Kurt knew about the Demons.
Who didn't? It had been almost ten years since a pair of incompetent necromancers had broken the seal between worlds, but they were still here. Still waiting in the shadows. Still spreading terror wherever possible. Still taking people.
At first, the solution was simple. Kill the lot. Keep a few for experimentation. The politicians convinced everyone that it was the only way; that the demons would take over completely if it wasn't done. It was a word of comfort to those who didn't want their loved one's slaughtered, and an anthem for those who hated and feared them no matter who they had been in the past.
But then the worst happened. The thing that everyone had been fearing for years. The Taken were still there. They were somewhere inside of the body. They were still fighting.
When he was younger, Kurt didn't understand the panic. He didn't understand why his dad had placed lamps all over the house, made sure that Kurt always slept with his lights on, and insisted that everyone in the family carry flashlights everywhere. He thought it was all a silly game. And, in retrospect, it was. But that didn't stop his dad from yelling at him when he forgot his flashlight as he walked through the dark hallway to his parents' room one night. It didn't stop his mother from getting killed by a rogue Demon when he was only eight. It didn't stop a Demon from coaxing him with sweet words to "be friends" right after he lost his mother.
He almost gave in to that Demon. He was eight and sad and unable to understand why he would never see his mommy again. The Demon had such wonderful things to say, too: he told Kurt about how much happier he would be, not having to feel pain for his mommy (maybe they could even bring her home), how much better off he would be because the demon would make him normal, how proud his daddy would be that he'd made a new friend. He wanted his mommy back. He wanted to be happy. He wanted his daddy to be proud.
One night, when the Demon left him alone for a while, and his daddy was in a good mood for the first time since his mommy died, Kurt asked him about his new friend. As soon Burt Hummel heard the words "shadow-friend," he spun and dropped the plate he was holding, turning to his beautiful, perfect son-the last piece of his wife he had left-in horror.
He grabbed Kurt by the shoulders roughly and said urgently "Kurt, you haven't let him in, have you? Your friend? He's not... not talking from... inside is he?"
Kurt squirmed uncomfortably, frightened at his daddy's expression. "N-no. He talks from the dark. Daddy you're hurting me!"
"I know, buddy. I'm sorry," Burt said gently, loosening his grip as a wave of relief washed over him. "I want you to do something for me, Kurt, okay?"
"Okay," Kurt said softly. He did something wrong, he knew it. His daddy was disappointed. Just like his shadow-friend said he would be.
"I want you to say goodbye to shadow-friend tonight, got that?"
"No buts," Burt said sternly, struggling to keep his temper in front of his son. How dare that dirty, horrible... thing come anywhere near his son? How dare they try to take Kurt from him, too? Just the though of that wretched creature's words reaching his son's innocent ear made his blood boil. But he couldn't yell at Kurt. He couldn't. It wasn't Kurt's fault. Yelling would only drive him farther away and closer to the creature. "Just do this for me please and I'll... I'll buy you new clothes for your dolls. And more accessories for your tea set. And even those shoes you wanted. What do you say kiddo? That sound good?"
Kurt thought for a moment. He did really want all the stuff his daddy was offering him, but he wanted a friend, too. He didn't know which one he wanted more... he knew shadow-friend might be sad to go and he knew his daddy would be happy to see him playing with the toys...
"Why?" Kurt asked sadly, "he's my friend. No one else wants to be... He said Mommy would come back! Why can't I just be his friend?"
"Because... because he's not nice. I know you think he is," Burt added as Kurt opened his mouth to protest, "I know he's probably told you great things about... about your mom comin' back. But
she-she can't come back, Kurt. And shadow-friend just tells you that so that you'll trust him. Then he'll hurt you. I don't want you to get hurt, Kurt. Not-not after your mom... I just really don't... I don't wanna lose you, too. You and me, that's all we got. So will you do it? Please?"
The look on his daddy's face was enough to convince him that he had to send shadow-friend away. He hoped shadow-friend would understand. After all, he was the one who wanted Kurt's daddy to be proud of him.
When Kurt went into his room later that night, heart heavy with what he had to do, Burt came in to give his son a few words of encouragement.
"All ready for bed, kiddo?" Burt asked as cheerfully as he could through his anxiety. What he really wanted to say was "Are you ready to send that abomination back to Hell where it belongs?" He didn't say that. He knew that the abhorrent creature would twist his words and turn Kurt against him. And he was not going to lose his only child. He was not going to lose his perfect Kurt.
"Yeah," Kurt said heavily. He loved his daddy. He would do anything to make him happy. But why did making his daddy happy have to make him feel so sad?
Burt felt his heart break at the sight of his son's tiny, dejected face. He hated to see Kurt unhappy, and he knew would spend the rest of his life trying to make it up to him. Even if he knew he was doing what was best for him.
"Hey, c'mere," Burt said quietly, as he squatted and opened his arms to his little boy. Kurt wandered over glumly and stepped into his daddy's open arms. "I love you, kid. Never, ever forget that."
Kurt smiled into his daddy's shirt. "I know, Dad. I love you, too."
After a few moments, Burt pulled back, patting Kurt gently on the back and saying "You know what to do, right bud? When shadow-friend talks just... just tell him to go away."
Burt rubbed his face, feeling uncertain. He didn't actually know how to banish a Demon. No one did at that point. They only knew that holy water didn't work, and exorcisms were useless. It was far too little to go on and it made Burt very uneasy. Hell, it made the world very uneasy. But there was hope. He'd heard about people who were strong enough to resist them. He knew it only worked for an unsettling small amount of people, but if there was any eight year old strong enough to resist, it was his Kurt.
"I'm gonna be right outside that door if you need me, okay?" Burt suppressed the desire to take his son into his arms and hide him in the brightest light he could find. That was the worst part. There was nothing he could do to help Kurt. His precious little child had to fight that monstrosity on his own.
Kurt nodded apprehensively, and slid from his daddy's grasp to tuck himself into his covers. Burt pulled the covers up to his chin, kissed him on the forehead with a soft "Be brave, Kurt," and walked wearily from the room.
It wasn't until a few hours later that Kurt was awakened by a soft, coaxing voice issuing from the darkest corner of his room. The Demon immediately began to whisper its sweet, false promises, its voice sweeter and more tantalizing than ever before. It spun its best lies about his mommy coming back, his daddy being happy and proud, and even adding something new about being the most popular boy in the neighborhood. Kurt was almost sucked in, then he remembered what his daddy said before he left.
Be brave, Kurt...
Kurt was brave. Brave like his daddy. Brave for his daddy... and his mommy...
"I can't talk to you anymore," Kurt squeaked as courageously as he could. "You have to go play with someone else now."
There was a short silence in which Kurt thought he saw the shadows around the room darken.
"Why, Kurt?" shadow-friend implored, "don't you like me? Don't you want to be friends?"
Again, Kurt felt the pull of he Demons words. And again he remembered his daddy's voice:
He's not nice... He'll hurt you.
If Daddy says that shadow-friend isn't nice, then he must not be. He's lying. Just like Daddy said. I have to be brave. I have to be brave. I have to be-
"Why doesn't your daddy want you to have a friend, Kurt? Doesn't he want you to be happy?" shadow-friend was trying to plant a seed of doubt in Kurt's mind, but it wasn't working. Kurt knew his daddy was right. He knew his daddy wanted him to be happy. He'd been trying so hard since his mommy died.
"I'll make other friends," Kurt replied, hoping with all his heart that it was true, "and so will you. Just because we can't be friends with each other doesn't mean other people won't be our friends."
This time the room seemed to get colder in the silence. When shadow-friend spoke again, there was no warmth in his voice.
"I don't want other friends, Kurt. I just want you. Do you really think me so replaceable? Is that what your daddy is teaching you? How to be ungrateful and take your friends for granted?"
Kurt shivered. He wasn't trying to hurt shadow-friend. He just wanted to keep his daddy happy. And why was shadow-friend talking about his daddy like that? Daddy loves me , Kurt thought defensively, and he always teaches me right.
"Daddy teaches me to be nice to people who are nice. He says that you're not nice. He says you're just a big liar who's trying to hurt me." As Kurt reported this to the Demon, he half hoped that shadow-friend would prove him wrong, and that he and his daddy would be best friends so Kurt could have both of them and they would be a big family.
Shadow-friend didn't prove his daddy wrong though. Shadow-friend proved his daddy very, very right
The room got colder, the shadows darker, and the air became palpitated with a strange charge. "Your daddy is the liar, Kurt," the Demon said furiously. "He wants to rip us apart. He wants you to have no friends and be unhappy. He wants your mommy to stay dead forever. He thinks you are a freak because you play with dolls. He hates you because you prefer tea parties over sports. He is disgusted by you because you have crushes on boys. He-"
"No, no, NO!" Kurt shouted tearfully, covering his ears. "Daddy loves me. H-he doesn't care about all that stuff. Daddy loves me no matter what."
"No!" the Demon shouted, his voice ringing with cold fury and sending tremors throughout the room. "He doesn't. I'm the one who does not care about those things," the Demon's voice softened persuasively, "I'm the one who can make it all go away. Just let me in, Kurt. All you have to do is relax and you will never have to worry about anything again. I will take care of it for you."
This time there was no pull. The Demon wasn't his friend anymore. Not after he'd said all those terrible lies about his daddy.
"You have to go now," Kurt yelled, his legs pulled tight to his chest in an effort to guard himself from the Demon's wrath, "we're not friends anymore, so you have to go!"
I love you, kid. Never, ever forget that.
The room shook harder as the Demon screamed in frustration. "Who has been here for weeks listening to you whine about how nobody likes you? ME! I have put up with your bitching about your worthless mother and your loathsome father for far too long to get nothing out of it. And now you just throw me out? NO! I shall not have it. So, you ungrateful little bastard, I will have you."
The dark got thicker as, suddenly, Kurt's nightlight went out. Kurt screamed as the shadows closed in on him and began to thrash around in his bed as though he could fight them away. They were drowning him. Seeping into his mouth, nose, and ears. Kurt tried to shout for his daddy, but it was like someone had pressed a pillow over his face.
Burt was banging his fist on the door and half-sobbing Kurt's name as he heard the desperate, stifled sounds coming from inside. What had he done?
Kurt fought harder as he heard the Demon's voice coming from very far away in his head. "I have you now," it whispered maliciously. "So much pure, corruptible skin. So delicious..."
No, no, no, no, NO!
Kurt screamed as loud as he could with the shadows still strangling him. He could feel himself slipping away as though he had been turned to water and was trickling through the Demon's hands.
But I can't... can't go away. No... something here... something important. Kurt was getting very tired from his fight. He just wanted to sleep and let someone else do the work for a while... but he couldn't. There was someone pounding on the door. They wouldn't let him sleep. It reminded him of something though... There was something important he needed to remember. Someone he needed to see. No, he couldn't sleep. His daddy told him to stay... he promised he would...
I don't wanna lose you, too... You and me, that's all we got.
That was it.
His daddy. That's the important thing. He needed to stay for his daddy. His daddy who needed him. His daddy who loved him. His daddy who was pounding wildly at the door, shouting his name and begging the Demon to leave him alone.
Kurt felt the shadows get lighter as he thought of his daddy. He concentrated harder, allowing not only the love, but the care for his daddy to fill him up until there was nothing else. He remembered how he made sure his daddy took his vitamins at night after his mommy died. How he sang his daddy to sleep that night when he found him crying over Mommy. How he and his daddy had laughed together over the raw chicken.
There was an earsplitting scream and Kurt felt himself fly away.
When he opened his eyes, (he hadn't even realized that he'd closed them... not that open or closed made much difference in that dark), he first noticed that the lights were on again. They were very bright lights that hurt his tired eyes. Then he heard a strange sound in his ringing ears... someone was gasping... no sobbing. Someone was sobbing next to him. And, he registered as he became aware of his limbs, they were holding him very tightly. And the sobs were shaking his body... sobs that sounded familiar... and felt familiar the way his heart ached when he heard them.
"Daddy?" Kurt asked weakly. His tongue was heavy. His head was heavy, too. His whole body was heavy. He'd only just woken up, but already he wanted to sleep again.
"Kurt?" Burt answered frantically. "Kurt, buddy, is that you?" When the door finally opened, Burt had found Kurt passed out on the bed, his limbs splayed at odd angles, and feared the worst. After gathering every light in the house and placing it in his bedroom, he brought Kurt in there and prayed to every god that was known that his son's eyes would still be blue when he woke up.
"I told him to go away," Kurt said gently, "Just like you said, daddy. He got really mad, but I fought him off." He sat up and looked at his daddy, pride glowing dimly in his tiny features.
Burt gave a watery smile. That sounded like Kurt; always making sure his daddy knew when he succeeded. Burt looked into his sons big, perfect blue eyes to reassure himself. "That's great, kid," he said thickly, "I am so proud of you. And your mom would be... is proud, too." He clutched Kurt to his chest, smiling again when he felt Kurt grip him with his tiny hands. "I love you so much, Kurt. My big, brave Kurt."
He would most definitely be buying his son those shoes, and designer clothes for his dolls. Maybe he would even get him a whole new tea set... but he'd buy Kurt a bike, too.