Title: When The Boy Broke
Word count: 3,006
Summary: It's not like the news travels fast, but it does travel, and when it does, the silence conveys so much more because sometimes, there just aren't words. And sometimes, words are found and it leads to the unveiling of secrets.
Warnings/Spoilers: Character death via suicide (not Kurt or Blaine!) which leads to reflections and angst and stuff.
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Glee, FOX, Ryan Murphy or anything else related to the Glee universe.
When Mr Schue pulls him aside in the corridor, Kurt waves Rachel off to her next class and steps into the empty classroom. He adjusts the strap of his bag and proceeds to prompt his Glee teacher into spitting out the words he seems to be struggling in saying.
"The school… The teachers were informed a student from another school committed suicide two nights ago," Schue says, glancing down at his feet before looking up at Kurt again.
Kurt thinks his heart would have dropped through the floor if he hadn't seen Blaine this morning. Blaine's okay. Blaine's okay and his father is okay and it was just some kid at another school.
"I'm not sure I'm understanding?" he says politely, shoving his fingers into the pockets of his skinny jeans.
"The student," Schue pauses and Kurt wants to roll his eyes because it's so dramatic, like those game shows on TV where they cut to a five-minute commercial break before announcing if the person got the question right or wrong, "was Dave Karofsky, Kurt."
His heart might not have dropped through the floor, but it did, at the very least, drop to the floor.
"But…he…I…" He shakes his head, tries to collect his thoughts and suddenly it makes sense why Schue was struggling. "I thought he was happier at his new school."
Schue shrugs. He doesn't have the answers. He only has the words that Emma had passed onto him this morning after a meeting she had with Figgins.
"I…" Kurt touches his tongue to the roof of his mouth. "I need to find Blaine, if that's alright."
His teacher nods, lets him leave the room. He wobbles down the corridors in a bit of a daze, vaguely aware that there are a few students loitering in the halls who will get into trouble if Coach Sue catches them. He blinks for a moment, recognises that he's in the Maths corridor and Blaine currently has Geography, and turns to his left, meandering down empty hallways where the linoleum floor is stained with slushie dye. A patch of red near a doorway makes him feel sick and he wonders what Karofsky, Dave, did to himself. Was it messy? Was it neat? Did he ever tell his parents he was gay?
He finds room 303, knocks on the door and gazes blankly at Mr Hamilton who is quietly calling his name and asking why Kurt is there.
Kurt focuses on the teacher and his mouth barely moves, a whisper of Blaine's name as he clutches the strap of his bag.
Hamilton waves at Blaine who's been halfway out of his seat since he saw Kurt's vacant eyes in the glass of the door. A few of the students in his class rumble with complaints but Hamilton hushes them and shoos Blaine out the door, closing it to give them some privacy and turn back to teaching his class about weather systems.
"What's wrong?" Blaine says immediately, catching the strap of Kurt's bag and shifting it to his own shoulder. Kurt's eyes are blank and his hands are shaking and Blaine leads him down the hallway until they're out a side door and in one of the courtyards that snake around the school in an endless loop. He puts Kurt's bag on the ground, mindful of any dirty patches and tugs Kurt onto the bench beside him, his heart pounding. Was it Burt? Was it Carole? Was Blaine's brother okay?
Blaine grasps Kurt's hands in his, feels how much they're trembling and how cold they are. "Kurt…look at me, talk to me. What's going on?"
Kurt's eyes drift and catch Blaine's. His mind feels hazy and fuzzy and he doesn't want to cry, he doesn't want to rage and throw things, he doesn't want to do much of anything. His throat works and he struggles to form the words that Schue had told him less than ten minutes ago.
"Dave's dead," he whispers, his forehead creasing because he doesn't understand it. He'd seen Dave only a few months ago and he'd been so happy and almost proud, not the haunted, bullying jock of McKinley's halls.
"Dave? Karofsky Dave?" Blaine clarifies and Kurt is struggling to put sentences together so he nods. Blaine wraps his arms around Kurt, pressing their bodies together. He didn't really know him and he'd been glad when Karofsky had transferred over the summer break to a different school but he knows that it'll hit Kurt hard because there's so many things unsaid, things that never can be said.
"What happened?" Blaine asks, because part of him decides it's only natural and the other part is desperately curious. It's an innate human thing, he thinks, to want to know how another has passed.
"Suicide," Kurt mumbles and Blaine's breath catches in his throat. A different world of things unsaid start to blossom in his mind: how they could have done more, or supported him better, or tried to understand. Clearly Karofsky was in pain and they hadn't been there.
Blaine falls into a stunned, disbelieving silence much like Kurt's, cradling Kurt's body to his chest and yet feeling numb and icy down his spine. He's not sure how long they sit there, more words going unsaid but the desperate need for touch and companionship making neither willing to pull away.
It's Kurt who breaks the silence first.
"I thought about it, you know," he confesses, staring at a crack in the pavement and wondering how old the concrete is. "Before I met you. It felt like so much, too much, and I was ready to throw it in. I'd decided that if Dad didn't wake from his coma, I wasn't going to see Sectionals. It was like a bargain. Take two or let us both live."
Blaine's not sure if he's still breathing or his heart is still beating, but he supposes he must be because there aren't any warning bells, that pulsing pain that courses through your chest when it all just stops. And he'd know. He was medically dead for two minutes after the Sadie Hawkins attack.
"And then Dad woke up and I was so glad, and at the same time, I hated him," Kurt continues, his voice hushed like they're in a church. "My Dad woke up and I couldn't do anything. I wanted to escape so bad. I wanted an out. And I thought I had it. It had been a week. The doctors had given up. I'd basically decided that this was it, this was the end of my time, because I couldn't live without my father. I couldn't live with the bullying and the loneliness and losing my father on top of it." He breathes and it rattles in his throat, the sobs carefully being kept at bay. "And then he fucking woke up and I wanted to laugh and never let him go, but then I also wished I'd turned off the life support during the week and that would have been my excuse to give up."
They can't physically get any closer unless they're having sex, stripped naked and exposed and one buried within the other. Yet for all the bare skin that's been shown in recent months, Kurt has never revealed this particular secret, this vulnerability that's festered for over eighteen months. Blaine's clinging because it's all he knows how to do, because suddenly he's terrified of losing Kurt the way that Karofsky has died.
"And what gives him the right?" Kurt hisses, his fingers balling into fists in his lap. "He tormented me for fucking years and he gets his out, he gets his escape at a normal senior year and he never felt the sting of a locker slam or the squish of food in the dumpsters or the humiliation of daily slushies and slurs. He packs up and leaves and now he just quits?"
Blaine, to himself, tends to agree. He'd never admit it out loud. He knows stories about people who struggle for years with their sexuality. They get married and have children and finally it all is shown. Sometimes it's okay. Sometimes it's not. But knowing that you're going against the norm is never easy, and keeping it to yourself makes the sickness within yourself grow. Blaine knows that. He was twelve when he realised he was attracted to boys rather than girls, but it still took him years to finally say the words aloud to the people that sheltered him from the elements and fed and clothed him.
Kurt has run out of words and his hands are back to shaking in his lap. Blaine touches one, lets their fingers lace together and assures himself that Kurt's here and real and it's okay, he didn't lose Kurt.
"Maybe it's a teenage thing," he says finally, his voice vibrating in his chest as Kurt leans into his shoulder. "Or maybe it's just a gay teenage thing. We just want somewhere else to go. We just want to be free. Anything has to be better than this."
Kurt chews his lip and thinks it over. "But he never had it that bad. You nearly died and you're still here. He assaulted me and I'm still here."
"Maybe because we have each other, or because we have better support, or because we're stronger," Blaine murmurs and then shrugs. "I don't know his reasons. I only know how you or I have felt and not every situation is the same."
Kurt glances down to where their hands are joined, pale mixed with tan. "How have you felt?"
Blaine sighs and looks at a tree, admiring its bark and trying to ignore the words that escape his mouth. "I've come pretty close," he admits and he can see Kurt tilting his head up to stare at him. "After I got discharged, after I had to throw away my year because I lost so much school going through rehab so I could walk again, I became so overwhelmed. I hated myself. I hated who I was and I blamed myself for the attack. If I wasn't gay, it wouldn't have happened. It had to be my fault, my head told me."
His eyes fall and he's looking down at where Kurt's thumb is brushing over the skin between his thumb and index finger. "Mom and Dad went out one day to a luncheon and Troy had gone to see friends for a Playstation tournament and I…" He hasn't told this story in years and even though he loves Kurt, there are still parts that he hadn't wanted to ever share. "I stumbled into the kitchen and grabbed one of the knives. I texted Troy and curled up in my bed and cried silent tears as I tried to gather up the courage to do it."
Kurt hadn't come that close. He'd turned over the idea in his head and he'd made bargains and deals and vague, unfinished plans, but he hadn't actually sat there and held the end of his life in his hands. He marvelled at the power.
"It turned out, Troy wasn't that far away and he was home within ten minutes," Blaine says and feels his gut twisting at the memories in his mind, like an ancient video reel that only he could see. "He had to coax me to put the knife on the floor so I wouldn't hurt him or anything if he got too close. When I finally dropped it there, he kicked it away, out of my bedroom door and climbed into bed with me and didn't let me go until our parents got home."
It makes sense to Kurt now why Troy goes to OSU and visits Blaine frequently. The relationship Blaine has with his parents isn't as good as the one Kurt has with his father, but they accept him and they accept Kurt and have dealt with their old concern for his safety because they know they can't protect him from himself when he's a young adult. Swaddling him in bubble wrap and blankets won't stop him from being gay or scraping his knee. They learned that the hard way after a doctor had informed them of the fact his heart had stopped for 138 seconds.
"I'm not sure if Troy ever told mom and dad," Blaine muses and presses his cheek against the top of Kurt's hair. It's an affectionate gesture, one Blaine does a lot, but Kurt always wants to push him off and point at his carefully volumised hair. It doesn't feel like the time to ease him away though. "I wonder if all teens have been there and felt that way, or if it's just the gay ones."
Kurt doesn't know, but he wonders if others did know, if they'd be just as willing to give up. There's a whole world of people who understand and want to help and suddenly he's filled with guilt that he hadn't reached out to Dave better. He stiffens in Blaine's arms and Blaine's there with soothing touches and soft words, pulling him away from the loathing that is burning through his blood because he can't help feeling he just should have done something, anything.
Blaine clutches him closer and presses a soft kiss to his temple, lingering for a moment. Kurt can feel the warmth of Blaine's lips, the soft breath escaping against his skin and he wishes Dave had had the chance to understand love, to experience it returned and hadn't just given up. He curls his body into Blaine's, a tiny ball where his butt is on one side of Blaine's thighs and his feet are on the other and he's snuggled up as close as he can get.
He can hear Blaine's heart, steady and rhythmic in his chest, and occasionally a quiet, squelchy sort of gurgle that echoes from Blaine's stomach.
"I'm glad I have you," he says into the quiet, thinking back on how many times Blaine's love has warmed his soul.
Blaine wiggles him closer, if that's even possible, and he feels Blaine's arms, strong and secure surrounding him and knows that he's safe, he's protected, he's loved. "You'll have me forever if that's what you want."
Kurt looks up, blinking Blaine's face into a blurry focus at how close they are. He goes a little cross-eyed trying to stare at Blaine's lips. "I said to you I was never saying goodbye to you."
Blaine's lips cover Kurt's, soft and chaste. "I'm never going anywhere."
The silence falls again, like a veil the surrounds them and traps them in the moment. They lose themselves in wandering thoughts of what ifs and maybes and wonder what life would have been like if Troy had been at a different friend's house, or Burt had died. Would they have ended up like Dave?
It's impossible to know, of course.
Still, the thoughts coil through their minds and Kurt squeezes his arms around Blaine, a silent thank you. Blaine returns the gesture and there they sat until the bell rang for the end of class. Kurt can't find it in him to care that he missed French and Blaine certainly isn't that fussed about missing a class on the weather. It's an effort to drag down the hallways and resume classes, knowing that there's only so much time they could spend together until lunch, or Glee, or school is over for the day.
Kurt's classroom is first and Blaine tugs his hand until he turns and looks back at Blaine.
"I love you, okay?" Blaine asks, and there's a hint of anxiety lurking in his eyes.
"I love you too," Kurt assures, kissing him quickly and trying to ignore a few of the faces that are looking at them. He doesn't care anymore. Dave's no longer here at McKinley, Dave's no longer anywhere but lying in a cold body fridge somewhere, and maybe it's necessary for Kurt to stand a little straighter, put his head a little higher. Whatever made Dave give up has to indicate that Kurt needs to stand stronger as a memory, as a reminder, as a beacon that he'll overcome anything and be okay. The glares can come and the slushies can resume but he can't give up, because he has Blaine, and he needs Blaine, and Blaine needs him, and he needs to prove that it's possible to survive Lima, Ohio.
"I'll see you at lunch," Blaine whispers, completely unaware of the minor revelation Kurt just had about increasing his confidence.
Kurt nods, squeezing Blaine's hand and giving him a smile, a real, genuine smile that he doesn't often give to anyone else but Blaine. Blaine smiles back and drifts away, a shiny, gelled head bobbing among a sea of students.
The rest of the day is honestly a blur and a mess and Kurt doesn't care about his lack of focus. At lunch, Blaine quietly informs the rest of the Glee club, who start their own train of reactions. At Glee club, the mood is subdued and no one feels like singing, not even Rachel, and Schue lets them go early because they're clearly not in much of a mindset to sing today.
Kurt finds himself curled on his bed, his gaze meeting Blaine's. They aren't naked, they're barely in any less clothes that they were at school – Kurt had only discarded his coat and Blaine his hoodie and obviously their shoes – but somehow it feels like there aren't any barriers anymore, they've broken a wall neither knew the other had and finally, finally they're coming together and whole within themselves.
"I love you," Kurt says, his voice reverent as his fingers brush against the skin of Blaine's neck.
"Love you too," Blaine replies, his arm over Kurt's hip and pulling them closer.
There's no need for sex or further words. The silence just is and it isn't filled with grief or guilt, anger or denial. It just is and words just aren't relevant.
A/N: I was in a dark place tonight, a place where Kurt and Blaine and Dave have been, and was wandering the GAM and while this doesn't fill a prompt, it just sort of developed and wouldn't let me go. It doesn't matter that it's after 6am and I have to be up and heading to a birthday in under four hours. I just needed to write it. It leaves me wondering if writing will always be my saviour to comfort me on a lonely, depressed night, or if one night I'll lose the scattered shards of sanity I have left.
Playing with words, tense and description in this one. I hope it worked. It's a one-shot only so no demands for more, okay? xo