the self-loathing eats away at him sometimes. It's like everything he did was done by someone else, this different version of himself that most of the time he doesn't even recognise.
He opens his mouth but Kurt holds up a hand and gestures to the door. Dave nods and follows him out. When he gets back downstairs, he expects the front door to be held open for him so he can leave as quickly as he entered. Instead, the door is closed and Kurt is standing in the doorway to the living room. Without a word he moves into the room and sits on the sofa, expectant. Dave is going to take this chance, he knows it's like he won't get another. The dance at prom was more than he ever thought he would get – he owes Kurt so many things; apologies and explanations. He has thought about all the things he would say to Kurt if he ever got the chance and now his mind is just blank.
"Thank you for bringing Finn home. He's been a bit of a mess recently... Rachel stuff, I guess."
Dave nods. "S'ok. He was kind of a mess, so yeah..."
"I'm probably crazy for doing this, especially seeing as I made a promise to myself to not give you the time of day but..." Kurt shrugs. "I guess I want... no I need an explanation. Because I try to see things from your point of view, I try and imagine how it must be... and I don't get it. I keep seeing you walking through the corridors looking so sad and lost and I just think... I don't know how that can be better than just being true to yourself, admitting the truth."
Dave can't look at Kurt, so he can't see if he is looking at him and it's probably for the best. For some reason he always imagined that if they ever talked about this there would be more fire and anger, accusations being thrown. Instead there's nothing but calm, he should be grateful for the moment. For Finn getting so drunk he passed out and for himself being sensible enough to stay tee-total.
"I told someone, you know?" He chances a look at Kurt who looks up at him in surprise. "Well, they actually knew without me telling them but... I didn't deny it and they know and yeah the world didn't end. Sometimes, I think it would be easier if everyone knew and I'll be sitting at dinner looking across at my Dad and think 'just tell him' - but I'm afraid. I know he isn't a bad guy and I know even if he didn't understand he'd still be there, but there's still that doubt."
"Is that why..." Kurt stops himself and looks away.
"You know everything I did and said, it wasn't really about you?"
"It sure felt like it was about me." The usual pissed off edge to Kurt's voice is back.
"I'm sorry." Dave can't stop his voice from breaking slightly. He has said the words before, to the crowded choir room with Kurt sitting in the back row and his arms folded across his chest and his face disbelieving. Dave didn't blame him, he looked everywhere but at Kurt and the apology was rehearsed and fake, just as fake as the relationship he claimed to be having with Santana. "I am so sorry, Kurt. I know it doesn't make up for anything. Half the time I didn't even know what I was doing, I'd just see you and freak out or get mad at you because you were everything... I'm not brave like you. Just when I think I'm getting that bit further I pull myself back and it's not... it was never about you. It was always about the things I'm afraid I'll never be able to be."
Kurt nods. "You could have just talked to me you know? All the pushing and bullying and... everything else. If you had just talked to me."
"You don't know what it's like, those guys on the football team – there's a mentality there, and I know it's not right. I know that it's stupid to just go along with everyone else even if you think it's wrong. But it just seemed like the easiest option and talking to you about was the most terrifying thought of all. Sometimes I wanted to, you'd be by your locker alone and I'd think about just asking you to talk to me somewhere and then I'd see Az or one of the guys walk by and it was like a trigger or something... it sounds lame now – but it all made sense in my head at the time."
"So instead of talking to me, you took it out on me?"
It sounds awful to actually hear the words from Kurt's mouth. But that's exactly what it was – because every single time Dave looked at Kurt he kept seeing all the things he thought he could never be. Even now, it's hard to look at Kurt and not feel that. He knows he isn't half as brave or courageous. He wants to tell Kurt that much, he wants to be able to deny the words but he knows he can't and he knows Kurt knows it too.
"I'd take all of it back if I could, if I knew..."
Kurt shakes his head and takes a deep breath. "No take backs. As much as what you did hurt me I feel like there's no use in looking back and going over everything and trying to make things different. It's happened. I know I'm not perfect, I can be bitchy and pushy but those are all things that I own and should be proud of. I expect people to feel and think the same as me and when they don't, it's hard for me to understand. As much as I hated having to transfer away from my friends and having to wear a cheap boring uniform, I needed it. What I'm trying to say is, I don't know if I can forgive you and I don't know if we can ever be friends, but I know nobody's perfect and we all have regrets, I just don't need to be one of your regrets."
Dave is kind of stunned. It's the most he has heard Kurt ever say to him directly without a harsh or angry tone and its unnerving how much he likes it. The soft tone to his voice makes Dave's stomach feel like it's doing flip flops and he can't seem to calm it down. He feels aware of everything, how close they are on the sofa and how their arms are nearly touching. His reactions when Kurt is so close to him are always wrong and misguided. He feels like whatever he does or says next won't be right. So he sits still for a few moments, breathing deeply and taking in Kurt's words.
"Who was it you told?"
"Zoe. She transferred in and..." What can Dave say to that? 'And she saw my creepy drawings of you and thought you were my boyfriend?' Yeah, no. Dave's pretty sure that would be the worst thing to say. "She said she just assumed and I didn't want to lie."
"You weren't afraid?"
"Of course I was. I couldn't sleep that night and I felt like I might vomit but... there was also this kind of relief. Having Santana know it's, she can understand in a way that no one else can but sometimes I don't always need someone who can understand it's just nice to have someone know. And here's this person who has no preconceptions of me and it just felt like the right thing to do I guess."
Kurt nods like he understands exactly what Dave is talking about, maybe he had a similar experience when he first came out. It kills Dave that he won't ever hear that story, that he won't ever really know what that was like for Kurt. Because if Kurt let him, Dave would sit and listen to those stories for hours.
"I meant what I said in Principle Figgins' office. I know you were pushed into the whole prom thing with Santana but I get the feeling that maybe your friendship has gone beyond that?"
Dave nods. If someone had told him that Santana Lopez would end up being one of his best friends he would have laughed in their face.
"I want to set up PFLAG at McKinley. I'm not saying you have to help or join or anything really, but... I'd like it if you did."
"I'll think about it, okay?"
Kurt doesn't respond, he just looks at Dave sleepily like he is trying to decipher something. It makes Dave feel exposed and extremely aware again of where he is. He clears his throat and looks away, standing up and heading out the room. He feels like he should say something, because more than likely Monday morning will be business as usual and he'll go back to ignoring Kurt in the hallways. When he reaches the door he turns around and Kurt isn't far behind.
"Thank you, for letting me apologise and... letting me explain."
"Thank you for the apology."
It's 3.30am by the time he pulls up into his driveway and he is going to have to sneak in quietly so his Dad can't hear. He hasn't done this in a while, he has been on his best behaviour. Getting home on curfew and making sure his grade average is perfect. He can't stand the look of disappointment in his Dad's eyes and it's been there ever since those meetings with Figgins.
The door creaks open and he shuts it as quietly as he can, stealing a short breath as he does so. His Dad's bedroom is at the far end of the house so he should be able to get upstairs without waking him. That is until he sees the small lamp on in the living room and the back of his Dad's head on the sofa.
"I thought we got past this, David."
He thinks about just running up to his room and ignoring his Dad, he also thinks about running in there and telling him the truth and dealing with whatever he says. He feels at this point he really has nothing to lose.
"We have, Dad. I was planning on coming back but Finn Hudson got really drunk and I figured it was better I take him home than he do something stupid like drive himself home."
His Dad stands up slowly, he is quiet for a long time while he looks at him. Dave is pretty sure he is off the hook, surely his Dad can't be pissed off at him for that.
"You got him home okay?"
Dave nods. "Yeah."
He stands there for a minute longer, watching his Dad pick up a coffee mug from the table. He knows things have been different between them, he has felt the tension, the way their relationship shifted after everything that went down with Kurt. Dave knows it's on him, because he is the one holding back and not being honest.
"David..." His Dad starts, his eyes fixed on the mug. "I want you to know that, you can talk to me about anything. I know with... since your Mother – we've never really had to sit down and talk about things, I guess I didn't realise because I assumed it was obvious, it should be obvious to you. I love you, you're my son and whatever you say to me – I accept that."
There's a beat and then his Dad is looking at him, right in the eyes again and Dave feels grounded for the first time in... well he can't even remember. He doesn't feel like he is about to break down and fall off an edge, he feels stable and secure, loved. His Dad nods and moves forward, pausing to grip and squeeze his shoulder.
"Whenever you're ready, son."
Then Dave hears the stairs creak under his Dad's footsteps and the click of his bedroom door shutting and he can't even move.
Sunday passes by in a blur, he gets all his homework done and Santana calls him and informs him that "operation get Dave to a gay bar" is nearly ready for action. He thinks about protesting but it's hardly worth it and if he is being completely honest with himself, he is slightly intrigued. He knows he wouldn't have the balls to do this without Santana and he feels more grateful than ever to suddenly find that she is a big part of his life.
He gets a text from Hudson thanking him for getting him home the night before and he replies back with something short and blunt. He gets another message back with an apology if he said anything stupid which he takes as a hint that Finn wants him to retell everything he told him, but he ignores the text because apparently that's what he does now. Az texts him four times, all asking him where he disappeared to and if he got lucky. He can't stomach faking a reply so he leaves his cell upstairs and goes to start making dinner.
Dave isn't really sure how he gets himself involved in these things, but he ends up agreeing to go shopping with Zoe for art supplies. His entire art supply consists of a pack of fancy pencils he got from his Aunt Muriel at Christmas. Zoe thinks that it is completely unacceptable and starts on a rant about all the different paper and canvases and charcoals he could be using. It's become a thing that Sam and Santana end up sitting with them at lunch and they watch the whole conversation with amused eyes that makes Dave want to slap them both. He agrees mostly to shut Zoe up and also to avoid the change of topic as to why he doesn't want to join the art club.
Sam corners him as they leave the cafeteria. "I woke up Sunday morning with my phone stuck to my face and ten missed calls from Blaine."
"Did... uh... did you guys work it out?" Dave asks purely out of politeness and not because he gives a crap.
Sam nods. "Yeah, I was being a jealous ass. I just hate that we don't get to see each other every day, and the thing is... Blaine, he doesn't really know how to explain himself all that well. He's kind of adorably awkward so most of the time when he wants to say one thing it ends up coming out in this big jumbled mess. I think that's why he sings so much, 'cos it's easier with someone else's words. Anyway, we talked it out and I think we both know we have to start telling people."
"No more sneaking around, huh?"
"Nah, it was okay to start with when we didn't really know where it was heading but... it's kind of serious so..."
"Well, I'm glad you guys worked it out."
Sam shakes his head and lets out a nervous laugh. "God, I used to think you were such a jackass and now it's like, well you're the only person I actually feel comfortable talking to about this. Crazy world."
"It's something alright."
They start moving again down the corridor to French class. Dave really should have known he wouldn't get out of being questioned so easily. "So why does Zoe think you need to expand your art supplies?"
He is going to kill Zoe. He ended up explaining his and Zoe's whole first meeting (minus the embarrassing sketch of Kurt) to Sam which started off an array of questions. First of all Sam was so shocked to discover that Dave Karofsky had an artistic bone in his body that he stopped dead in the corridor forcing a freshman to crash into them both and stumble down on the floor. After they had both helped the guy up onto his feet, Sam threw question after question at him, which was fine until Sam insisted on seeing some of his sketches. Dave managed to scramble away with an excuse about being late to class but the look in Sam's eyes had suggested that it wasn't over.
Also, Zoe has stood him up for their shopping trip. This would be okay if he hadn't spent last period excitedly tapping his foot wondering what he would be able to get. When did he turn into such a freaking girl? He blames Santana. And Zoe. Because damn it he does not tap his foot and daydreams about all the different ways he will be able to draw Kurt with whatever he buys. And now he really feels like a creeper. Great. He walks around to where his last class is in case Zoe meant to meet him there, but the halls are empty. The only sound he can hear is coming from the auditorium, someone is in there playing the piano. He doesn't play, so he has absolutely no idea if it's good – it sounds nice, smooth and melodic. He pauses at the top of the stairs, half expecting the Glee club to be prancing around the stage or whatever it is that they do in rehearsal. Instead he sees Zoe, her bright pink hair giving her away.
From what Dave can make out she isn't really playing much of a tune, just doing little random runs of tunes that Dave doesn't really know. It sounds pretty though, that's about as much as he gets. The closer he gets to the stage, the less angry he feels that Zoe left him waiting for her. Her bag and jacket are thrown haphazardly across the stage and she drops her hands and sighs heavily.
"This is where you've been hiding from me, huh?"
She twirls round so fast that she loses her balance on the stool and nearly falls off, it's a good thing Dave's reflexes are quick enough that he manages to catch her and keep her held in her seat. He laughs and sits down next to her.
"Sorry, I kind of got distracted. There was some guy in here playing the piano and I may have watched him from the door like a stalker. He was really good."
"Is that why you look like someone pee'd in your cereal?"
Zoe shrugs. "Nah. I used to take piano lessons and I kind of loved it – but I was going through that whole rebellious phase where I wanted to go against everything my parents wanted me too. They kept entering me into these competitions. Classical music, David. I had to wear dresses! It was awful, any fun I was having just got sucked out of it."
"Why don't you just sneak in here after school and practice? Or ask that guy for lessons or something? Who was it?"
"No idea. I didn't really see him." She sighs heavily again and stands up. "Come on, let's go get you kitted out. I want to see some more of your work..."
"You already saw more than most people have."
"Why don't you share your talent with anyone?"
"Why don't you?" Dave bites back, it's so much easier than looking at himself and admitting why he hasn't showed anyone these sketches. The only person he sketches in front of is Santana, but she treats it the same as a lot of things with little to no interest. Zoe is the only one who has seen his sketches and actually bothered to ask about it.
"Maybe, you should join Glee club? Can you sing and dance around like an idiot – cos I'm pretty sure that's all it takes." Dave stands up and grabs Zoe's bag and she puts on her coat.
"I can sing actually. But I'm not joining Glee Club, they all seem kind of... I don't know – I don't think I'd fit in there. I'm kind of an outsider, you know? Never really belonged to a set group like that."
Dave shakes his head. "I've never met anyone like you before."
"Is that a good thing?" Zoe smiles brightly.
"Yeah, it is actually."
The week goes by uneventfully, he spends most of his free time seeing what he can do with the new stuff he bought from his shopping trip with Zoe. He tried to be as cool as possible when he left the shop with a whole bag of stuff but he is sure Zoe saw him smile and do a weird little happy dance in the front seat of his car. Even if she did, they don't talk about it. He has been happily avoiding Az, as usual, talking as little as he can with his Dad and blissfully trying not to think about the conversation that went down with Kurt. It doesn't really work at school, mostly because he sees Kurt every day and as soon as he sees him he thinks about how Kurt looked sitting in the near darkness in his living room.
He isn't expecting Kurt to stop him in the hallway and engage in conversation, he isn't deluded enough to believe that. But he does hope that maybe things will change, maybe instead of Kurt just blanking him in the hallway there will be at least some kind of acknowledgement. But Kurt has always surprises him and he ends up getting pulled into a classroom on his way to lunch and is shocked to see Kurt staring at him, somewhat apprehensive.
"Erm... Kurt, are you okay?"
"Yeah. I just... I need to ask you something. It's about Finn."
Kurt nods. "He's kind of freaking out about what happened after the party. I told him that you got him home okay but he's worried that he might have said something... incriminating."
Dave almost wants to laugh because Finn is hardly someone who is full of secrets. The guy is kind of obvious. He can't stop the smirk forming on his mouth. "Like what?"
Kurt shakes his head, he clearly sees how ridiculous this is as well. "About Rachel and how he feels about her. I guess, things are strained with him and Quinn – I told him that going down that road again was a bad idea but what I do know?"
"He didn't say anything, but he's kind of obvious about his feelings for Rachel. I mean if any guy so much as looks at Rachel it's like he wants to rip the dude's arms off or something. She was there with some guy, Michael I think, and Finn clearly didn't like that. To be honest, he was mostly just... funny." Dave laughs a little. "He kept switching radio stations and singing. That was about it."
"My step-brother isn't the best at hiding his feelings. I'll let him know that nothing too embarrassing went down. I might have to change the singing to him serenading you – that will make it much more entertaining for me." Kurt mused.
"You do what you gotta do I guess." Dave liked this, the easy conversation, there was no tension or anger in the conversation, it was so different to any conversation he had ever had with Kurt. He liked it more than he should let himself.
Dave opened his mouth to say something, he didn't really put much thought into it, the only thing that came to mind was that damn PFLAG. He could do that, he could deal with the questions from Az and the team especially if it meant he got to spend more time with Kurt. The words didn't come out quickly enough though and the door flung open and Tina was mid rant.
"I don't want to do this anymore, Artie. I can't..." She stopped dead on seeing Kurt and Dave. Artie rolled in slowly after and if he was trying to play it cool his face gave it away.
"Are you okay, Tina?" Kurt hurried to her side. Dave remembers seeing them around the school together a lot, he never really thought about it but they must be close. Kurt's concern for his friend made Dave want to run over to Kurt and pick him up and do a whole bunch of things that would pretty much confirm him as 100% gay.
"Oh yeah, I'm fine." Tina lied pretty convincingly. "Me and Artie have this science project thing and we're having a few disagreements about what to do next. That's why we're in here at lunch, trying to work out the ideas."
"Oh good!" Kurt smiled softly and then his face dropped in panic. "Ahm, me and Dave were just..."
"We were discussing our first PFLAG meeting. I agreed to help Kurt with it when he came back to McKinley."
Kurt's eyes went wide as Dave gave them their cover story. It was a way to let Kurt know he wanted to join the stupid club and also a way for Kurt to get a cover that didn't involve him actually wanted to spend time with Dave. God forbid they would ever be able to spend time together for real. The panic in Kurt's eyes confirmed that, he didn't want his friends to think he wanted to spend time with Dave.
Kurt had already scurried out the room already and he was left alone with Tina and Artie who were looking at him with a mix of fear and confusion. Dave sighed. "I guess I'll leave you two to your science project."
He left before either of them could give a response.
"David Karofsky, I'd like to talk to you please."
If Dave was being really honest Rachel Berry scared him a whole bunch. She always had this crazy, weird determined look in her eyes and he was afraid that if he said "no I don't want to talk to you" - she would just follow him around talking to him anyway. He sighed and slammed his locker shut, turning to face her.
"What do you want, Berry?"
"First, thank you for getting Finn home from the party safely. Although him ending up in the hospital would have been a perfect opportunity for me to sit at his hospital bedside and sing inspirational songs about him pulling through, it's better that he didn't end up wrapping his car around a tree."
"Also, after you left we took Sam back to his parents new house, which took quite a long time because Sam couldn't remember the address and he kept singing, I offered Michael, my date for the evening, to go back to mine for some hot chocolate and karaoke – he declined the offer and said he was tired. Which was fine, it had been a long and eventful night. I thought the appropriate thing would be to show him my appreciation of a lovely evening with a goodnight kiss. Which he also declined and told me that while he thought I was quite lovely, I was in fact not his type. You won't be aware but this is the second time this has happened to me, I'm hoping that the drama involved in having two gay boyfriends is going to inspire many a beautiful solos for me in the future."
"Erm, that's... interesting?"
"Well, yes of course it is. But it's not the most interesting part. As I was dramatically strutting away from the car Michael stopped me and asked me if I could give you this."
Rachel was holding out a small piece of paper in her hand. He looked at it and then back at her, and she wriggled it insistently. Dave snatched it out of her hand and opened it up to see that it was Michael's name with a telephone number.
"What is this?"
"It's Michael's telephone number."
"Why the hell would I want this, Berry?"
Rachel shrugged. "Well, whether you want it or not really has nothing to do with me. But Michael wanted to give you his number because he seems to think that you and he may be on the same team, so to speak. After I finished laughing, because the idea seemed very hysterical to me at the time, I started my ritual bed time work out and had a lot of time to think. I think perhaps Michael is right and in actual fact, where you may not want his number specifically – it is in fact his team that you are on. If you get what I'm saying?"
Rachel actually leaned in and winked at him. Winked at him. How did he keep ending up in this situation where people were telling him they knew he was, as Rachel put it, on a different team? His guard went up of course, the piece of paper was crumpled in his hand so fast and the words of denial were there on his lips ready and waiting to be said. But Rachel was looking at him with wide eyes, her mouth curved up into an understanding smile and underneath the whole annoying speech and her irritating ways, Dave couldn't really find it in him to be mad at her or the fact that she knew. He sighed heavily and slumped against the locker.
"Is it even worth me denying it?"
"Not really, I'm very intuitive."
"Look, Ber... Rachel. I'd really appreciate if..."
Rachel holds up her hand. "Oh please, say no more. I understand how important it is for you to accept yourself in your own time, David. The journey of embracing and loving yourself is hard and long. Believe me, I know. Do you think I just woke up one morning and discovered I had this amazing and wonderful gift to share with everyone? Well, actually, I did. But it took time and hard work to be as incredibly talented as I am now."
Dave had no idea what relevance any of this was to him but he let Rachel carry on talking. Something about commitment and never letting anyone put you down, especially skinny blonde cheerleaders. Yeah, it really wasn't relevant. But she was back to full scary Rachel mode so he let her carry on.
"I hope that helps you, David. I'm sure it does. I will also be joining the PFLAG you and Kurt are setting up and I for one am excited about the project. I have a lot of ideas, all of which I have noted in my new rainbow notebook. We can discuss that more at the first meeting, I'm sure. Goodbye, David." Rachel smiled brightly and then skipped off down the hallway.
He had no idea what just happened.
He ends up missing most of lunch, Zoe, Santana and Sam are sitting at their usual table laughing at something. He kind of feels pissed off that he missed out on the one part of his day that he actually enjoys. It's weird but those three people at that table are the best people he has in his life right now. Sometimes, actually most of the time, he thinks about telling Sam the truth. He knows Sam would be cool – he is a good guy and well, if anyone could relate, it would be Sam. He moves over and slumps himself down on the bench.
"Where the hell have you been?" Santana asks him in her usual lovely manner.
"I got cornered by Hummel and then Berry."
Sam shakes his head. "You got the double whammy. I don't know which one scares me more."
"Rachel. Definitely Rachel." Dave shudders as he thinks back to their conversation.
"I have no idea who any of these people are. I don't approve of you guys having friends outside of this little lunch club." Zoe says it all with a smile on her face.
"You should come out with us this weekend. We're all going to this club in town, my cousin got us fake ID's. I can get him to get you one too, no problem."
"Great! That way I can meet all your special friends and you can talk about how awesome I am."
Dave is confused. Mostly because Santana is talking crazy, he was sure that was when she said they were going to a club together so Dave could have his first gay experience but from what she is saying now it seems like it is going to be a whole group event, which, hell no, he did not agree to that.
Zoe and Santana are talking about hair and Sam throws a chip at him. "Blaine's coming too." Sam whispers and smiles like a giddy school girl.
He grabs Santana on the way out of lunch. "What the hell, Lopez?"
"Look, I'm sorry okay! I've been trying to figure out how to tell you for the last couple of days – I was talking to Britt about it the other day, mostly trying to make her jealous that I was going out with my football boyfriend to a cool club and she just got pissed off and started yelling at me for being a liar. Right there in Glee club. So everyone was asking about why we were arguing and I said it was because I was going out to a club and hadn't invited them. So, anyway, stuff happened and they kind of invited themselves along and I had to get fake ID's for the whole lot of them. I'm sorry, David. I know this was meant to be about you and your big coming out, but..."
"Brittany. I know."
She smiles a little and looks down at her feet. It's hard to be mad at Santana for too long when she gets like this because it happens so infrequently.
"So why did Kurt and Rachel corner you?"
Dave lets Santana grip onto his hand as they walk along the corridor, keeping up the pretence. "Kurt was doing work at Finn's request. Finn wanted to know if he said anything embarrassing when I took him home from the party."
"And did he say anything embarrassing?"
"He doesn't need to. The fact that he is still crazy about Rachel is written all over his damn face."
"True. It really is pathetic. And what did Rachel want?"
Dave rubs the back of his neck nervously. "She, she gave me this dude's number from the party."
They stop to a halt with the strength of Santana almost pulling his arm out of his socket. "What?"
"She was there on a date with some guy, or what she thought was a date, and we spoke in the kitchen for like five seconds or something and I don't know, I guess he liked me? So he gave her his number to give to me – and after Rachel did some thinking apparently she figured out, in her words, what team I'm on and proceeded to give me the worst inspirational speech ever."
"So, let me get this straight, excuse the pun, Rachel knows, Zoe knows, some random guy named Michael knows – and you have still yet to actually come out to anyone. How is that even possible?"
"I don't know... I mean, am I giving off some kind of vibe?"
Santana steps back and looks at him. "Not right now. Besides, I don't actually think that's how it works. I'm surprised that you're..."
She shrugs. "I don't know. So calm about it? I remember how you reacted when I told you I knew and you freaked out and went into denial land. I just thought there would be more freaking out."
"Believe me, there's freaking out. I couldn't sleep the night after Zoe knew and inside I am a complete nervous wreck that Berry isn't going to go blabbing to the entire Glee club. But what can I do? I can keep denying it all I want but it doesn't make it any less real and I don't want to be... what was it you said? A late in life gay?" They both laugh at the words. There's something funny about that first conversation between them to this, he is fairly sure that Santana didn't expect it to go much further than her usual blackmail. He certainly never expected such a friendship to form.
"I want to be happy with who I am. Right now that seems like a long way off, but not as impossible as it once seemed."
"David Karofsky." She shakes her head. "You are way more together than most people, and those are words I never thought I'd say."
"What can I say? I'm full of surprises."
"So this guy, Michael? Is he cute?"
He really is. That's what Dave thinks and what he wants to say. It's the healthiest and most sensible thing to do, there is a guy who likes him and who seems nice and in Lima, Ohio he doesn't really know how many opportunities he is actually going to get to meet anyone. Anyone that isn't Kurt Hummel, that is. He can already see the pity forming in Santana's eyes – like she knows exactly what he is thinking.
"He seemed nice I guess, just..."
"Just... he's not Kurt Hummel?"
He'd deny it but there's really not much point.
Somehow, he has no idea why exactly, he ends up being dragged along to a Glee rehearsal. Apparently Schuester is out of town and he left Rachel in charge of rehearsal, or maybe she left herself in charge, who really knows? Santana says he has to come along and be the supportive boyfriend because she has a solo, it's a love song – her voice sounds beautiful. He thinks it can't go unnoticed that instead of singing the song to him she stares at Brittany the entire time. Either these Gleeks are really self-involved or oblivious.
After Rachel has annoyingly critiqued everyone in her own special way, Santana starts talking about tomorrow night and plans to get there and meet there and Dave just finds himself nodding along. Kurt stares at him from across the room and Mercedes gives him evil glares as she sits closely by Kurt's side. Finn is staring at Rachel smiling his face off and Quinn watches from the opposite side of the room, her face livid. According to Santana, there had been a whole bunch of drama in Wednesday's rehearsal and Quinn and Finn had break up round two which ended with her kicking him in the balls, Dave kind of thinks the guy deserved it for all the messing around he's done. Sam is staring down at his phone, his fingers moving lightening quick as he texts, Tina and Mike are sitting awkwardly next to one another and Artie is looking down sadly at his lap. The only people who seem vaguely happy are Puck and Lauren who are whispering to each other and Brittany who is completely oblivious.
He always imagined Glee rehearsals to be a happy event, with people skipping around and laughing all the time. This one rehearsal has shattered all those illusions. Thank god for small miracles in the shape of Zoe. She runs in and crashes into the piano stool and her bag goes flying as it hits the drum kit and Dave bursts out laughing.
"Seriously, one day you will make an entrance where you don't fall on your ass."
"Shut up, David" She says standing up. "My entrances are always full of flare and drama and I think you secretly love it."
He carries on laughing to himself as he goes to retrieve her bag. The room is silent as they watch the whole thing play out. When Dave turns to look at them they all seem kind of shocked, well all except Santana and Sam who are laughing along as well.
"What?" Zoe asks. "Do I have something on my face?"
Dave shakes his head. "They're looking at me, I'm kind of a big deal."
He hears Mercedes make a disapproving noise, he doesn't have time to react because Rachel takes the floor. "Hello, I'm Rachel Berry – welcome to Glee Club. Are you here to audition?"
"Hell no. I'm here 'cos Santana said we were making plans for tomorrow night. Even though I've already decided I'm travelling down with Dave, I figured I'd come and say hi."
"You decided what?"
"You said you were driving, I heard you and Sam talking about it. Okay, well – I eavesdropped and decided that I would tag along. That's okay with you right, Samuel?"
Sam and Dave share a look, the whole damn reason they decided to go together was so they could pick up Blaine and have no one else around. Dave had to admit he was kind of dreading an hour car ride with the two of them and having Zoe would make it a lot less awkward for him.
"That's cool, Zo." Sam shrugs.
"Wait... I'm sorry, but he's coming?" Mercedes is standing up, in front of Rachel making her presence known. She doesn't even need to look in Dave's direction for everyone to know who she is talking about.
"Yeah, my boyfriend is coming. And seeing as I am the one who got us these fake ID's why don't you sit back down or you won't be coming." Dave really loves Santana, even though the word boyfriend makes Kurt turn away and shake his head slightly. Not that he was watching Kurt that closely.
"But... are you okay with this, Kurt?"
Kurt doesn't seem to like that his friend decided to call him out like that, and he huffs dramatically. "Why would I mind? Santana has every right to bring her boyfriend along."
With that he glides out the chair and slams the door shut on his way out. Zoe is looking up at him with confused and curious eyes, she sits closely at his side while the others make their final arrangements. They all scatter out the room and he tries to exit, finding himself being pulled back to his seat by her.
"Join the club." Dave dead pans.
"How is it remotely possible that Santana is your girlfriend and how exactly did I miss that?"
"There's so much stuff that you don't even know, Zoe. I don't really think that filling you in on all of it would even help." He goes to get up again but finds himself pulled back down.
"Oh no. You don't get to run off with just saying that. You, Santana and Sam are like my only three friends here but you especially because we had that awesome moment in the hallway with your sketches and oh my gosh. That guy... the one who ran out all dramatically, he was the one in the sketches."
Dave lets Zoe's mind process all of this, most of the time he has trouble dealing with what's going on and he has had months to work through it.
"No one else knows do they? I mean, Santana must know... is that the reason the two of you pretend to be dating?"
Dave shrugs. "I guess it's not really necessary anymore. But, it kind of just stuck, I'm doing it more for her than anyone else. She's struggling with some stuff and until she's ready then... I'll be her pretend boyfriend. I guess, I needed it at the time. I didn't want anyone to know about me... sometimes I still don't. But I'm not as afraid of it anymore and eventually when the time comes and Santana feels she doesn't need that security we'll probably have some big dramatic fake break up."
"I knew you were complicated but this is a whole new level. And that guy?"
Dave has no idea where to start, he could go into exact detail and explain what a complete an utter jackass he was and tell Zoe all the awful things that he said and did, but he doesn't want her to look at him any differently than she does now. She knows a different version of Dave, still the same but not held back by his fears.
"I haven't always treated Kurt... I was awful to him. I bullied him and made his life hell, so bad that he had to transfer to a different school. When he came back, I made a promise to myself that I'd try to make it up to him, that'd I never be the reason he'd feel that way again. So with the push of a little blackmail from Santana and me realising that taking all my shit out on Kurt was stupid, here we are."
"You just gave me the quick and easy version of events didn't you?"
"That sounded easy to you?" Dave smiles. "But yeah, definitely the quick version."
"Maybe someday you can tell me the whole version of events. I feel like I'm missing out on something here... like, Kurt... I mean – does he know that you're gay?"
"Yeah. He knows."
He knows there are more questions she wants to ask, he doesn't really feel like he is in any position to not give her those answers. He just feels like anything he says he is going to come across as the bad guy and there is no way he can redeem himself from that.
"I did some things I'm not proud of. I didn't..."
Zoe grabs hold of his hands and starts talking before he can even finish. "I don't think you're a bad person. I mean... whatever you did, it's okay. Nobody's perfect and... he came back and you've been doing the right thing, yeah?"
Dave nods and grips on a little tighter to her hand, she smiles and then let's go before jumping off her seat. "Let's go, it all got a little too 'glee club touchy feely' in here for me."
He feels a little guilty as he follows her out, she doesn't really know the whole truth. She doesn't know that he pushed Kurt to breaking point, that he kissed him, that he pushed Kurt into lockers every day and pushed him out of the school. Even though he has apologised to Kurt, he still feels it, that twinge of pain and regret – in a way he wants it to always stay there, he wants it as a reminder that he can never be that guy again.
Dave has no expectations of the club Santana is taking them all to. He has never been to one before in his life and to say he is nervous would be an understatement. Zoe keeps making jokes on the way over to Sam's, she seems to have got it into her head that she and Santana are going to find someone to set him up with and it doesn't matter how much he protests, it just spurs them on more. He would say he is excited for the break in conversation when Sam gets in the car but Blaine scrambles in after him and it's just awkward as fuck. Zoe is intuitive so she picks up on it straight away and she isn't someone to not just say it out loud.
"Woah, the tension." Zoe says, waving her arms around like a crazy person. "Am I missing something?"
Poor Sam, he thinks it's because Zoe is the only one in the car who doesn't know about him and Blaine. But Dave catches Blaine's eyes in the rear view mirror and his eyes are questioning and confused. It's far too complicated than it needs to be, Zoe doesn't know one big secret and Sam doesn't know one big secret and the whole thing just makes him feel aggravated.
Sam must be feeling the same way because just as Dave blurts out the words "I'm gay" - Sam says "Me and Blaine are dating".
"I already knew that, loser." She says toward David before turning around in her seat to look at Blaine and Sam. "That's so cute. How long have you been together?"
"It's kind of complicated..." Sam mumbles before looking toward Blaine for support.
"I used to date one of Sam's friends, Kurt..." Blaine says as he grabs hold of Sam's hand.
"Kurt?" Zoe looks back at Dave. "Your Kurt?"
That causes everyone to freeze and Dave thought it couldn't get any more awkward but he was so wrong.
"Wait, so... you're gay?" Sam asks. "Why didn't you tell me, dude?"
"Everyone else has just been figuring it out all by themselves I thought I'd give you your chance." Dave suggests, but Sam doesn't understand what he is talking about and his lame attempt to break the tension has failed.
"Also, your Kurt? What does that mean?" Sam is finally catching up with everything Zoe is saying and Dave really hoped he would have missed that part.
"That means nothing, Zoe just... look, I'm sorry I didn't tell you before, Sam. But up until recently we haven't really been that close and I've been trying to find the right time to tell you and it wasn't going to be in the car with two other people present. But they both already know and it was awkward and..."
"What?" Sam turns to Blaine. "You knew about this?"
"He never actually told me, after what happened with Kurt there were a few confrontations."
"What happened with Kurt? You mean the bullying?"
"No, David here kissed him." Zoe supplies. "It was apparently not welcomed. He told me all about it, came crying on my shoulder." Zoe smiles at Dave. After Dave gave Zoe the quick and easy version of the story she had demanded to hear the rest, so Dave didn't have much choice but to tell her the whole story.
Sam's face would be amusing right now if the whole thing wasn't so damn serious. Dave considers shouting 'gotcha' and pretending that the whole thing was just one big joke. "You kissed Kurt?"
"Not my finest hour. I was a jackass, okay? But me and Kurt... I've apologised for that and hopefully, we can I don't know be friends maybe."
"You think that you and Kurt can be friends?" Blaine's voice says it all, he clearly thinks that's the last thing that is ever going to happen.
"I think they can. I feel like I know David and all I see is a good guy who made a few mistakes and is trying to make up for those. Why wouldn't anyone want to be friends with someone like that?"
Dave loves Zoe. Her words silence the car again. After a while Sam and Blaine shift closer together and he can hear them whispering to one another. He can't make out what they are saying but he is sure Sam is getting Blaine's version of events. He hopes he still has a friendship with Sam so he can tell his version too.
"Just think about it, hot stuff..." Lauren is way too close for comfort and Puck is looking at him with some kind of weird creepy smile that Dave doesn't really know what to do with. "Me and Puck are kind of adventurous and we've been watching you big guy."
Lauren's hand is travelling up his leg slowly and he would shuffle away but that would bring him closer to Puckerman and he isn't entirely sure if that would be better or worse because he doesn't know what's happening here. Stupidly he looks at Puck, but all he gets is raised eyebrows and a weird little nod.
"We could get out of here, the three of us... my parents are away this weekend and well..." Lauren runs her finger down Dave's shirt and stops just at his stomach. He thinks she is going to keep talking instead her hand drops lower and he scrambles away.
"What the hell, Zizes?" Dave looks back from Lauren to Puck and he thinks maybe he could scramble under the table and shuffle away. But they are both closing in on him, Puck with the same scary look and Lauren with her eyes wide.
"I'm gay!" It's the only thing he thinks of to say that would stop them moving. Which it does, well Lauren at least. She huffs loudly and Puck laughs and bangs his hands on the table while doing so.
"Pay up, Zizes."
Puck holds out his hand across Dave's chest and Lauren glares at him before pulling $20 out of her cleavage and shoving it in his hand.
"What the hell just happened here?" Dave looks between the two of them.
"You just got outed by Pizes."
After he escapes from Puck and Lauren and whatever shit they are going to pull next he ends up sitting at the bar with Finn. Finn seems just as awkward as he is to be here, but he has no idea of the inner turmoil Dave is experiencing after having come out to Puck and Lauren – or more importantly the fact that they both suspected enough to put a bet on it. He isn't drinking but he drinks two sodas so quickly he starts tapping his fingers like crazy on the bar and considers just getting the hell out of there. He lost Blaine, Sam and Zoe pretty much as soon as they got into the bar so he is certain they wouldn't miss him.
"Where did Rachel go? I don't trust that Michael guy she is hanging out with lately."
Dave shakes his head. "You're jealous of him, Hudson."
"Am not." Finn sulks into his drink. "I just want to make sure she is okay."
Dave nods because Finn isn't as stealth as he clearly thinks he is. He thinks about telling Finn that Rachel isn't exactly Michael's type – but it seems more fun if he doesn't know. Also, he isn't sure how he would handle having to explain how he knows that.
He finds Blaine, Sam and Zoe again. They are huddled in a booth on the opposite side of the dance floor watching Quinn with wide eyes as she makes out with some brunette girl at the bar. He double takes as he walks by and then just shakes his head. He can't even be surprised by anything these Gleeks do anymore. It's like the last two weeks of his life have taken his cheesy, dorky perception of them and dressed it up in slutty clothes and got it all drunk or something.
When he slumps onto the booth with them it's enough for them to all stop staring at Quinn and at him instead. Zoe smiles, "Having fun?"
"Oh yeah, in between getting propositioned to a threesome and Hudson bitching about his love for Rachel – I've been having a blast."
Sam shakes his head. "It's so obvious he still loves her. Wait... you got propositioned for a threesome? I am totally sitting at the wrong side of the bar."
Blaine pokes him and fakes an angry face but when Sam smiles at him Blaine's face changes instantly. Dave tries not to stare at them, how oblivious they are to anyone else, how happy they look but it's hard not to when all he can think about is how much he wants that feeling for himself.
Blaine and Sam sneak away after about half an hour to go... do whatever it is they are going to go do. He and Zoe sit and chat and she points out people on the dance floor and asks Dave who he thinks is hot. After a while she starts pointing out balding, old guys who are scanning the crowd and saying that he has a serious chance with them. It's the most relaxed he has felt all night and he would be more than happy to stay there. He spots Tina, Mercedes, Finn and Rachel dancing, watching Hudson's dancing skills he suddenly feels less embarrassed by his own.
Then Mike is there holding out a hand to Zoe and smiling. Dave watches her closely, it's not a side to Zoe he has seen in the few weeks he has known her. She is looking at Mike with wide eyes and a slight blush on her cheeks and he can't wait to bug her about that Monday. She looks at him as she takes Mike's hand and points to the dance floor. He shakes his head and watches them go. He could easily join them, but there's still a lot of tension coming from Mercedes. Tina still looks at him like she is terrified and there is just an edge of uncomfortable that he isn't sure if it's from him or them.
Dave looks up and Michael is standing at the edge of the booth with two sodas in his hand and smiling widely. "Can I join you?"
Dave nods and shuffles around, giving Michael some room. Michael moves in close and places a drink down in front of Dave. "You having a good time?"
"Yeah, it's nice here." Michael shrugs. "I don't really know anyone other than Rachel and... you, I guess. Finn keeps looking at me like he wants to kill me and Sam was kind of too drunk to know I was even there that night."
Dave laughs and he finds himself agreeing and talking about having to get Finn home safely that night. Michael starts talking about his school and family and Dave listens intently, finding it easy to drown out the sound of the music in the background. He talks about himself, about football and classes, it's nice. Comfortable.
"So, I'm going to ask... did Rachel give you my number?"
Dave chokes on a piece of ice in his drink. "Yeah, she did – I just... I'm not exactly..."
"It's okay." Michael nods. "I figured if you were interested you would have called. I don't usually go around giving Rachel my number to hand it around to guys. But, you seemed so nice helping your friend like that and well, you're just my type."
Michael looks at him, his smile is kind of crooked and his eyes are a bright green colour and Dave can't deny that this guy is gorgeous. He is easy to talk to and he doesn't feel awkward about sitting so close and talking to someone in a way he never really has before, without pretence and expectations.
"It's not that, you seem really nice and... I guess I'm just trying to figure myself out and if I'm being honest with myself, I like someone else and I have for a while now. I think I need to work that out and try and get over that before..."
"I get it. Unrequited feelings suck, believe me I've been there more than once." Michael downs the rest of his drink and he starts talking again about some film class he is considering taking and just like that, it's like they never really had that conversation.
There's something about the way the guy is watching Kurt that bugs Dave, it's like he is waiting for the perfect moment to go over there. Of course, Kurt is oblivious and he is happily dancing with Rachel and there really are no words to describe how he looks. Dave is the least articulate person ever, but he feels like he could talk and talk about how Kurt looks now, he looks free and beautiful, not a care in the world as he throws his arms up over his head and spins round.
The guy who has been watching Kurt, douche bag, as he will forever be known to Dave, finishes his beer and pushes himself away from the bar. Dave doesn't know much about a lot of things, but he knows what the look in this guy's eyes mean and he knows that Kurt is going to be completely oblivious to it. Which, of course, he is. Douchebag is behind Kurt dancing up against him and Kurt just smiles playfully and shakes his head at Rachel.
The guy's hands are up in the air, but it's not long before he lowers them to rest on Kurt's hips. Kurt pulls them away and shifts closer to Rachel showing his disinterest. But this guy is either fucking stupid or really determined, probably both. His hands reach out for Kurt's waist pulling him back again, flush against his chest and the panic on Kurt's face registers straight away. Now, Rachel is a good friend and she reaches out her hand to Kurt's and just as their fingers are about to meet, the guy, the fucking douchebag he is, spins Kurt around and grinds their bodies together in a way that has Kurt scrambling his arms up to push himself free. The guy is too big for Kurt, too big for Kurt to get enough strength to push him off. But Dave? Dave is more than happy to go over there and knock seven kinds of crap out of the guy.
It all kind of happens in a blur, one minute he was awkwardly sitting in his corner sipping his soda and the next his hands are connecting with the guy's chest and pushing him so fiercely that the guy actually staggers backwards and falls to the floor.
"What the fuck, man?" The guy spits at him from the floor. "What the fuck are you doing?"
Dave lets out some kind of noise that sounds like a growl. "What the fuck am I doing? You always force yourself on someone like that?"
Kurt glares at him. "David, what are you doing?"
Now, Dave knows he is hardly the person to be giving people lectures about shit like that. But he also made a vow to himself that he would protect Kurt and if that has to include stopping pushy little fuckers like this guy then he is going to do what he has to do.
The guy has managed to scramble himself up on his feet and he is smirking in a way that makes Dave want to punch his face. "Please, the guy was loving it and..."
Dave gets up close to him, fully intending to be as threatening as he seems. "If I were you I wouldn't finish that sentence. Get the fuck out of here."
The guy backs away almost instantly, Dave can imagine the look on his face, it's similar to the one he used to paint on to threaten Kurt. He doesn't like the way it feels or what it reminds him of but he thinks if it gets this guy away from Kurt then he doesn't care. When he turns around Rachel is looking at him like he is some big brave hero and Kurt... well Kurt looks pissed off. In fact he huffs loudly, so loud that Dave can hear it over the base of the music, and storms off. Rachel gives him a weird motion with her head to follow him so he does – mostly because he thinks if he doesn't Rachel will end up giving him another long speech about something.
He follows Kurt through the crowd, past the bar and watches him walk through the double doors leading to some kind of outside area of the bar. There are a couple of people out there smoking, mostly in groups huddled together – he sees Kurt near the edge looking down at the street. He sighs heavily, he should have known somehow that interfering would have been a mistake. He should just apologise really quickly and then leave him to it. Of course that's not what comes out of his mouth.
"Did I do something wrong?"
Kurt twirls round, his eyes still angry. "I could have handled that."
Dave scoffs. "That guy was all over you. He'd been watching you all fucking night and he was twice your size, there's no way you could have pushed him off, Hummel."
"I'm not some weak little boy, Karofsky! I don't need you or anyone else for that matter protecting me."
There's something more to what Kurt is saying. For some reason, it doesn't feel like this whole thing is directed at Dave. Dave hasn't always been the best at reading people, but for some reason with Kurt it comes easy to him. And this, this anger is different. He has felt what it's like to have Kurt be angry at him, and this most definitely is not.
"I don't think you're weak." Dave steps closer. "That's not – I just didn't like how he was looking at you, okay? I saw that and I reacted. I'm sorry."
The tension in Kurt's body leaves him immediately, it's like there is a disappointment coming off of him. "That's it? You're just..."
Kurt turns away and rests against the side again, his shoulders slumping as he looks down at the street once more. Dave looks around, pretty much everyone has gone back inside apart from some drunk guy in the corner talking to his cigarette. Dave steps close and stands at his side, mirroring Kurt's position by leaning against the side.
"The car journey was insufferable." Kurt sighs. "It was pretty much 'let's make fun of Kurt and his first gay club experience' - they started this stupid list of all the things that would happen and how I need to be rescued from them all, how I wouldn't get into the club because security would think I was a 12 year old boy. I know they don't mean anything by it, it's funny to them – just, sometimes, it'd be nice to get a break. You coming to my rescue just... hit a nerve. Like it was proving them right or something."
Dave nods, he can't relate – people separate in the halls for him mostly because of his size and the fact he needs the room to get through. He has heard the jokes people make about Kurt, hell, he has probably even said a few in the past. That Kurt is a girl, that he wants to be girl – all that kind of bullshit. He used to laugh at those comments, and would encourage them for fear of people even remotely suspecting anything about him. Mostly, now, Dave just feels pissed off. Angry at himself and the people he calls his friends over how they could be so fucking stupid.
"Thank you." Kurt whispers it. "For rescuing me. I'll never admit I said it unless under torture, but I'm glad you were there to push him away."
They stay there in silence for a while, it's kind of beautiful where they are. They can't see much in the distance except for lights but it's pretty against the sky. He waits for it to become awkward, for Kurt to move away and go back inside without a word but they stay there for a really long time, just comfortable.
"Who was that guy you were talking to? Everyone was dancing and you guys were talking, he was kind of tall and pretty..."
"Michael?" Dave asks. "He's Rachel's friend – he was at the party the other night and apparently he made it clear to Rachel that he... liked me or something. He gave her his number to give to me."
"Oh. So, are you going to go out with him again or..."
"No, I mean we aren't... I don't even know if I'm ready to do that. I think I need to..." Dave sighs and turns towards Kurt. "I think I need to tell my Dad and Azimio before I can – he seems nice, Michael, I mean – but it's not, I kind of like someone else and I need to figure out how to get over that."
Kurt turns toward him, his hair is a little crazy from being inside the club, but the flush on his skin has died down from being out in the cool air. He looks beautiful though, there are hundreds of little fairy lights strung up all over the balcony and it makes Kurt's skin look like its glowing a little bit.
"Who is it?" Kurt's eyes get wide and he licks his lips, his mouth still open slightly like he is going to say something else. Dave leans in a little with his whole body, like an instinct pulling him closer to Kurt. He breathes in deep and he thinks that he can do this, that the best way for him to be able to move on is to just tell Kurt how he feels. He already knows the outcome; Kurt won't be cruel but he will pat Dave's arm and tell him he is sorry he doesn't feel the same way and then he will walk back into club and that will be that.
He hears the crash of the door to his left and turns to see what the noise is, Blaine and Sam are attached at the lips, pulling apart to smile at each other and then delving in again for more kisses. When he looks back to Kurt, he is still staring at Dave with his eyes wide and realisation across his face.
The way Kurt says Dave's name makes him realise that he still hasn't seen Blaine or Sam. Kurt still thinks they are having this conversation without interruptions and this is not how Dave wants this to happen. He feels like he wants to protect Kurt from what he is about to see because there is no way this won't hurt him.
The laughter from Blaine and Sam eventually causes Kurt to look at them, it would seem fairly innocent if it was just the moment Kurt saw, two friends laughing together, but then Blaine takes hold of Sam's hand and spins him around before pulling him in close and kissing him deeply. Kurt moves before Dave can stop him and he isn't sure what he expects to happen but he thinks it will be something.
Blaine and Sam carry on, still oblivious to their audience. Even now, with the anticipation of what's coming next – Dave still can't stop watching the two of them and how happy they are. He steps forward to stand by Kurt and watches him out of the corner of his eye. Kurt doesn't seem angry – his mouth is drawing down sadly and there's a track of a tear on his cheek.
Dave could lean in and brush it away but he knows that isn't his place, he doesn't get to dry Kurt's tears and he won't get to comfort him from this. He isn't close enough to have that privilege and he isn't sure he could take watching Kurt broken hearted over another guy.
Sam missteps and ends up facing forward in Kurt and Dave's direction. His face immediately drops from a smile and he lets go of Blaine's hand and steps forward. Blaine catches on quickly and notices the two of them finally. He steps forward slowly, reaching out his hand to take hold of Sam's.
"Kurt, Sam and I we have something we need to tell you."
"I'm guessing it has something to do with you sticking your tongue down his throat." Kurt crosses his arms across his chest. "How long has this been going on?"
"A few weeks before Prom." Sam admits quietly, his eyes looking anywhere but at Kurt.
Kurt drops his arms. "All that time? Why haven't you told me sooner?"
"It was new and we didn't want to hurt you..." Blaine starts but he stops himself, eyes averting to the ground as well. Dave feels awkward and kind of bad that he found out about this before Kurt did. It's not like he was in a position that he could have told Kurt, right? Besides, Sam is his friend and he and Blaine were always planning on telling Kurt.
"If you didn't want to hurt me then you should have just told me." Kurt's voice has a flare of anger to it again. Dave wishes he could take the hurt away from this, while he is wanting wishes. He wishes he could figure out what is it that people see in this Blaine guy. He has Sam head over heels for him and Kurt pining after him after their break up. It's not that Blaine isn't attractive, of course he is, if you like that sort of thing. He just can't see an actual reason beyond that. There's no passion or fire or what seems like anything at all. Maybe there is, perhaps it's hidden under the blazer and hair gel.
"Kurt, I'm sorry." Sam bites his bottom lip and finally looks up. "We didn't plan this..."
"Oh please, Sam. Save me all the cliché little speeches because I do not want to hear it. Does anyone else know?"
Blaine and Sam both glance at Dave quickly and fuck – Kurt isn't stupid so he reads their expressions pretty damn quickly. Kurt looks at Dave and laughs bitterly. "Oh you have got to be kidding me."
Kurt shakes his head and storms off, slamming the door of the balcony. Dave watches him until he can't see him anymore, lost somewhere in the crowd. He sighs heavily and slumps against the wall. This is just his damn luck, he may have been in the middle of a break through with Kurt and something, or Blaine and Sam's love story in this case, had come in and crapped all over it.
"I should go after him..." Blaine says to Sam.
"No." The words leave Dave's mouth before he can even register them and he is talking again before he can stop himself. "I think you've probably done enough. I'll go make sure he's okay, get Finn to keep an eye on him."
Blaine says something but Dave ignores him as he walks by, excuse him if he doesn't want to listen to a damn word Blaine has to say. It's irrational to feel angry at Blaine because it's not just his fault, he and Sam made the decision to keep their relationship a secret. He knows it's residual anger he holds over Blaine for being everything he isn't. For being that shoulder for Kurt to lean on at a time when all Dave could do was shove, push and yell.
Dave searches Kurt out in the crowd, he can see Rachel and Finn huddled in a corner and the rest of the Gleek's all dancing around like crazy people. But Kurt is nowhere to be seen. Zoe corners him and tells him that he said something to Finn about going and waiting in the car. Which Dave thinks is a dumb as fuck idea, they hardly know much about this part of town and Kurt sitting around in an empty parking lot waiting for them does not sound like a good idea.
That's how he ends up on the street outside the club making his way to the parking lot. He can't figure out who he is more mad at right now, all of Kurt's friends for letting him just walk out when he was clearly upset or freaking eyebrows up on the roof. What's more important is when did he start caring about all of this shit? Most of those people in there don't like him and have made it abundantly clear and a few weeks ago he couldn't give a shit about what they thought but now he feels like... he feels like he has something to prove here. Like he doesn't want them to think of him as this big bad guy who treated Kurt like shit all that time. He thinks that if he can just do the right thing now, if he can be there for Kurt, support Sam and Santana in their choices then maybe he can be better himself.
When he gets to the parking lot, Kurt is pacing up and down in front of the five cars they all came in. His hands are buried in his jeans pockets and he looks like he is shivering. Damn idiot probably left his jacket in the club. Dave sighs and moves forward, when Kurt sees him, he stops briefly, eyes still blazing and then continues pacing. Dave walks straight past him and opens his car, pulling out his jacket that he threw in the back earlier on.
He steps in front of Kurt so he has no choice but to stop and hands the jacket out to him. Kurt tries his best to keep his face stern and snooty and if he wasn't shaking and his teeth weren't chattering it might seem pretty convincing. He takes the jacket with a huff and slips it on. He zips it up but it's too big on him, nearly coming down to his knees and his hands hidden in the arms somewhere.
"You want to get in the car? It's cold as fuck out here."
"No." Kurt says harshly. "I want to know why the hell you knew about that before I did." Kurt waves his hands around but it just looks ridiculous because the arms of the jacket just flail around instead.
"It's not like they got together and then told me. I saw them making out at prom and Sam told me then." Dave shrugs, putting his own hands into his jeans pockets.
"Is that why you and Sam have been so buddy buddy all of a sudden? Why he's been sitting with you at lunch instead of us?"
"I don't know? I don't think so. I guess, in a weird way – he's my friend. And that came from me finding about him and Blaine. So, I'm not mad that I found out the way I did or that I found out at all – Sam's a good guy and he probably doesn't realise it, but he's helped me a lot these last few weeks. The only thing I'm mad about is... that this is hurting you." Dave practically whispers the last words and he looks down at the ground while he says them, not wanting to see the look in Kurt's eyes.
Kurt lets out a loud angry sound that Dave has never heard come out of anyone ever before in his life. "I am so sick and tired of never being anybody's first choice! What's wrong with me?" Kurt steps forward, his finger pointed at Dave. "Do you know why me and Blaine broke up? He said there was no spark. That everything was nice and comfortable, but there was no passion or attraction! Every time I saw him I felt like my stomach was going to come up out of my mouth and he tells me that he felt no attraction? What the hell am I supposed to do with that?"
Kurt pushes up the sleeves of the jacket and runs his fingers through his hair, messing up the neat style he had. "You know what I did? I smiled and I nodded – told him that I agreed with him. I said that we should take some space and still be friends. He was so enthusiastic about it, I should have fucking known. I carried on, he sung his solos and did his usual flirting and I let myself believe that we could sort it out – that it was just going to take time. The thing that makes it worse, is that I knew, I knew at prom that something was different. I knew that he was right – we don't work. I wanted it to, I wanted him to be that first boyfriend, first love, first... everything. But I was fooling myself."
Kurt's shoulders slump and he shoves his hands into the pockets of Dave's jacket. "We never worked and it's my fault. I mean, did you see the two of them up there? They looked so happy, so caught up in one another and it's not fair because I want that. I want it to be me and some guy so happy that we're oblivious to anyone else who's near us. I don't want to be the guy watching from the side lines... alone."
"You weren't alone." Kurt looks up, his face softer now than before. Dave doesn't give him enough time to speak again. "I want that too. I didn't realise it until I saw the two of them together – I never even thought I'd be able to accept that I wanted that."
"What's happened to you?" Kurt pushes himself off the car and steps forward. "These last few weeks, I've been watching you around school. It's like you're this different person or something..."
Dave shakes his head. "I'm still me, just... I got tired of pretending."
Kurt studies his face closely. Dave went through a whole self-conscious thing a few years back, he was bigger than everyone else, more rounder and he stood out like crazy. He picked apart his appearance and tried to cover up the parts he hated about his body with baggy clothing and 'I don't give a fuck attitude' - he got more comfortable though. The other guys caught him up and some over took him. He looked less like a freak but there have been comments that have stung – he will admit to Kurt's comments in the locker room giving him more than one sleepless night, when Az jokingly calls him fat-ass he laughs it off but he works out half an hour longer in the gym those days – he isn't hung up on his looks, he doesn't let himself think about it because he is what he is. And he's always going to be someone who is a little bit overweight, who has more body hair than most people – it just is what it is.
But with Kurt this close, with him looking at Dave like he is trying to read him it's enough to make Dave want to find the nearest thing to hide behind.
"Why did you kiss me?" It's the second time Kurt has asked him. The last time Dave ran away from giving him his answer – he played it off that Kurt should already know. The fact is Dave didn't really know at the time himself, it was mostly because he didn't know what else to do. Kurt was all up in his face looking flustered and angry and Dave had never wanted anything more. He looked beautiful and desperate for an answer from Dave, throwing him insults and accusations and Dave just wanted him to shut up. The manifestation of those feelings was the kiss.
He wishes it had been different, he wishes that he could have just told Kurt – then maybe this moment right here would have been their first perfect moment. If things had been different he could lean into Kurt and kiss him and have no guilt or worry about their past. But it's there, always there in the back of his head, the constant reminder that he fucked up in so many unforgivable ways.
"Because I wanted to." It's a lame answer. But he has no idea how to articulate all of his thoughts and it's the most simple answer that explains it. "It was an awful moment to do it, and the anger behind it scared me just as much as it did you. I didn't sleep that night, I was scared of myself, who I was, what I was capable of. Mostly, I was just terrified of how I felt." Dave breathes in deeply. "But yeah, I kissed you and I wanted to. I regret how it happened and the aggression behind it, but I don't regret wanting you."
Kurt surges forward and he is so close before Dave can really even register it. He can feel the heat radiating off Kurt's body and the press of his hands against Dave's chest. He is holding his breath and he feels like if he lets it go it will be like a slap to Kurt's face and it will wake them both up from this moment. Dave couldn't look away from Kurt's eyes even if he wanted to, Kurt is staring at him like he is trying to search for something behind Dave's eyes. His pupils are wide and he licks his lips and Dave is so fucking screwed.
Everything slows down, he knows Kurt is moving and he should do the right thing and move away – stop this before anything happens. But it's Kurt. Kurt is moving in and closing his eyes and all Dave has to do is lean forward. He does, instinctively, like there is nothing else he can do but that.
The moment their lips meet, Dave feels like everything and everyone else in the world could disappear and he wouldn't care all that much. It's so much softer than the last time, and his hands are hanging uselessly at his sides because he has no idea what to do with them. He knows what he wants to do. He wants to wrap his arms around Kurt's back and press him in closely and deepen the kiss, but he is letting Kurt take the reins on this one – he has no idea what he can and can't do here.
Kurt's fingers grip on tight to Dave's shirt, he opens his mouth and presses his tongue to Dave's closed lips. Dave opens his mouth, letting it slide in and drag against his, he returns it enthusiastically – the intensity of the kiss deepening the more time passes. It's slow and deep and nothing like Dave has ever experienced before.
Kurt slows down even more and starts to slow down, stopping and pulling back. Dave follows him with his lips, not wanting it to end – when he opens his eyes, Kurt is looking down at his hands that are still gripping onto Dave's shirt. Dave breathes deeply and leans forward, resting his head against Kurt's. He hears Kurt sigh deeply and then shiver. On instinct, once again, Dave lifts his hands and rubs soothingly at Kurt's arms. "Let me get you home."
Kurt nods, not moving his head away. He seems as reluctant as Dave is to move. Dave gives Kurt's arms one final squeeze and then somehow finds the strength to pull back. He turns to walk ahead and when he doesn't hear footsteps behind him, he turns to look at Kurt. The shock of what just happened seems to have hit him, his eyes are wide and his hand is covering his lips. It's much like his reaction after their kiss in the locker room, but instead of fear in Kurt's eyes there's something else – Dave can't quite make out what but it seems a little something like hope.
"Are things awkward now, bro?"
Dave is sitting on the bench and putting on his boots, when he looks up, Puck is holding out his hand and looking a lot less cooler than he did on Saturday night. Dave shakes his head. "You mean when you and your girlfriend propositioned me to a threesome?"
"Dude, that was all part of our 'find out if Karofsky is batting for other team' bet – and I won $20 and my girl gets all hot and bothered at the thought of some guy on guy action. The way I see it, it's win-win for everyone."
"How is it win-win for me, Puckerman?"
"Because you've got two people at this school who will be there for you if maybe other people aren't." Puck looks around the locker at the rest of the team leisurely getting changed after practice and Dave suddenly gets what he is saying.
"Well, that's not going to be a problem." Dave stands up and takes his jacket out of his locker. "'Cos I don't plan on telling them any time soon."
Puck shrugs. "Whatever. Just making you aware." Puck gestures with his hand again and Dave sighs, slapping his own against Puck's briefly. It can't hurt to have one more person on his side.
Dave ignores Azimio's calls as he rushes out of the locker room – he made plans to meet Zoe at the auditorium for them to go shopping. She wants to buy some fabric or sequins or... something. She's getting into making her own clothes or whatever it is she is interested in this week. To be honest, Dave is finding it hard to keep up with her and all the things she finds passion in. It's his favourite thing about her though, she has no limitations, he both admires and envies that.
He can hear the sound of music already as he moves down the corridor and assumes it's Zoe playing the piano or something. She told him that she finally got the courage to ask whoever the guy it was playing for some help. Apparently they have been meeting up for lessons or something. It makes her smile wider than usual so Dave guesses it's a good thing.
The auditorium door is already open, and the music is soft and instrumental, just the solo sound of a piano. His cell phone goes off in his pocket and he reads the message as he walks down the stairs. It's from Az and all it says is: What the hell dude?/b Dave deletes it and shoves his cell back in his pocket. When he looks up, he expects to see Zoe sitting at the piano, instead she is... dancing. With Mike Chang. He almost shouts out but then Mike lifts Zoe at the waist like she weighs nothing at all and spins her around, she is smiling and laughing even after he places her back on the ground. The music fades quietly and for a moment the only sound is their quiet laughter.
Then someone clears their throat behind him.
"What. Is. This." Dave would recognise Mercedes' voice anywhere. He glances over his shoulder and rather than seeing her alone it's the entire Glee club staring at the stage with confused expressions.
"Mike, I thought you said you were busy and couldn't make Glee tonight?" Tina looks the most hurt of all, which ain't that just a load of bull crap.
Dave catches Kurt's eyes but Kurt looks away quickly, they have been doing a good job of avoiding each other over the last few days. Dave hasn't missed that Kurt hasn't returned his jacket yet. He is sure he even saw him wearing it yesterday but it was just a glimpse of Kurt running away from him so he can't be sure.
"I was, I was just helping Zoe..."
"Looks like it." Santana raises her eyebrows and winks at Brittany. "What did Zoe need help with exactly?"
Dave recognises that tone in Santana's voice. He knows that even though she loves her friends, she still loves to have this kind of fun with them as well. If she can stir up trouble and keep herself amused, she is happy.
"And why is he here?" Dave figures that Mercedes is talking about him.
"He is here to meet his friend Zoe." Dave shoots Mercedes an evil look and then back to Zoe on the stage. "You wanna go?"
Zoe nods enthusiastically and runs across the stage to pick up her bag and jacket. She casts Mike a sad glance before making her way down the stairs at the side of the stage.
"Oh, hell no." Mercedes steps in front of Zoe, blocking their path. "No one is going anywhere. You've been meeting up with my girl's boy for private dance lessons or whatever and she deserves an explanation."
Dave shakes his head and steps in front of Zoe. He feels weirdly protective of her. "Yeah, she does deserve an explanation but you don't because it's nothing to do with you, so back off, Jones."
"You can't bully me Karofsky." Mercedes steps forward. "Tina is my friend and if her guy is screwing around with some other girl I'm gonna make sure she finds out what's going down."
Dave scoffs. "Maybe you should ask your friend Tina, what she's been up to lately?"
Tina and Artie look at each other and pretty much everyone else looks at them too. Mercedes steps back and turns to Tina. "What is this fool talking about?"
"Me and Tina broke up about a month ago." Mike is sitting on the edge of the stage, staring straight at Tina. "We didn't tell you guys 'cos there was so much else going on, prom and rehearsals for Nationals in a couple of weeks."
"How did you know?" Tina asks Dave.
"I saw you and Artie in the choir room a couple of weeks ago, arguing over something. I kind of got the impression is wasn't over who was going to get a solo."
Mercedes holds her hands up. "So. Wait. Tina, are you and Artie back together?"
"We're working on that." Tina smiles softly.
"And, Mike. You and Zoe are..."
"Just friends." Zoe states quickly. They all seem to buy it. But Dave may have only known Zoe for a few weeks but he can read her pretty well already and the look on her face is a giveaway for him.
There's a pause while everyone takes this information in and Dave thinks it should be okay for them to make their exit. He nudges Zoe and gestures with his head to the door and she nods enthusiastically.
"I'm still in love with Rachel."
Everyone other than Dave and Kurt, who state "duh", let out a loud groan. Finn is staring at Rachel with big goofy eyes and shit... he is going to start fucking singing, isn't he? And Dave is going to find himself in the middle of some freaking High School Musical moment. He starts making some speech about how stupid he has been and how much he has missed her and Rachel's eyes get misty and Dave thinks he might vomit.
The rest of them seem quite interested in the situation though, and they smile and Rachel kisses Finn quickly on the lips. Dave glances a look at Kurt, who is staring down at the floor watching his feet. He looks good today, less made up than usual, but still good. He has dark skinny jeans on and a tight black shirt, his hair is back off his face and his lips are red and wet and all he can think about is that kiss and... damn, is someone saying his name?
"I guess it's him I have to thank, really. I mean if anyone ever told me I'd be thankful to Dave Karofsky I'd probably have either laughed in their face or punched them in it." Santana looks as vulnerable as they do when they are alone. She lifts her hand to put her hair behind her ear and then looks at Brittany who nods reassuringly. "So yeah – that's me."
Quinn shrugs. "I have to say, Santana you being gay has always been as obvious as how stupidly in love with Rachel Finn is."
Dave is intuitive enough to sense the slight bitter edge to Quinn's voice as she says Rachel's name. Her and Finn don't seem to notice though, they are way too caught up in each other. Mercedes is still staring around at everyone with her mouth open, Lauren has her usual 'I don't give a fuck expression', Puck is staring at Brittany and Santana in a very creepy way and Sam looks worried as he stands behind everyone.
"I'm more shocked about this than I was when I figured out Sam was boning Blaine." Puck says, still staring. "Heh. That sounds like a porno."
"WHAT?" Mercedes screeches so loudly it actually hurts Dave's ears.
"I'm not boning Blaine."
"Sure you are. I figured that out back at Prom when the two of you couldn't stop staring at each other."
"So I wasn't the last person to find out about that then?" Kurt crosses his arms and sends a snooty glare in Sam's directions.
"Kurt, I've been apologising for the last few days – what can I do to make this up to you?"
"There's nothing you can do, Sam. The fact that neither you nor Blaine thought enough of me to tell me straight away says a lot. Then to find out that mostly everyone already knew? How exactly did you think that makes me feel?"
"I didn't know about everyone else knowing. The only person who knew as far as I was concerned was Dave..."
And yep. That means all eyes are on him. Including Rachel and Finn, who have come up for breath. Most of them just seem confused, but Mercedes has her usual bitch face on. "Thanks for that, Sam."
Kurt speaks like Dave hadn't said anything at all. "There's not much you can say, Sam. It's just going to take some time."
Dave thinks that Kurt is being pretty calm and great about the whole thing. The guy obviously still has feelings for Blaine and he is having to deal with the fact that one of his closest friends is now dating him. It does make Dave want to ask Kurt why he is going around kissing guys and looking at them like he feels something more than a general disgust. Because Dave believed whatever Kurt was giving to him on Saturday night, the feel of Kurt's body and his hands gripping tightly were very convincing. If it's payback, then it is a payback well done. If it's not then Dave has a lot of questions he wants answering. Not that he can ask them now or even that Kurt will answer.
"Anyone have anything else they want to reveal?" Mercedes says with her hands on her hips.
"I made out with a girl on Saturday night." Quinn shrugs.
"Me and Puckerman totally propositioned Karofsky." Lauren smirks and nods, so proud of herself.
Everyone is looking at him again and then to Puck and Lauren who seem to be now having a domestic about the fact that it was going to be kept a secret. Dave feels a churning in his stomach because he knows another secret that got revealed from that particular proposition. He feels Zoe tapping his arm and he looks down at her. She is smiling and she gestures her head to everyone else, all of whom are now somehow involved in the fight.
"You should tell them." Zoe whispers. "Quite a few of them already know and the world hasn't ended David."
The panic he always feels when this topic comes up is always there. It's so different from standing in front of a mirror and admitting it, which he is finally able to do now, compared to actually looking at people and saying it to their faces. Especially to people who, up until a few months ago, didn't particularly like him. "I'm not telling them anything. Half of them still hate me and they'll just go running off their mouths and then everyone will know. What do I do then?"
Zoe shrugs. "Get on with your life? What are going to do, David? Hide forever?"
"No... of course not..."
"Well then why not start now? How many times have you treated the people in this room like crap? I bet you can't even count how many times. You can change all that, this version I know of you is sweet and kind – maybe instead of running out of here and running around the school they'll understand."
"Understand what?" Again, Mercedes voice kills all conversation and Dave becomes very aware of everyone staring at him and Zoe. He really should have done a quick check to see if they were all still caught up in their own conversations.
"Nothing." Dave says gruffly and puts his hands in his pockets.
"Oh no, please – I want to hear about this sweet and kind version of you. Maybe I can tell Zoe here some stories that might change her mind about that?"
"I already know what a jackass he was to you guys. He told me all about it and it doesn't change a damn thing." Even though Zoe can be pushy and slightly annoying sometimes, she always seems to be there standing up for Dave even when he isn't particularly sure he deserves it. He glances over at Kurt, who is staring at him intently. He can read what Kurt is thinking, it's so blatantly obvious. His opinion is much the same as Zoe's that is clear enough.
All of a sudden there is movement, Puck has hold of Lauren's hand and is pulling them towards Dave and Zoe. "It's okay, dude. I told you – I got your back."
Rachel smiles brightly and yanks Finn along with her, he goes happily but his confused expression can't be missed. Rachel stops dead in front of him with that same scary look in her eye. "As we discussed previously David, I feel that by forgiving any past altercations between us, it will make me a stronger and more rounded individual, thus making me connect more to any future performances in much a deeper way."
"I have no idea what's going on." Finn says, poking Rachel's arm.
Rachel leans in and whispers into his ear and Finn's eyes go wide and... "What!"
"Is this about David being gay? Because I totally knew that already." Brittany asks, casually shrugging her shoulders.
Mercedes laughs. "Yeah, right Brit. Good one."
The whole room is silent. Dave feels like everything is closing in, he doesn't want to do it like this – he doesn't want these people to know before he can even tell his Dad or Az or even get comfortable with it himself. He knows he is freaking out and somewhere he can make out Mercedes asking Kurt if he knew this. Kurt is being uncharacteristically quiet and Mercedes just keeps demanding answers about how everyone found out.
Kurt stays silent, he doesn't say what happened in the locker room, he doesn't mention a word and that somehow makes Dave feel worse because Kurt is lying to his friends because... why? Does he feel like he has to protect Dave or something? Why would Kurt even want to? This is Kurt's chance to get back for months of bullying, instead he is just standing there watching Dave with caring eyes and it's too fucking much.
"I kissed Kurt." Dave says the words loud enough for everyone to hear. "That's how he found out. You all deserve to know that."
The room erupts again, mostly with Mercedes all in Kurt's face and everyone else asking everyone else if they knew about it. He thinks about running, the door is right there and it would sure heal the claustrophobic feeling in his chest. Something keeps him rooted though, he isn't sure if it's Sam and Zoe close to his side, or Santana's hand slipping into his, but he stays. It's the first time in forever that he hasn't let himself run.
He isn't delusional enough to believe that all these people in the room care about him, or that there is any hope of forgiveness for the words and slushies' he threw in their faces. But there is something strangely comforting about being in a room where every single person knows who you really are, without lies or covers of a letterman jacket. It's the first time that Dave has ever felt like he can still be Dave and be gay as well.
When Rachel starts threatening singing, Dave takes that as his cue to leave. He tries to let go of Santana's hand but she clings onto him and says she is bailing Glee for the day. Sam bails as well and Zoe holds his other hand and he feels a little stupid walking out of the auditorium with them all clinging onto one another but he also can't stop smiling. He feels like spending that time with the Glee club pulled out any last bad ass reputation he had and turned him into this.
They barely reach the door and Dave hears his name. When he turns around Kurt is standing in the middle of the corridor with Dave's jacket in his arms. Dave blinks and lets go of Santana and Zoe's hands – they don't fight this time.
"We'll meet you at Lima Bean." Santana nods and drags the other two, who seem reluctant to leave.
"One thing about Santana Lopez, she's certainly not subtle." Kurt smiles.
"She's a good friend though."
Kurt nods. "I'm sorry about what happened in there, it shouldn't have been like that. I felt like there was too much pressure and..."
"Then Brittany saved the day with her casual way of outing me." Dave smiles. "You don't need to apologise. I don't think there's any easy way to have that conversation and in a weird way, I think it did need to happen like that. You guys in there are what I've been fighting against, not wanting to admit I was different and even though I've never felt more scared about anything in my life, it's good that they know."
"You're so different." Kurt shakes his head. "I keep trying to figure it out in my head. This version of you compared to the one who used to walk around here looking so lost and angry – I can't settle it."
Dave wants to ask a lot of things; how can he make it right? What was the kiss about on Saturday? Is there any way we can be friends? They all get lost though. Kurt's face is scrunched up in confusion. "I got home on Saturday and sat in my room with your stupid jacket on, playing over in my head every moment I've spent with you and I just ended up more confused than when I started. Then when I was taking the jacket off this fell out of the pocket..."
Kurt hands Dave a piece of folded paper. He already knows what it is, he remembers the texture of the paper and the fact that he had used that whole pad purely on sketches of Kurt. He opens it and it's one of Kurt smiling. He remembers when he drew it, in the cafeteria while Santana and Sam had talked about some duet they were doing, Rachel and Kurt had been sitting across the room sharing a pair of headphones and laughing and singing along. Dave had been obvious that day, surprised that no one had noticed him staring.
"Did you draw that?"
Dave nods and looks down. He has no idea what he will see on Kurt's face if he dares to look up.
"This is what I mean. Why didn't I know that? Why didn't anyone know that you can draw like that? I feel like all this time you haven't just been hiding the fact that you're gay but you've been hiding everything. So that lost and angry boy, it's not you is it? I've watched you with Zoe, Santana and Sam and you care about them – I've seen you wait in line and talk to them at the cafeteria, hold the door open for Santana and Zoe, you kept Sam's secret when you could have easily used that to hurt him. I can't resolve any of it in my head because that guy who used to push me around and threaten me – that's not you is it? Is it?"
Dave looks up finally and Kurt is waiting. He is waiting for the confirmation he wants and needs. He isn't asking Dave to prove that he isn't that guy anymore, he wants Dave to promise Kurt that's not who he is. Every time he thinks about a threat or an extra hard shove that he gave Kurt he feels this awful pain in his chest like someone is reaching in and ripping his heart out. The feeling is enough to leave him breathless and scared of never being able to make things up to Kurt.
Kurt is giving him a chance.
"No. I promise, that's not me."
"Okay." Kurt steps forward and hands out the jacket before stealing the sketch out of Dave's hands. "I'm keeping that."
"Okay" Dave nods dumbly.
"And I want a date."
"A date, you know like you and me on a romantic outing, maybe dinner and a movie? I don't really mind."
Dave just nods again and Kurt smiles at him as he backs away, the sketch clinging tightly in his hand. He looks at Dave for a long lingering moment before he walks back into the stares at the empty space Kurt left for a long moment, he blinks a few times and looks around the corridor. He isn't going to do anything lame like run up and down the corridor, even though he kind of feels like doing just that, but he doesn't stop the smile growing on his face. Even as he walks away, he looks back behind him at the door to the auditorium, imagining Kurt getting up on the stage – he can't help but wonder if Kurt is as excited about the date as he is. He's almost convinced he'll get a phone call but the dread is fleeting and outweighed by his elation.
All of that really did just happen and it seems so much simpler than Dave had pictured it all in his head. Considering all the drama the Glee club have imposed on him in the last few months he figured his coming out was worthy of some drama too. Not that he is complaining. The whole anti-climactic feel is giving him hope that maybe things really won't be so bad.
"Just so you know, I am not okay with this."
Mercedes cornered him after French class and as it turns out, she is way scarier than a Rachel Berry attack. She is all big hair and wavy arms and a bitch face that out-does Kurt's.
"For some reason, my boy is giving you the benefit of the doubt – either that or he has completely lost his mind. Which, by the way, I'm still leaning towards considering he told me he asked you out on a date."
Dave just stares at her. She isn't looking for a response to any of this and by the sound and looks of things, it is far from over.
"Now, I'm going to let all of that happen because I care about Kurt and I trust him. So when he tells me you're a good guy, I'll believe him. But you should know that if you so much as think about starting any of the shit you pulled last year, I will come to you in your sleep, cut off your balls and shove them down your throat. Do you understand me?"
Dave nods. "I wouldn't... I care about him."
Mercedes flips her hair over her shoulder. "Whatever. As far as I'm concerned, you can be as gay as you want but you will not mess with my boy."
With that, she struts away and Dave lets out the breath he had been holding.
"What the hell was that?" Azimio is in his face all of a sudden. He looks angrier than Dave has ever seen him and panic starts to bubble in his stomach. "Did she just threaten to cut off your balls if you hurt Kurt? And, did she just call you gay?"
"What is going on, dude? You've been avoiding me for months, hanging out with a bunch of freaks and weirdo's..."
"Don't call them that."
"You better start explaining yourself to me. We've been friends a hell of a long time for you to drop me to the curb like that. What was that woman talking about your balls for?"
Dave sighs. "I'm going on a date with Kurt. She was just warning me that if I hurt him she'd cut of my balls and feed them to me."
"That woman is crazy – why would you be going on a date with..."
Dave can literally feel the cogs turning around in Azimio's head. "Wait... is that why she said – are you gay?"
The last three words come out with an aggression that Dave always feared would come from Az when he found out the truth. "Yeah, I am."
"Is that why you've been avoiding me? Is that why you cut me out of your life for the past couple of months?"
"I didn't know... I didn't know how you'd react to this."
"I would have reacted a lot better if my friend had been honest with me about this from the start. Did you really think I wouldn't be cool with this?"
Dave sighs heavily. "Why would I think you'd be okay with this? I hear you throw around the word fag every day, Az."
"It's just a word."
"It's not just a word, damn it. I should have told you sooner, I'm sorry that I acted like shit towards you. But you can't be mad at me for worrying how you'd react."
This has to be the most serious conversation he and Az have ever had. Even though they have known each other a long time, the closest thing they got to a heart to heart was when Az's Dad walked out on them. But even then it ended up with them playing computer games and eating burgers. Dave figured that was just the comfort he needed. He isn't sure this is going to end the same way though.
"You know I don't care about you, right?" Az sighs. "You're still my best friend. We've been through way too much shit and... you're still you."
Az nods. "I'm still pissed at you though. And I don't care if you are dating Hummel now, you have some quality time to make up for ditching your boy here."
"I'm not dating Kurt." Dave shifts uncomfortably on his feet. "We're going on a date. On Sunday, for all I know after that one date he'll decide that I'm not dating material…"
"Not dating material? Did Mercedes Jones already cut off your balls? When did you start talking like a woman?"
"I'm just… I really like him, okay?" Dave can already feel how awkward this conversation is going to get but still, it's Az. It's not really until now that he realised how much he has missed being able to talk to his friend. "I don't want to mess it up."
"You won't, just – I don't know, take him some place nice." Azimio shrugs.
"You suck at this."
"I don't know how to give you advice about dating Kurt Hummel. He seems like he'd be pretty high maintenance."
Dave shakes his head; he feels like that's a common misconception about Kurt, because Dave doesn't get that from Kurt at all. He sees someone who can take care of himself and who knows exactly what he wants and isn't afraid to go for it.
"We're going to the movies. They have their competition this weekend, in New York, but we're going out after he gets back."
Az nods. "A movie is always a good first date, you don't have to talk to your date too much."
Dave laughs; he knows Az is being serious but he actually has a point. The few times he and Kurt have spoken, it's been in far different circumstances than a date and he can think of so many things he wants to know about Kurt and wants to talk to him about – but he can't just assume Kurt is just as interested. Although, he must be a little bit. He was the one who asked Dave out, who suggested the date. He needs to just stop worrying and over-analysing the whole thing.
"Well, you just stared into space for like two minutes and if you keep on looking at me like that people will think it's the two of us dating, so I'm going to head to the gym." Azimio holds up his fist and Dave bumps his against it. "Dave, feel free to check out my ass as I walk away. You know you want to."
"I really don't."
"What's wrong with my ass?" Az holds out his arms in protest. The question, even though it's meant in jest, is still a little strange in the crowded corridor at school. Az smiles as he turns away. "I know you're checking me out."
Dave just bangs his head lightly against the locker and laughs. He feels a heavy weight lifting off his shoulders as he turns to watch Az walk away. For all the reactions he had imagined in his head, all the ways he had expected Az to act – he realises he wasn't doing his friend the justice he deserves. Deep down he always knew Az was a good guy and a good friend – he never should have expected anything less from him.
It's cold when they leave the movie theatre. Kurt put on Dave's jacket without even asking; Dave really doesn't mind because he kind of loves the way Kurt looks in the jacket. There's something about how small he looks underneath it that makes Dave want to pull him in close and keep him safe and wrapped up. It's been surprisingly less awkward than Dave had anticipated. He thought maybe it would be weird between them to start with but when Dave picked Kurt up, he was all smiles and sang along to the radio happily. They talked and laughed all the way to the movie theatre and something about it just felt right.
They settled on a rom com that Kurt was excited to see and Dave – though he'd never admit it to anyone else – really wanted to see it too. He tried to keep his focus on the movie but even in the semi-darkness, Kurt was just as distracting. Perhaps, even more so because of the intent behind the evening. Every time they both reached for the popcorn at the same time, Kurt would smile a brilliant smile and on one occasion, he threw a piece at Dave's face. Then, at the end of the movie, when the guy was running along the platform, watching the love of his life drift away – Kurt sighed and leaned in close to Dave, linking their arms together and clinging on tightly.
His expectations had been nothing much at all; he was too scared to think about it too much and to build it up in his mind because either way it never would have compared to reality.
"Admit it, you loved the movie." Kurt says, turning his body to him as they walked along.
"I did, actually." Dave smiles and bumps shoulders with Kurt.
"Where did you tell your Dad you were going tonight?"
"The truth. Told him I had a date."
"Oh." Dave watches Kurt out the corner of his eye and watches him smile down at the floor. Kurt moves closer, their arms brushing against one another as they walk along.
"What did you tell your folks?"
"Mercedes gave me an alibi. I told them we were treating ourselves to a night out because of our miserable loss at Nationals." Kurt says, his eyes a little sad as he mentions their loss. Kurt called him that morning when they got back to Ohio to tell him the whole story of how they had failed miserably. It was kind of nice – not that they lost – but to talk to Kurt about things that are important to him, to be a part of his life. "I mean, I told Finn the truth – but my Dad is a little sensitive about this stuff and I didn't want to get him worked up."
"It's fine, Kurt. I guess I'm not exactly your Dad's favourite person."
When they get to the car, Kurt stops in front of the driver's door; his hands shoved into his pockets. "That's not – I mean, I will tell him. I just wasn't sure what you had told your Dad and I didn't know..."
Dave leans in and kisses the words from Kurt's lips. He doesn't stay there for long but lingers for a few seconds to cause a whimper from Kurt. He pulls back to see that Kurt's eyes are closed, his lips are pouted and Dave works to keep his control in check. Kurt takes control for him though and pulls Dave back into another kiss. Their lips meet harshly but soon they turn into soft open mouth kisses, and it's so much better than the last one they shared. There's no hesitance or uncertainty because they are on a date and this is what people do at the end of a date – they kiss and make plans for the next and Dave really hopes there will be a next one.
Dave presses his whole body against Kurt's and he can feel the shudder of Kurt's body beneath him and he never wants to pull away. They slow down until it's all just soft kisses to each other's lips and somehow, it turns into a hug, a full body, chest to chest hug. Dave can feel Kurt's breath against his neck and it sends a shiver through him. He hums into Kurt's neck and cards his fingers through Kurt's hair.
"Thank you for the date." Kurt whispers against his skin.
"Does this mean you want to do it again?"
Neither of them pulls back but Dave hears a soft laugh and feels Kurt nodding against his neck. Dave doesn't mark how long they stand like that: it feels good and it surprises him how much he doesn't care that they are in a parking lot where anyone could walk by and see them. It makes him feel happy to know that even if anyone were to walk by, he wouldn't pull back or push Kurt away; if anything, he would hold on tighter and make it clear that Kurt is with him.
"Do you want to grab something to eat before dropping me off home?"
"Sure." Dave doesn't even try to hide his smile. He'll take whatever time he can have with Kurt.
They end up stopping in a diner on the way home. It's quiet and they share some fries and get two milkshakes. Dave spends at least five minutes listening to Kurt as he explains how amazing fries dipped in milkshake tastes – it turns out that Kurt has tried a variety of flavours and he has decided that Strawberry is the best companion to fries. Dave's disgust obviously reads across his face because Kurt just smiles and dips a handful of fries in his shake and shoves them in his mouth.
Dave's expectations are being thrown in the air and smashed to pieces because he imagined Kurt would be all prim and proper on a date. He doesn't think he has ever seen Kurt this carefree and happy, and it's such a nice difference compared to every other moment they have shared before.
"Do I have milkshake on my face?" Kurt wipes at his face with a napkin and Dave realises that he has been staring.
"No, you… you just look really happy. It's nice."
Kurt smiles shyly. "I feel happy."
Dave reluctantly grabs some fries and them over Kurt's shake. "You promise I won't regret this?"
"I can't promise that." Kurt shrugs. "The only other person who liked it was my mom."
Dave dips the fries in and copies Kurt's action from before and shoves them in his mouth. There's something kind of nice about the sweet taste of the milkshake and salty potato that weirdly goes together. "It's not so bad."
"Right?" Kurt smiles and claps his hands excitedly. "Do you think you're adventurous enough to try something a little crazier?"
"Can it get anymore crazy than fries in milkshake?"
Kurt nods fast. "The next step is fries in two milkshakes."
They stay outside of Kurt's house in the car for at least half an hour before Kurt goes in. They lean in close and Dave listens as Kurt retells the story of the mess that was Nationals. When he talks about New York though, and his face lights up with excitement and he flails his arms around; it's breath-taking to see him get that passionate about something. It makes Dave want to kiss him again.
Kurt listens as Dave tries to explain his football practice schedule and why it's all over the place at the moment. He tells Kurt that Zoe has been trying to convince him to go to art club for the last couple of months and Kurt encourages him with an excited smile on his face. Dave promises Kurt he'll think about it and he genuinely means it. If he can get Kurt to look at him like that, then he will happily go to art club.
Dave doesn't get the chance to kiss Kurt again because Kurt beats him to it. He leans in close and presses their lips together softly. It only lasts seconds but it steals Dave's breath away and makes him move with Kurt as he pulls away. Even the loss of contact of their hands held together makes him let out a whimper. Kurt seems reluctant to leave as well but it's getting late and he isn't sure he wants a scene with Kurt's Dad just yet.
He waits until Kurt is in the house, watches as Kurt lingers at the open door with his hand held up in a wave goodbye. He doesn't stop smiling all the way home.
Dave is surprised he doesn't get ambushed as soon as he gets to school. Zoe is weirdly calm at her locker though, talking about Mike and how they really are just friends. They have their usual banter and Dave informs her again that he doesn't believe her for one second. He has no idea why she wants to hide it so desperately; she's a little weird when it comes to that kind of stuff. Even Santana and Sam don't attack him with questions as soon as he sits down at lunch. Santana starts talking about her date with Brittany while Sam listens intently. It's kind of like they aren't even acknowledging him, so Dave pokes sadly at his pathetic salad. He wonders if it would be a lame idea if he invited Kurt round his house to watch a movie for their second date. Or maybe Kurt will expect Dave to take him out again. What he needs is to be able to ask his friends, but they are all being weird and he has no idea how to start that conversation.
"Dave, you are driving us insane will you just spill already!" Santana huffs.
When he looks up Santana, Sam and Zoe are all staring at him with a mix of irritation and eagerness. Dave lets out a chuckle; he knew they weren't as cool as they were letting on.
"I've been waiting for you guys to ask me."
"You think we'd just attack you with questions as soon as you walk through the door?" Zoe asks.
"He has a point." Sam nods in their direction. "So, how did it go?"
"It was good." Dave pushes his plate away and takes a gulp from his bottle of water.
"It was good? That's it?" Santana looks like she is about to cause some serious harm to someone, her expression is furious. "I've been patient all morning waiting for the epic details of your first date with Kurt Hummel and all I get is 'it was good'. You better start talking, Karofsky."
Dave holds up his hands. "What do you want me to say? We went to the movies, it was a good movie and we walked back to the car, then we got a shake and I drove him home."
Zoe smiles. "Did you kiss him?"
Dave can feel the blush creeping up his face and this is so much more uncomfortable than he had anticipated. Then he kind of gets distracted at the thought of the kisses he and Kurt shared. The one at the car after the movie, and the goodnight one before Kurt got out the car. Both as amazing as each other and surreal in the most unbelievable way.
"Yeah, I kissed him."
Santana rubs her hands together happily. "What else?"
"What do you mean what else? It was our first date. I kissed him after the movie and just before he got out of the car."
"So you're going on another date?" Sam smiles, nudging Dave slightly.
"Yeah, I just… would it be lame if I invited him over to my house?"
"It depends why you are inviting him over to your house." Santana rolls her eyes. "If you're inviting him over for dinner and to watch a movie then it's lame. However, if you 're inviting him over to make out then not so much."
"Doesn't one lead to the other?"
"Good point. I like the way you think, Dave. Maybe if I actually stayed for dinner at Britt's house her parents would like me more."
Santana shrugs and starts texting, presumably Brittany. She seems happily distracted – she always has a tendency of drifting off after she has heard what she wants to.
"So, things really went okay with you and Kurt?" Sam leans in, whispering.
Dave nods. "Yeah, it was… comfortable. It felt – right, I guess? I thought maybe it was going to be uncomfortable or awkward, mostly because I never really let myself imagine what it would be like to go on a date with Kurt. I mean, that would have meant admitting a whole bunch of stuff to myself that I wasn't ready for. But, it was just – all the things I didn't even know I wanted."
"I think that's the most I've ever heard you say in one sentence." Sam's eyes are wide but he is smirking at Dave.
"Whatever." Dave brushes him off. "So, Kurt told me about Nationals – I'm sorry that kinda sucks."
Sam shrugs. "It is what it is. It just felt good to be there. New York was amazing and it was nice to get away from Lima for a bit."
"What Sam is doing, is giving you his rehearsed speech about how he doesn't care that we lost." Santana looks up from her phone. "But let me tell you, losing sucks. We were standing around in that room as people celebrated around us and people walk past us smiling smugly and calling us losers. Believe me –getting called a loser in a room surrounded by Glee Clubs was something. The whole experience sucked."
"So, I'm guessing you didn't enjoy New York then?" Zoe says, smiling at Dave.
"New York was incredible. Nationals were not." Santana puts her focus back on her cell and smiles at the screen.
"You sure you're okay?" Dave nudges Sam.
"Yeah, it's cool. It really wasn't that bad – well I didn't think so." Sam gestures over to the table where Rachel is sitting with Kurt. "Rachel feels kind of bad, like she didn't do enough or something. Whenever we lose, it's like she feels guilty or something. Glee Club rehearsals should be fun the next couple of weeks."
"At least there aren't that many more to go." Dave smiles and lets his eyes linger on Kurt. He has his hand on Rachel's back and is clearly trying to reassure her in some way. He is vaguely aware of Sam and Zoe chatting to each other but he keeps his focus on Kurt. Watching the way Kurt smiles kindly, the way he pulls Rachel in to give her a hug and how he glares at anyone who dares to throw a weird look Rachel's way. His loyalty to his friend is so obvious just by every gesture and look he gives.
He looks up and Sam is staring at him, smiling.
"Sorry, I've got a lot going on in my head today." Dave chances a glance at Kurt then back to Sam.
Sam nods. "I get it, you're adjusting. Things will be different but it will be good different, you know?"
Dave does know – he felt the shift of things over the last few days. Azimio even tried to talk to him about what guys he finds hot the other day. He flipped through a magazine and pointed at a few and got Dave to mark them out of ten. The strangest thing about that whole scenario was that Az got extremely passionate when he disagreed with Dave about a mark. And Kurt, especially Kurt. He wasn't expecting much, he wasn't expecting anything to come from the date. Maybe it would just be a one-time thing but Kurt wanted another date, Kurt had been texting him all day and Kurt who this morning saw him at the other end of the corridor and smiled shyly and waved before following Mercedes into home room.
He feels like a bit of a smiling idiot for the rest of the day. The football team look at him like he is crazy all through practice. So far there's been no comments, no harassment. Not that he made some big public announcement, but the entire Glee club know, Az knows and things can get around the school pretty damn quickly if it's interesting enough. The strange thing is, he finds that he doesn't care either way – he doesn't care if he were to walk into school tomorrow and everyone knew the truth and he got stared at and he heard comments in the corridor. He could live off the look Kurt gives him; he can be happy with the feeling he gets in his stomach when he sees Kurt smile and he knows its cheesy. It's all happy, fluffy, ridiculous feelings that on anyone else he would laugh about but for the first time in as long as he can remember, he feels good about himself.
Kurt is casually leaning against his locker and staring down at his boots, as Dave leaves the locker room. The corridors are quiet, everyone already having gone home. Dave knows Kurt has Glee practice today – not that he has been stalking Kurt's schedule or anything. He walks forward slowly, fully prepared for a speech where Kurt says thanks for the date but never talk to me again but all he gets when he reaches his locker is a wide smile from Kurt.
"I was about to bust in the locker room." Kurt smiles and turns his body to Dave. Dave wants to make a joke about their last encounter in there but he thinks that might still be a little too soon.
"Are you that desperate to see Hudson's butt?"
"Thank you for that mental image, David." Kurt makes a disgusted face and then steps forward, his body inches from Dave's. "So, when are we going out again?"
Dave shrugs. "I was thinking – you want to come over to my house tomorrow after school? My Dad doesn't get home until around 6, so we'll have a couple of hours to ourselves. We can watch a movie if you want?"
"Will your Dad mind me being there?" Kurt bites his bottom lip nervously.
"It's cool, Kurt." Dave steps forward, feeling somewhat courageous – or maybe it's the worry on Kurt's face. He feels obligated to take that look away. "I'm allowed to have people over to the house."
Kurt nods, but Dave can still sense the tension. He still looks concerned and Dave doesn't know what to do to make that look vanish. "What's wrong?"
Kurt looks up, his eyes meeting Dave's. Dave hasn't really taken the time to appreciate Kurt this close up. It had been too dark in the parking lot and the car. But he can see his face clearly in the bright lights of the corridor. Kurt has the most amazing shade of green in his eyes and when he licks his lips and bites at the bottom one again, Dave has to use all his power not to lean and steal a kiss away.
"I have a confession." Kurt takes a deep breath. "I've been trying to be all cool and calm about all of this between you and I, but really – I'm freaking out. And not because it's you and me, that part – sure, it's unexpected but I can't deny how I feel and somewhere in this whole mess you – anyway, it's not you that's freaking me out about all of this. It's me – I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. The last guy I dated was also the first guy I dated and well, you know how that ended. What I'm trying to say, in the least articulate way I have ever spoken, is that I care about you and I'd really like to not mess this up."
"You realise I have no idea what I'm doing either, right?" Dave breathes a sigh of relief. He thought the worst, of course he did – this is him and Kurt and it's never been plain sailing. Most of that being his fault, but this is his chance – his one chance and he is going to everything he can to make sure he holds onto it.
Kurt smiles and rests his head on Dave's chest. "I'm being ridiculous aren't I?"
"No." Dave shakes his head. "I'm scared too."
"I just – last night was amazing, it felt… I don't know, I was expecting awkwardness or something but it just felt natural and – I'm not making any sense, am I?"
"You're actually making complete sense. I kind of thought it would be the same." Dave smiles and Kurt tilts his head slightly.
"Is it okay that I really want to kiss you right now?"
Dave bites his bottom lip and stops himself from lunging forward to initiate the kiss. He just shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly and tries to act like he doesn't care either way. "I guess that would be okay."
Kurt takes control, quickly closing the distance between them and taking Dave's face in his hands. The corridor could be crowded with people all pointing and staring at them, but Dave wouldn't care enough to notice.
Dave makes a decision three weeks into his and Kurt's relationship that he loves Friday afternoons; he has no practice and Kurt doesn't have Glee rehearsal and they always end up at Dave's house because his Dad works late. It always starts the same way: they sit closely on the sofa with the TV on, but before they get to the middle of a movie, Dave always ends up lying on his back with Kurt sprawled out over him. He loves the way Kurt hums into his chest and plays with the buttons on Dave's shirt.
He has been testing the waters a lot, taking Kurt's actions as his guide. If Kurt moves his hand down Dave's chest, then Dave will be brave and pull Kurt into his lap as their kisses get heated. If Kurt face plants into Dave's chest and breathes him in, then Dave will lean down and place a soft kiss on the top of Kurt's head. It's been a slow build but Dave is happy with that. He is happy to ignore the movie and whisper to Kurt about their days and whatever drama they are dealing with, although recently there hasn't been much of that.
"Sam sung the most beautiful solo in Glee today." Kurt mumbles somewhat sleepily. "It was obviously about Blaine. I think he freaked some of the guys out a little bit. All of them but Puck of course, who seems to appreciate a little bit of guy on guy action." Kurt chuckles and the motion of his body sends a rumble through Dave's. It makes Dave hold onto Kurt tighter and Kurt doesn't seem to mind as he just plays with the buttons on Dave's shirt.
The door clicks and Kurt jumps off of Dave's chest so fast that he ends up nearly kicking Dave in the groin. Dave just laughs and sits up, shifting over so he is closer to Kurt. Kurt looks panicked as they both hear the door close. Dave should have filled Kurt in sooner; he is starting to think that maybe his Dad knows about him already.
"Hello David... oh, hi..." His Dad looks between the two of them and takes a moment – he is anything but subtle – so he just smiles and nods. "Kurt, right?"
They have so far managed to avoid any meeting with his Dad. Not that Dave has been planning it that way; it just kind of worked out that by the time Kurt had left, Dave's Dad hadn't gotten home yet. But Dave knows his Dad and his Dad isn't stupid, the small smirk on his face at the moment gives that much away.
Kurt nods quickly and smiles awkwardly. "Yes, sir."
"Call me Paul." Dave isn't unaware of the knowing look his Dad gives him. "You staying for dinner? David is going to cook his famous Spanish chicken."
"I can yeah... I should call my Dad and let him know but... sure."
"Great, I'm just going to clean up. You boys... erm... carry on."
They both watch him leave the room and head up the stairs and for some reason, Dave can't stop the laughter from leaving him. He leans into Kurt and rests his head on Kurt's shoulder, still trying to catch his breath. "David! Does your Dad know about us?"
Dave shrugs. "I guess?"
"But I thought you hadn't told him."
"I didn't. I mean, I know we have to talk about it at some point. But like, he keeps leaving these magazines around the house, with rainbow flags and talk about gay pride, and he gave me these pamphlets about safe sex and genital warts and in between them was a 'do you think you're gay?' one. My Dad isn't exactly subtle."
"You're not freaking out."
Dave smiles and the tense look on Kurt's face vanishes. "That's because I don't think there's anything to freak out about. My Dad is doing all those things because he wants me to know he is cool with whoever I am. I know my Dad; he isn't the biggest talker and this is his way of dealing and showing he cares, you know? I know that because I'm pretty much the same way."
Kurt nods. He leans in and kisses Dave's cheek. "Does that mean we can finish watching the movie?"
Dave shifts around and lies down on his back, his arms outstretched. Kurt hesitates and glances at the stairs. "You sure? What if your Dad comes back down?"
"Well, he'll be back down soon and that means I get some more time on this couch with my boyfriend."
Kurt bites his lip and smiles. "That's the first time you've said that."
Dave sits up again and scoots closer to Kurt. It's actually the first time he has even thought about it, but the words were there and they just felt right. He just assumed that's what they were, it's not uncommon knowledge at school that he and Kurt have been spending time together and that they walk to class together and sit at the same lunch table.
"Is that okay? I mean…"
Kurt's smile widens and he surges forward, kissing Dave quickly before pushing him down. "I want some more time lying with you here before dinner."
Dave takes that to mean Kurt is okay being his boyfriend.
The rest of the night was just embarrassing though. Dave started cooking dinner while being closely watched by Kurt and then when his Dad came in to join them, he decided it would be a good time to share an unbelievable amount of embarrassing stories about Dave as a child. He was surprised his Dad didn't go and get the photo albums.
It was the most he'd heard his Dad talk in a really long time, the most he had heard his Dad laugh. So for all the embarrassing stories – like the time Dave had run around the garden naked and pee'd up a tree because he wanted to be a dog, or when he insisted on wearing a pink headband for two weeks when he was four – it wasn't so bad because Kurt and his Dad were talking and smiling. At one moment both their voices went very quiet and when Dave turned round to find out why, they were both staring at him.
He hadn't felt this way in – in as long as he could remember. He felt like he had a life, things worth living for – family, friends and someone who cared about him enough to sit and listen to his Dad's awful stories about him growing up. He felt complete.
Everyone is buzzing with excitement as the end of school approaches. They all have summer plans and lay-ins on their minds – Dave is mostly excited about days full of time to spend with Kurt. He also apparently needs to make more time for Azimio because apparently Dave is being one of those people who as soon as they get into a relationship, they forget about their friends – Santana's words, not Dave's. Zoe also has a lot of plans: she signed them both up to an art program out of town that they have to go to twice a week. Zoe must have expected hesitance from Dave because she looks slightly nervous as she delivers the news.
"Are you sure you don't mind? I know I can be kind of pushy sometimes but I think this will be fun and you need to get involved in more art classes. I'm determined to get you into art club next year."
"It sounds great, Zo."
Her face lights up and she bounces down the hall talking about the schedule for the program and what kit they would need to bring on the first day. It works out because apparently Mr Schuester is running some kind of Glee Club song and dance club over the summer too – that's not its actual name but Dave thinks his title is much more accurate and less stupid sounding than the name: 'It's a Glee, Glee Summer!'
Sam is excited about it because even though it involves the Glee Club, Blaine will be helping out as well. Dave got a half hour speech the other day explaining just how excited Sam is about the whole thing. Kurt had even tried to ask Dave to help out – and as much as Dave would love any excuse to spend more time with Kurt, he just isn't sure that it's his kind of thing. It's different when he and Kurt are in each other's rooms goofing around and singing along to the radio, but in front of other people, he isn't sure he is comfortable with that.
Kurt keeps pushing though; he keeps reminding Dave of his performance in Thriller at the half time and how it seemed his kind of thing then. Dave finds himself fumbling through excuses; he hadn't even realised Kurt had been there watching – he felt kind of embarrassed to know Kurt had seen that performance and it was hard to hide that embarrassment from Kurt. There was a lot of reassuring and bigging up Dave's dancing skills, and Dave worked out pretty quickly that this is Kurt's attempt at trying to convince him to join. It's still different though because he had been with the rest of the football team then – it was something they had all done together and he doesn't know how he would fit into Glee club without them.
There is nearly a stampede as everyone leaves their last class of the day but Dave hangs back, having agreed to meet Kurt after Glee practice. They are having their last meeting as preparation for their big Glee summer and he agreed to take Kurt out afterwards. He walks through the corridor slowly, taking his time to get to the choir room – he has listened to Kurt singing before, hiding behind the door unseen. It's okay for him to go in and watch now, sometimes he has, depending on what mood he determines Rachel to be in. Sometimes she is scary and rants a lot: he doesn't assume that just because it's the start of summer she will be any different.
When he gets there, Kurt is already singing halfway through a song that Dave hasn't heard before. He smiles and leans against the doorframe, his presence unnoticed. It's a good feeling to know he is welcome though, that if he wanted, he could walk through the door and sit down with them. There's no fear of rejection, not anymore – almost half the people in that room consider him a friend and there is a comfort in that. He lets Kurt finish the song, watches as Kurt laps up the applause before stepping inside and sitting down next to Finn. Kurt's face lights up when he sees Dave and it's like the rest of the room falls away as Kurt makes his way across the room to sit next to him.
They spend the rest of the practice that way – Kurt pressed against his side, listening to the rest of them perform.
Every few months they set up a drive thru on the edge of town. There's always one at the start of summer and it's full of happy and excited local high school students. It's kind of a big deal: a lot of people come from far away to watch the three classic movies in their cars or camped out on the grass. Dave isn't one for sentiment, but since he and Kurt officially became boyfriends, he's been making a mental note of the days and months they have been together. It's been two months. That's huge for both of them – for Dave because he wasn't sure he would get this far before freaking out, and for Kurt because as he told Dave, "this is the most serious I've ever been about another person in my life". Dave is taking that as a good thing, because after he said that, Kurt had leaned in slowly and sultry and kissed him until he was breathless.
It's the perfect night for it too; it's still warm out and having his arms wrapped around Kurt as he leans against his chest is the most perfect feeling ever. The last movie is playing, some musical about Jets and Sharks and lots of dancing. Every now and then, Kurt starts singing along and that has been Dave's favourite part so far. He does try to follow what's happening in the movie, but there seems to be so much drama and he has already had enough of his own to last a life-time.
Instead, he lets himself be distracted by Kurt. He smells Kurt's hair, presses his lips to Kurt's scalp, let's their fingers join together. Occasionally, he squeezes Kurt tightly and is pleased with himself by the little whimper that Kurt lets out.
That's how he spends the rest of the movie, watching Kurt. He can get away with it now, he can tell Kurt it's for artistic purposes and Kurt gets all misty eyed because that means he gets to see more sketches. Dave has no insecurity about showing any of his sketches to Kurt now; every time he shows Kurt another sketch, the look he gets in return is worth any nerves or embarrassment he may feel.
The jacket from the bar and their first date is no longer Dave's anymore either; Kurt took ownership of that as quick as he could. He complains sometimes that it doesn't smell of Dave anymore so Dave has to take it back and wear it for a few days at school. It's worth it to see the look on Kurt's face when he slips it on and pulls the collar in and inhales deeply.
The credits start to roll and people start to move away, the cars slowly starting to pull out and queue up to get back onto the main street. Kurt and Dave stay where they are – they wave to Finn and Rachel as they stand up from their spot.
Kurt leans his head back and looks up at Dave's face. "Did you enjoy the movie?"
"I didn't spend that much time watching it, to be honest."
Kurt blushes and looks down at their hands entwined. He traces his thumb over Dave's fingers and moves them over and over in his smaller hands. He grips on tight every now and then before letting go, searching for different ways their hands can connect.
"David – can I ask you something?"
Kurt breathes in deeply. "Where's your Mom?"
Kurt hasn't really mentioned it before, there are pictures of Dave's mom scattered throughout the house and Dave has seen Kurt notice them, but this is the first time he has actually asked. Kurt talks about his mom every now and then, he tells Dave stories about when he was growing up and how his Dad had been there and they had somehow gotten through it together. They were all moments when Dave could have told him his story, he could have easily said that he knew how Kurt felt because he had lost his Mom too and it still hurt every single damn day. But his Mom has always been this closed off issue and he never knows quite how to talk about her without feeling this pit in his stomach and a lump in his throat.
Kurt freezes and he stops moving his fingers to just grip on tighter. "I didn't know – you never said."
"I've never really... I never know what to say. Apart from the usual stuff, I miss her, I wish I could take back that night and get my hands on the asshole of a driver who got in a car drunk. It doesn't change anything though, you know? For a long time I was really angry with my Dad, like I thought there was something that he could have done to change it. But he wasn't there, and now I'm older and I get it. The way he was with me, the way he always seemed too calm and together – it was just an act. But he had to be strong for me and for some reason I hated him for that. Then one night, I heard him crying – he was in his bedroom, my Mom's stuff still laid out on the dresser and I got it then. We both lost this huge thing in our lives and nothing was going to be the same again."
Kurt nods and turns over in Dave's arms, pushing him down onto the blanket and resting his head on Dave's chest.
"I have these conversations with her in my head sometimes, like if something happens at school or if I do something stupid, I imagine how she'd react and what she would say. A lot of them have been about you – a lot of them about me and... she would have been cool with it. I would have gone to her and told her straight away and she would have known exactly what to say to make it better. She would have sat me down and made me my favourite cookies and asked me all sorts of awkward questions but it would have been okay because she knew. That thought keeps me going, stops me missing her so much – because I know she'd get it. I know I'd still be her son."
"She sounds amazing." Kurt whispers to Dave's chest.
Their normal Friday night routine is broken when Kurt insists they go to his house this week because his Dad has been telling him to bring Dave round for dinner. Despite it being summer, they are still keeping up their usual Friday night arrangement. Kurt insists he loves their Friday afternoons at Dave's house but he says it's time that he officially re-meets his Dad under better circumstances. He knew it was inevitable: Kurt talks about their Friday Family night a lot because Kurt nearly always leaves Dave's early so he can get back and have dinner or go out with his family. The only difference this time is that Dave is invited.
Dave feels sick the whole drive over there. He has never actually met Finn's Mom: from what Kurt has said she sounds amazing but Kurt's Dad leaves him feeling terrified. Kurt assured him that his Dad knows about the two of them and while he is reluctant to be happy about it, he is going to have to accept Dave as part of Kurt's life. He has one request though and that's that they spend time at Kurt's house too.
It's not that awkward at the dinner table: Carole asks him about football and Kurt starts bigging him up and telling her what an awesome artist he is. That gets a scoff from Finn and a dubious look from Burt; Dave can't say he really blames them.
"So, are you going to college Dave?" Burt asks, taking a large gulp of his water. "Kurt's got his heart set on some fancy performing arts program in New York. You know where you want to go?"
Kurt has talked about said fancy performing arts program to Dave a lot. "I'm going to college, sir. Hoping to get a football scholarship. I've not really thought about where, wherever will take me I suppose."
"That's what you want to do then? Football?"
"It's what I'm good at. What I know."
"But not what you want?" Burt is staring him down and he hates it when adults do this. It makes him feel like his choices are wrong even though they don't actually come out and say it.
"I'd just like to be happy wherever I am." Dave says surely.
"Then I'm sure you'll get that whatever you do." Burt pokes at his chicken and Dave feels Kurt squeeze his hand under the table. It could have gone a lot worse. Kurt joked about his Dad having a shot gun earlier; at least, Dave hopes he was joking.
"The chicken is really good, ma'am." Dave says, taking a break from eating.
"You can call me Carole, David." Carole smiles at him. "It's nice to hear someone complimenting my cooking." The glance that she throws at Finn goes unnoticed only by Finn.
"Dave's a really good cook." Kurt states. "He cooks all the time for his dad, and always when I stay there for dinner."
"We should get your dad over for dinner too sometime, Dave." Kurt's dad says it and Dave thinks it's meant to be a question but it doesn't really sound like one so he just nods.
"I think he'd like that."
It goes quite while everyone finishes their food. He glances at Kurt every now and then and they smile at one another. He is happy that he has that at least, that calming feeling that Kurt gives him is still there even amongst all the stress he is feeling right now. When Carole stands up to start clearing the plates, he offers to help and follows her out to the kitchen. He dries the dishes while she chats to him about recipes that she wants to try. He adds in suggestions and comments on things that sound good, and it's nice. It makes him want to go and tell Finn how lucky he is to have a mom like Carole.
She tells him to go find Kurt after all the dishes have been put away and Dave finds him in the living room sitting next to his Dad. Kurt is smiling and Burt is smiling back at him, if not with slightly more caution than Kurt. He stays back, hidden behind the door; he thinks about going back into the kitchen and offering to help more. But curiosity wins out as Burt starts talking, so he stays hidden.
"I have to say kid, I can't remember the last time I saw you this happy." Burt breathes out heavily. "I guess I'm just trying to get my head around the fact that the person who's making you this happy is the same person who made your life hell just a few months ago."
"Believe me, Dad – no one is more surprised about that than me but – I like him."
Dave rests his head against the door frame and smiles. He knows Kurt likes him, he has told him that much already – it's just nice to hear Kurt say it to someone else, to witness him admitting it – it's almost like a shock to the system.
"I know you do. I can see how much you like him and – it's obvious he cares about you. That's good to know at least, it's just – it's hard for me to understand that shift, how things have changed. I have a feeling some things happened that perhaps you weren't entirely honest with me about?"
Kurt looks down and Dave knows that Kurt will be playing with his fingernails and worrying his bottom lip between his teeth.
"I'm not asking you to tell me or explain," Burt says. "Maybe it's best if there are things I don't know. The most important thing to me is that you are safe and if you tell me that David has changed, then I'll believe you. I can see it when I look at him, when he looks at you – there's definitely a change there. But you have to understand something: you're my son and if he so much as dare lay a finger on you to hurt you, then that's it. No more chances. You understand that, Kurt?"
Kurt nods slowly and he finally looks up at his dad.
"You understand that too, David?"
Dave steps back, as if that means he is hidden from view somehow. It's too late though because they are both staring at him: Kurt with a blinding kind of smile and Burt with a serious, defiant face. Dave nods once and steps further into the room. "Yes, sir."
"Good." Burt nods. "I'll leave you kids to it then. You can watch a movie… the door stays open and – hands where I can seem them at all times."
Kurt face plants into his hands. "Please, Dad. Don't be embarrassing."
Burt holds up his hands and Dave sees him smiling to himself as he leaves the room. "You know, I was kind of terrified of your Dad before tonight – I mean, I still kind of am – but I think he enjoys knowing that he terrifies people." Dave smiles and then throws himself down on the sofa next to Kurt.
"He just worries about me – all of us." Kurt leans in and wriggles against Dave. Dave rests his arms against the back of the sofa and waits until Kurt stills against him and wraps an arm around Dave's waist, then Dave wraps one around Kurt and pulls him in closer still. "Thank you for coming to dinner tonight, Dave. I know you were nervous and terrified about the whole thing, but it really means a lot to me. I think Carole loves you already – my Dad's going to take a little more time I think, but that will pretty much apply to anyone who is dating me."
Kurt's fingers are busy on Dave's shirt, playing with the top buttons, every now and then grazing his knuckles on the bare skin he can reach. "I think he'll like me even less if he walks in and you're feeling me up."
"Then stop being so distracting. I'm going to need you to wear a jacket or something every time we're around… well, anyone really." Kurt muses. "On second thought, maybe you should dress like this more often." Kurt sighs happily and nuzzles his face into Dave's chest.
Dave looks down at his old grey t-shirt and the pair of jeans he owns and spends a good few minutes wondering what could possibly be distracting about his outfit. The jeans, even though they are his smartest pair, are still a few years old; the shirt doesn't really fit him anymore, it's nearly two sizes too small. He shrugs and leans down to place a kiss on the top of Kurt's head and makes a mental note to wear this outfit around Kurt again.
"I think it will be a really good idea." Zoe states. She has just finished giving Dave a very, very long speech on the reasons why Dave should consider applying to art school rather than holding hopes out for a football scholarship. "Is that really what you want, David? I mean, I just wish you would show your art to someone else other than just me and Kurt."
"I have. Santana and Sam see my sketches all the time."
"You know what I mean. You need someone who can give you a professional opinion and tell you how to improve."
Zoe looks sad as she stares down at her salad. They've been meeting nearly every other day when Dave can manage to drag himself away from Kurt or his part time job at his Dad's company. He doesn't have set hours which is a good thing, mainly because most of the time he wants to spend as much time with Kurt as he can.
"Okay, how about this? What if I agree to go to art club with you next year?"
Zoe's whole face lights up. "And will you agree to look at some of the art schools I found out about for you?"
It's hard for Dave to say no to her when she is looking at him all wide-eyed and happy. All of a sudden, he feels extremely grateful to have her in his life. It's strange but she is the only one who seems to push him this way; everyone, despite genuinely being his friend, still see Dave in the same way. Sure, they may know he is a gay now, but he is still a jock, and they don't expect him to break out of that and they accept him that way. Zoe challenges him; she doesn't accept the fact that he is a jock as an excuse that he can't be anything else and it's nice to have someone who encourages him to break more of his walls down. He can't help but be grateful for that.
"Zoe gave me all this information about this art school in New York. They have this really amazing summer program apparently and she thinks I should apply for it." Dave shrugs like it's no big deal. To be fair though, he had the same reaction that Kurt is having now but a few hours ago. "She sent off for the information in my name and it arrived this morning."
He knew as soon as he saw the envelope with the fancy name on it that this was thanks to Zoe.
"College applications already? Isn't it a little soon?" Kurt asks, biting his bottom lip.
"Well, they do that summer program and they accept early applications. Zoe thinks I should hold out and wait to see how I do in art club. What do you think?" Dave stares at the letter on the table and then at Kurt's face.
"Oh, right. Well, what decision is there to make? You're applying right?" Kurt eyes get wide and he smiles like the news is for himself and not Dave.
Dave picks the tomato out of his sandwich. "What about football? What about next summer?"
"David," Kurt shuffles closer, "is football really what you want? Or is it what you think you should be doing? You're so talented, I have a whole notice board in my room full of your sketches and every single one of them is perfect. And I know you love it, I've seen your face when you finish something, and you get this proud accomplished look in your eyes. And – next summer is a long time away, we have time to figure all that out."
"I just... what if I'm not like any of them? What if they know all this kind of art stuff and I walk in there looking like this and... I don't want to make a fool of myself."
Kurt laughs. "Please, once they see your work, they'll know how talented you are. And haven't you figured it out yet, David? Being like everyone else is boring. You are way more interesting than that."
"If I visit – maybe you could come with me? We could go see that fancy Performing Arts school of yours?"
"I'm sure we could work something out." Kurt smiles and leans over to eat the tomato on Dave's plate. "So Zoe did all this, huh?"
"Yeah, she kept asking me all these questions last week and pushing for me to go to art club – I just thought it was here being her usual self. She really is sneaky."
"I think she's brilliant. There's no way you would have thought to do this for yourself and she knows that."
"She's a good friend." Dave nods. "I should sketch her something."
"Can we go to the park again? I can read and watch you draw. It's one of my favourite things to do, you know? Your hands are really distracting."
"Is that so?" Dave raises his eyebrow.
"Yep. And we only have two more weeks of summer and I want to get in as much time with you as I can."
Somehow amidst the craziness of summer, Santana, Zoe, Sam and Dave have all managed to meet up once a week for lunch and catch up on whatever has been going on with them. Sam suggested once they all go round to his house but it ended up with them having a Doctor Who marathon which was not appreciated by the girls at all. So now they meet in a diner in town and they all order salads apart from Dave who refuses to eat a damn salad when they are in a diner – it's a cheeseburger or nothing.
"I think it's a really bad idea." Santana says with a mouthful of lettuce.
"Blaine thinks it will be a good idea." Sam says smiling and gestures to Zoe and Santana. "You two always hang out with me and Blaine, I want Dave to get on with my boyfriend."
Dave stays silent for as long as he can and takes a big bite of his burger. Zoe stares at him like she is onto him and Santana just shakes her head. "Have you not seen how our Davey boy looks at young Mr Warbler? It's like he wants to staple things to his face."
Sam looks at Dave for a disagreement, but Dave just shrugs and points to his full mouth. Sam, being Sam, finds that an unacceptable enough response and stares at Dave, waiting until he can respond. "Is that true? Do you want to staple things to my boyfriend's face?"
"Not all the time and not recently." Dave offers. "I mean, I don't even know the guy and it's stupid but…"
"He's mad because Blaine popped Kurt's cherry." Santana states bluntly.
Dave chokes on his diet coke and Sam shakes his head. "Blaine did not pop Kurt's cherry and you aren't helping. Dave, please – he's my boyfriend and well, you're one of my best friends and it kind of sucks that you two haven't really hung out a lot."
"It's just… the few times we met I didn't exactly act all that great towards him. And – even though Santana put it in words that I wouldn't, ever – she isn't exactly wrong about me being angry with him." Dave holds his hands up in protest at the expression on Sam's face. "I know it's ridiculous, okay? I have no reason to hold onto any anger toward him or… jealousy. But sometimes I can't help it, okay?"
Sam pokes his fork in his salad angrily and Dave feels like shit. He pulls Sam's bowl of salad away from him and replaces it with his fries. "But it means a lot to you – so, I'll do it. I'll go on a double date with you and Blaine."
Sam is still giving off a slightly pissed off vibe as he starts eating the fries but Dave is sure he sees the hint of a smile.
"So, you two are going on a double date with your boyfriends? Both of whom used to be boyfriends? Oh, this has drama written all over it. Can I come? I'll bring Zoe too."
"No, you can't come." Dave says quickly. "And I am sure Zoe will be busy not going on a date with Mike Chang."
Zoe looks up from her food and her face is blushing furiously. "I'm not dating Mike Chang."
Santana rolls her eyes. "Oh please sweetie, that is the worst kept secret ever."
"Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, the few times you and Blaine met they weren't exactly your finest moments." Kurt questions him from the passenger seat.
"That's what I said. But it's a big deal to Sam and he's been a good friend to me. He wants me to get along with Blaine and I owe it to him to at least try."
They pull up to Breadsticks and when Dave turns to look at Kurt he is smiling at him, his head tilted inquisitively. "You're a good friend."
"I'm glad you think so, because I told Az about this whole double date thing and he wants us to go out with him and his girlfriend next Friday."
"Are you being serious?" Kurt asks. If it weren't entirely true, the comical shocked look on Kurt's face would have Dave in stitches. But Az had all but demanded him that it was going to happen – Dave isn't sure but he thinks Az might be a little jealous of Dave's close friendship with Sam. Az keeps asking him if he is still his bro and when Dave can't hang out, Az never asks if Dave is seeing Kurt, he always asks if Dave is hanging out with Sam. It had been weird to start with but it all makes sense when he saw the hurt puppy look in Az's eyes.
"I'm deadly serious."
Kurt leans in close and cups one side of Dave's face with his hand and places a soft lingering kiss on the other. "Then I guess we'll have to change our Friday routine then."
Dave mostly talks to Sam; it's not that he doesn't like Blaine but it really is exactly how he had tried and failed to explain it to Sam. There are still some residual feelings left over from how he'd feel when he saw Kurt and Blaine together and sometimes when he sees them talking closely and laughing, like right now, it's like – well, it's like that twinge of jealousy flares up again and he just wants to grab Pretty Boy by the eyebrows and get him the hell away from his boyfriend.
See? Residual, irrational jealousy.
Sam thinks it's hilarious because he knows now. Dave had been hoping that it wouldn't be an issue and he could just keep ignoring Blaine. It has been working for him so far. But then Sam had to come in and look at him with sad eyes, making Dave feel like he'd be a shitty friend if he didn't agree to the double date. Sam is watching him out of the corner of his eye; every now and then he lets out a laugh and shakes his head. It just makes Dave's feelings even more ridiculous.
"You know all he does is talk about you, right?"
"Huh?" Dave says, distracted by the way Kurt keeps throwing his head back and laughing at whatever Blaine is saying.
"Kurt." Sam states. "Blaine told me. I told him about your irrational jealousy – which, he thought was adorable by the way – and he said whenever they talk, it's mostly about you and me."
"Whatever. And I'm not jealous."
Sam nods, giving him a look that clearly says he doesn't believe it for a second. He kisses Blaine's cheek as he heads to the bathroom and Blaine watches him all the way until he is through the door. Kurt laughs and leans in closer on the booth to Dave.
"You are so obvious." Kurt says, rolling his eyes.
"Coming from you? The guy who constantly talks about his boyfriend all the time?" Blaine retorts.
Dave has kind of been zoning out of the conversation, choosing to watch Kurt instead, but he sees the way Kurt blushes and Blaine's words register in his head all of a sudden. It's like some kind of switch in his head has been flipped on and he is just now realising that Kurt and Blaine are just friends and have been that way for such a long time. Not only is his jealously completely unfounded but it's just plain ridiculous.
He smiles and leans in to kiss Kurt quickly. Kurt's blush grows deeper.
"I don't talk about him all the time." Kurt states and plants his face in Dave's chest. Dave's hand makes its way to Kurt's hair and he cards his fingers through it softly. Blaine smiles at him softly and there is something in the expression there, something deep and strong that is so obvious about him being happy for his friend. Dave meets Blaine's eyes and nods, like he is silently agreeing to something without really knowing what it is.
"So how was the double date?" Az asks Dave before nudging his elbow slightly and trying to knock the controller out of his hand. He's forgotten how dirty Az can be when it comes to playing video games. Dave shoves him so hard that it nearly sends Az flying off the sofa.
"Dude!" Az throws down the controller as Dave's fighter beats his to a pulp.
"It's your fault for cheating, man." Dave laughs and switches off the TV. "And the date was fine. Not half as awkward as I thought it would be."
"I hope you told your boy about our double date this weekend." Az leans back and smiles smugly. "I told my girl about you boys and she got all smiley and started rambling about how she didn't know how sensitive I was. She loved it when I told her you were my boy – I mean that in a very non-gay way – it made her go all crazy for me."
"I'm glad I could help?" Dave shrugs his shoulders and makes a mental note to leave Az and Kurt alone at some point in the evening and then watch the two of them awkwardly try to talk. He thinks it will be pretty funny to see the both of them struggling and also try and find out if maybe they can learn to be civil. Dave thinks hoping that they will become friends is pushing it a bit too far.
Their first fight is over something so ridiculous and it means having to cancel the double date they were meant to be going on with Az. Az gives Dave so much shit for it down the phone but Dave finds it really hard to even care. He knows Az is pissed and that's fine – but Dave may have just unintentionally fucked up the best thing in his life so excuse him if Az isn't his main priority.
The truth is, Dave regretted the words as soon as they came out of his mouth. It's not like Kurt isn't aware of his issues with being unable to state how he feels in an eloquent way. Also, the next time Kurt asks him to give an opinion on one of his solos, Dave should just suggest he go to Mercedes and leave him out of it.
It's not that the song wasn't beautiful; in fact it was – but there had been something so personal about the whole thing. The way Kurt had moved, his body twisting and moving slowly in time with the music. Dave is no dancer but he knows when someone looks sexy and Kurt was managing it without even trying. It just… it didn't seem appropriate for Kurt to stand up in front of a room full of people and do that.
Kurt hadn't taken it that way though. He had ranted something about how he knew he would never be able to pull off being sexy and how Dave's support would have been nice. Before Dave could even realise the real issue or been able to respond, Kurt had already slammed the door shut. Dave can see what it is: for all of Kurt's confidence about most things, it doesn't stop him from being self-conscious sometimes. He catches it every now and then when Kurt's shirt will lift up and Kurt will blush under Dave's touch and flinch away. He used to think it was something that he was doing, that Kurt was finding it hard to get over their past – but the way Kurt reassured him and kissed him, told him that it was something more than that.
Somehow, in some way, his boyfriend has got it into his head that he isn't sexy and that just won't do.
He lets Kurt come to him because he knows Kurt will need time to calm down. It's only been a couple of days and Kurt turns up at his house on Friday with a sad look on his face and a cupcake in one hand. "I'm sorry I yelled at you."
Dave smiles and pulls him in close, kissing Kurt hard against his lips. He has missed his boyfriend, missed this so much he didn't even realise until right now. He reluctantly pulls back and takes the cupcake out of Kurt's hand. He doesn't really eat cake but he loves the frosting and will end up giving the cake to Kurt. "You ready to tell me what it was really about?"
Kurt hands up his coat and toes of his shoes before slumping down on the couch next to Dave in a very ungraceful and un-Kurt-like way. "I'm just... sensitive about that kind of performance. Mr Schuester told us to perform a song and do it in a way that is out of our comfort zone and then perform it at the next summer session. I know show tunes and diva ballads but..." Kurt pauses and breathes in deeply, "I know that I'm not sexy."
"Are you crazy?"
"No. I'm awkward when it comes to this kind of stuff." Kurt twirls his fingers around his scarf and looks anywhere but at Dave. "It's different for you! You're all big and hot and I'm all skinny and pale skin."
"Kurt, just stop." Dave shuffles closer and turns his body to Kurt, pulling his hands into his lap. "I have no idea where you got this stupid definition of what sexy is in your head but I'm telling you, you are so wrong." Dave laughs. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to concentrate when you walk down the hall in those damn skin tight jeans? Or when you smile at me just before you kiss me? I have no idea what the rest of the world is defining as sexy, but, if it means anything, I think you're sexy."
Kurt smiles shyly. "Really?"
Kurt's smile grows widely and he launches himself onto Dave, kissing his lips quickly then his neck and jaw. Dave clings onto Kurt and lets him bury his face into Dave's neck. They stay like that for an uncountable amount of time. Dave listens to Kurt's breathing, slow and steady, and every now and then he feels Kurt's lips on his skin. He responds by lifting up Kurt's shirt slightly to slide his hand against the small of Kurt's back.
Kurt hums against his ear and slips his hands up Dave's back before pulling them through his hair. Dave feels Kurt's breath against his ear, and hears the whisper of words. "I love you."
Dave pulls back, his eyes wide and mouth open. Kurt bites his lip and searches Dave's face and speaks again. "I love you."
Kurt kisses him, slow and soft, his fingers tightening in Dave's hair, trying to deepen the kiss and get their bodies closer together. Dave is more than on board with that: he can't think of anything better than having Kurt lying across his chest, feeling his body flush against him and the warmth of his body pressed against him.
He pulls back though, their faces still close but far enough away that he can look into Kurt's eyes. "I love you, too."
Dave is so far surviving his first official Glee Club party. Mike had decided, seeing as school is up and running in less than five days, that it was time to celebrate the end of summer. It's at Mike's house because his parents are out of town and they trust him enough to leave him alone. Depending on how crazy they get, that may have been a bad judgement on their part. Kurt looks incredible, literally breath-taking, Dave has to keep himself in check and stop touching and kissing him all the time. He actually zoned out on something Santana was saying, because Kurt was dancing and she ended up slapping him on his head.
Finn corners him at one point. He looks slightly drunk and as if he is working really hard to keep a serious look on his face. "I just want you to know – Kurt is my brother, I mean, not my real brother – but like, my brother you know?"
Dave nods and hides his amused smile behind taking a sip of his soda. Finn is waving a bottle of beer around and trying to steady himself against the wall.
"I'm just warning you – don't hurt him. He may act all tough and strong, but he's sensitive and you… just – be nice to him, okay?"
Dave gets the feeling that Finn probably had a speech prepared that was a lot better than that. But he gets the general gist behind Finn's intentions and it really is kind of… sweet. Not that he will ever admit to anyone ever that he thinks Finn Hudson is sweet.
It's a nice environment to be in. Everyone is happy and laughing; even when they randomly start bursting out into song, it's not as bad as he thinks. He even catches Zoe dancing along on a few occasions. He managed to get video footage of her at one point in the evening that will be used for future blackmail usage.
Things start to quiet down and they all end up on pillows and sofa cushions huddled on the floor. The only people drinking seem to be Finn and Puck but Finn is already asleep on a pile of cushions and Puck has calmed down from his initial party high and has his head nestled in Lauren's chest. Kurt emerges from the kitchen with Rachel following behind: they are both smiling and Kurt's eyes find Dave straight away.
"I'm tired." Kurt yawns. "I'm going to head up."
Mike's house also has like 10 bedrooms, so he told them all they could stay over. Kurt got there early apparently, stating to Mike that he needed to check out the bedroom arrangements and make sure he would have all the facilities he needs. Dave has no idea what that means but he figures it was just his boyfriend being high maintenance.
"Dave? You coming?" Kurt smiles sweetly and Dave just nods dumbly. He ignores the sniggers from Santana and if he accidentally kicks Sam in the leg when he says 'get some' – it's totally not his fault. No one else seems to pay them too much attention as they leave the room: they all mumble their goodnights sleepily and wave them off.
Dave thinks about the bed in the room and how amazing it looked. He still has a single bed at home that he can barely fit into anymore, and this bed is some kind of super king double, with soft throws and big fluffy pillows. He nearly rushes past Kurt with how slow he is walking. When they finally get into the room, Dave rushes in and lets Kurt close the door. He kicks off his shoes and face plants on the bed, he swears he could sleep like this if it wasn't such a waste of a perfect bed.
"Hmm..." Dave mumbles into the pillow.
"I want... I mean – maybe we could..."
Kurt is rambling, a blur of words that makes no sense and that is enough for Dave to roll over on his back and lean up on his elbows. Kurt looks nervous – he hardly ever looks nervous. And he seems so wound up tight about something and it's slightly unnerving.
"Are you okay?" Dave reaches his hand out and Kurt nods, stepping forward to sit down on the bed and grip onto Dave's hand.
"I just... how often do we get to be alone like this?" Kurt averts his gaze, the blush creeping up his cheeks. "I mean, without the constant fear of interruptions from our family. There's a lock on the door and no one expecting us back at a certain time and... I love you."
"I love you too." Dave sits up and rests his hand on Kurt's face, his thumb stroking Kurt's bottom lip. "What do you want, Kurt?"
Kurt finally looks at him again. His eyes slightly darker, his pupils dilated. "I want you."
Kurt lunges forward and smashes his lips against Dave's. It's almost reminiscent of their first kiss in the locker room. It's desperate and passionate and it steals the breath out of Dave. He moves back slightly but Kurt just follows him with his whole body, surging forward, determined and strong. His hands grip in Dave's shirt and it's like he is pulling at the fabric to get at what's underneath and oh. That's when it hits him what Kurt wants.
"Kurt..." Dave says between kisses. "Wait... tell me, what do you want, Kurt?"
Kurt is too busy pulling at the fabric of Dave's shirt, his lips working frantically on Dave's neck. "Hey..." Dave holds Kurt's face in his hands. "Look at me, tell me – what do you want?"
"I want... I want to feel you."
Dave nods, even though he has no idea what he is agreeing to and he has no idea what the hell he is doing. He feels like he should deliver some kind of disclaimer in case this ends up bad and just plain awkward. "Slow, okay? Slow."
Kurt nods and lets Dave guide his head forward. The kiss this time is more like their usual ones – deep and slow, their own unique rhythm that always leaves Dave wanting more. He knows this is something different though; the look in Kurt's eyes and the desperate tone to his voice had made that clear. Kurt's hands find his shirt again and they cling to the material as he pulls it away from Dave's skin. Kurt pushes him down and straddles Dave's waist. His eyes are hungry as they search over Dave's body; if Dave has any hang-ups left, they vanish with just that one look from Kurt.
Dave untucks Kurt's shirt from his jeans and Kurt quickly unbuttons it before throwing it on the floor, lost to the morning. The first press of their bodies together makes Dave feel like his skin is on fire, the slide of their chests and the feel of Kurt's warm hands gripping his shoulders is enough to drive him crazy. Kurt is kissing his way down Dave's chest, mumbling words that Dave can't make out into his skin. It sounds like a mantra on constant repeat. Dave pulls him up and they kiss and kiss until they are both panting and breathless.
When they break apart for air, Kurt grinds down and Dave throws his head back. He clutches onto the bedspread because if he dares to reach out and touch Kurt he is going to leave marks. That doesn't seem okay with Kurt though. "Touch me, please..."
Dave squeezes his eyes shut and rests one hand on the small of Kurt's back, the other resting on his ass through his jeans. Just one squeeze and press down and he can feel Kurt hard against him and he lets out an undignified groan that causes Kurt to whimper against his shoulder.
Dave wants this to be a little more special; he kind of wants them both naked and moving in sync, not frantically rubbing off on one another while they are still half dressed. Kurt, apparently, has other plans: he grinds down on Dave repeatedly and any thoughts Dave had of suggesting they lose their pants are lost as Kurt angles himself just right. With a quick shift of his hips, Dave stills and then his whole body shakes with Kurt's, both of them getting to the edge at the same time.
It seems to take forever for their breathing to calm. Kurt is all loose limbs and heavy against him. "Well, that wasn't as smooth as I hoped it would be." Kurt says sounding sleepy.
Dave nods. "Hot, though."
Kurt laughs again and leans back slightly, resting his chin on Dave's chest. "I have an idea..." He rubs his palm across Dave's stomach and Dave can feel the stirring again, the need to have Kurt rutting up against him once more. "We should use the full benefits of the en suite in Mike's crazy mansion of a house and then..."
"After a nice long shower, together, we can work on a second round." Kurt giggles and faceplants into Dave's chest. Clearly embarrassed. Dave runs his fingers through Kurt's hair, enjoying the sound Kurt makes as his hands roam across his shoulders and back into his hair again.
"Shower." Dave whispers into Kurt's ear. He feels Kurt nod against his shoulder and then he moves reluctantly away. Kurt slides off the bed, his back facing Dave – he looks over his shoulder, his face slightly anxious.
"I'm not – I mean…" Kurt turns around, his arms self-consciously wrapped around his body. Dave moves quickly to stand facing Kurt; he pulls Kurt's arms away from his body and wraps them around his neck. "You're perfect."
His fingers shake as they travel down Kurt's chest and across his stomach, stopping at the belt of his jeans. He looks into Kurt's eyes and all the agreement he needs is there for him to carry on. It would be a lot quicker and easier if he wasn't so damn nervous, but he manages to get Kurt's jeans undone and slips them down his thighs. Kurt toes off his shoes and socks then steps out of his and shimmies out of his boxers, wrinkling his nose at the mess he made in them earlier.
Dave takes a moment to appreciate Kurt standing in front of him, the lines of his body and how soft his skin feels. He is so caught up in staring at Kurt, he doesn't register that Kurt is pulling at his belt and unzipping his jeans until they hit the floor with a thud. Dave slips off his sneakers and steps out of his jeans almost in a daze; it's not until Kurt's hands grip his sides and his fingers travel down to hook in his boxers and pull them down that he is about to be fully naked in front of Kurt for the first time.
He expected to feel self-conscious having Kurt watch him so closely, the feel of Kurt's hands searching his body. Instead he just feels so happy, so in awe of Kurt, so loved and most of all just desperate to be close to him. Kurt is biting his lip and staring down at Dave's body. Dave can't even describe the look on Kurt's face –all he knows is that no one has ever looked at him that way before and he didn't even know it was possible for someone to. He wraps his arms around Kurt's waist and draws their bodies close together while Kurt hums into his neck and starts planting soft kisses against his skin. Dave shudders and grips on tighter to Kurt, his hands travelling down his body. He hooks one hand around Kurt's thigh and lifts it up, Kurt seems to understand and he lets Dave lift him off the ground and hooks both his legs round Dave's waist.
Kurt laughs into Dave's shoulder and pulls back to look into his eyes. "Keep this up and I don't think we'll make it to the shower."
Dave leans in to kiss him softly. "You said it yourself, we have all night."
Kurt doesn't look away from his face as Dave carries him into the bathroom. He manages to turn the shower still with Kurt in his arms which is quite an accomplishment seeing as Kurt decided to attack Dave's neck and jaw with kisses as soon as they entered the bathroom, working at all of Dave's weak spots that he has learnt so well.
It's a fantastic feeling when they finally step into the shower, the water hot and soothing. He ends up transfixed, watching the water trickle down Kurt's back, the way his hair sticks to his face and neck, the droplets of water on his lips – it's all just so distracting. They end up sharing hot and heated kisses throughout; the environment seems to drive them on. Kurt clings onto Dave like he can't bear to let go and Dave understands because he feels exactly the same until they part for air. Kurt brought his own shampoo and he hands it to Dave after he is done – it smells like Kurt and it's perfect. Kurt leaves the shower, muttering something about skincare regime and Dave nods – enjoying the moment in the shower – his head clear and the water cascading across his body.
When he steps out Kurt, isn't in the bathroom. Dave finds him in the bed, his eyes closed and the sheets laying low on his hips. Dave watches him for a few moments, unsure whether to wake him up or to slip in next to him. He chooses the latter; he has a feeling they will have so much more time for moments like this and the whole night has already surpassed any expectations he had.
He drops the towel from round his waist and throws it into the bathroom. He steps around the bed and climbs in as carefully as he can without disturbing Kurt. He shuffles across so his chest is flush against Kurt's back. Kurt makes a happy sound and shifts backwards slightly. Dave bites his lip to stifle the groan that wants to escape. He traces his fingers up Kurt's arm and listens to his breathing. It's calming and soothing and soon he feels sleep pulling him under.
When Dave wakes up the next morning, he can feel the firm weight of Kurt lying across his chest. Kurt is still sound asleep and wrapped around him like a blanket and it's the most at peace with himself that Dave has ever felt.
There's a whole world outside this town, outside these four walls – there's a hope that things will get better for him and it wasn't long ago that Dave wondered if he was ever going to feel that. It all seemed so far out of reach and he felt like a stranger in his own life and body, and that nothing was ever going to be easy for him if people knew the truth. But life was just messing with him, making him fear the worst for no reason at all. Everything he expected to happen never did – he has so much more now than he had before and he can't pretend that a large part of that feeling is because of the boy he is holding in his arms.
The first day back at school is mostly uneventful. Some people are over-excited, happy to be back and preparing for their usual school routine. Others look depressed as they wander around the corridors wishing it was still summer. Most of all, there is a lot of talk: talk of what they did over the summer, talk of what the plans are for the year. It's all just a mix of emotions. Dave isn't really sure how he feels, mostly because the place doesn't mean the same thing it used to for him.
It used to be his place to hide, to conform to what he thought he had to be. Now he doesn't feel the need to do any of that: he is free from having to wear his letterman jacket as a shield to hide behind, he doesn't need to bully and push people into lockers to cover up a fear of being different himself and he doesn't need to look over his shoulder every second for fear of someone figuring out what he is trying to hide.
Now that he thinks about it, he hadn't realised how exhausting it all was, how much effort he had been putting in every day to keep up the façade. He feels a sort of freedom as he walks the corridors now – he doesn't need to hide away or be something he isn't. It hits him the hardest when he sees Kurt at his locker, staring into it intently and pulling out books and obviously re-arranging them.
"Never thought you'd get here did you?" Santana nudges him, now standing by his side.
"Not at all." Dave shakes his head and laughs.
"You know, you never did thank me."
"For starting all this! I got you dancing with Kurt at prom." Santana gestures towards Kurt.
"Thank you, Santana."
"I think you should thank me too." Zoe says coming up behind him. "I feel like my presence in your life over the last few months has helped you grow as a person."
"You've been spending too much time with Rachel."
"Hey! I like her, she's quirky – and she helps me with my hair." Zoe flicks her hair over her shoulder; it's a bright purple colour now thanks to Rachel. "Unless you'd like to replace her and become my personal hairdresser, David?"
"It's fine. I'll let Rachel keep that job."
"What job?" Sam wanders over and stands next to Zoe.
"Nothing" Santana shrugs. "Dave wants to be Zoe's hairdresser."
"You want to be a hairdresser, Dave?" Sam asks confused. "That's... cool?"
"No, damn it. Why am I friends with you people?"
Zoe smiles widely. "Because, you love us. And we love you."
"Okay." Santana holds her hands up. "Don't you start all this touchy, feely bull shit too. I'm going to have to deal with that in Glee Club today too."
"It's seriously scary. You know Puck cried at our last Glee Club summer group?" Sam says, shaking his head.
Dave mumbles a goodbye and ignores the taunts he can hear Santana saying, he is far too focused on getting to Kurt. He lifts his bag onto his shoulder and wraps his arms around Kurt, kissing him on the cheek. He holds his jacket out in one hand in front of Kurt. "I brought this in for you."
"Have you been wearing it?"
Kurt takes it from him, lifting it up to his face to smell it. "Thank you." Kurt turns in his arms. "Walk me to class?"
Dave nods and steps back, holding out his hand for Kurt to take. Kurt looks up and down the corridor and back into Dave's eyes. There's a moment, a flicker of a question but it disappears almost as quickly. He grips onto Dave's hand and doesn't let go until they reach the classroom.
There are so many things he regrets, his behaviour when he wasn't strong enough to be who he was, how he lashed out at everyone who somewhat hinted at who he really was how he wasted so much time hating himself for something beyond his control. He doesn't regret any moment with Kurt though – even the bad, even the kiss in the locker and the harsh looks and shoves in the corridor, they remind of him of before, remind him of everything he never wants to be again. And every time Kurt looks at him and smiles, he'll feel it – that connection, the things only two of them know, the talks and time they put in getting to this place, getting through their past and being together now.
He'll never regret anything about Kurt Hummel.