A/N: This story is still a WIP but it deals with stuff that is about to unfold on the show so I'm posting the first chapter right away. It's a fic particularly dear to me, so even if you shouldn't expect an update soon, rest assured that I will most definitely continue this!
"I believe that if there's any kind of God, it wouldn't be in any of us, not you or me, but just this little space in between. If there's any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt."
Chapter One: Aloud
The bedroom is in that uncertain, twilight darkness. For now, only the computer screen is illuminated, bathing the teen's face is a bluish glow. The expression on said face grows more and more solemn as he goes over the endless list of posts. « Last as long as their Facebook status. I was right." Dave thinks. His finger rolls over the mouse, making the inept updates and random comments fly on the screen. No traces can be found of their recent success. No more "Titans FTW!", "Woot! Champions 4ever!" or other equally fast-spelled congratulations.
Granted, it's not so recent. Actually, quite some time has passed since their magnificent performance at the championship game. As expected, the win made all of them school royalty and stars (and a few of them douches but that's another story). That, Dave had counted on it. What came as a surprise, what's still surprising him, is the feedback from the halftime show. Not that anybody was suicidal enough to come up to him and say they liked his dancing… But he had caught a few glances of approbation here and there, mainly from those artsy kids he bullied from time to time…
An embedded YouTube video finally catches his eyes, at the bottom of the news feed. Took him a while to find it.
"Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson shared a link."
"Kick-ass version of Thriller we did at the championship game!"
He hesitates a few seconds before clicking the play button, an unsettling mix of shame and eagerness rising at the back of his mind while doing it.
The screen darkens and the show begins. Sound and image are top quality, surprising for an amateur video, and he smiles more and more as he watches his zombified friends dance.
A knock on his door nearly makes him jump out of his skin. "Yeah!" he hollers. One swift click to pause and minimize the revealing video and he spins on his chair. His father stands in the doorway. Concern and doubt color his face, a recurring expression for the older Karofsky lately. Also recurring is the wave of guilt it causes in his son.
Dave looks away but can't help noticing his dad's hand still on the handle, like a sign of unwillingness to fully enter his son's dark room (or world).
"What do you want, Dad?" Dave asks. His tone is icy, more than his intentions. He makes a vague inviting gesture, as to atone for the harsh question.
Paul sits slowly on the bed and his hands start to slide repeatedly on his thighs. His eyes make a full scan of Dave's bedroom as if a clue could be found among the furniture or discarded clothes. Nothing seems to spark his interest so he moves his gaze back on the now fidgety young man in front of him, who's intently averting said gaze.
"I want to tell you a few important things, David." Paul starts tentatively. Dave licks his lips. His mouth is drying rapidly under the stress of his father's stare. He sighs but does no more to prevent the rest of the speech.
"Look, first you need to know that I'm very proud of you. Especially these past months. Your whole behavior has improved. And I'm proud of your performances, both in your classes and outside of them. I'm also really pleased you were open enough to give Glee club a try. It seemed like it made you happy…" Paul stops there. Dave doesn't need to ask why.
He felt his cheek burn more and more upon hearing each kind word his dad said. Now his head is turned as far away from the praises as possible. Whatever joy he could be feeling is obliterated by the shame and remorse. Certainly not the reaction awaited by his father. Even though there are no words said at the present, Dave can hear the interrogations raised by his current attitude.
But how can he answer them, when he can't even define the emotions that wreak havoc in his mind every day? The very cause of the questions that roam around his brain? Actually, he can define the emotions but they won't merge into a reasonable state of mind.
Joy: inexpressible, simply bursting every now and then at the memory of the show.
Pride: mixed with hope, pops out every time he crosses path with Mr. Schue, who never fails to give him an encouraging smile. He's not letting him forget his positive comment.
Shame: a nauseating wave that crashes into him at every corner or so it seems. Whenever "gay", "Kurt" or "bully" is brought up. Or any other word connected to any of his past deeds basically.
Remorse: a bitter taste, and a long-lasting one. It's in his mouth pretty much every day; the price to pay for all those actions. Doesn't matter that he did the whole Bullywhips endeavor. Doesn't matter that he asked for forgiveness. Atonement can't wash it away.
"Son, you all right?" The words penetrate the layers of reflections and reach his ears, delayed.
"No, Dad, I'm not." Dave blurts out. Forget the filter, the censorship, the walls he carefully built around himself. He closes his eyes, his face scrunches under the effort he puts into pressing his eyelids together. It reminds him of this childish belief. If you wish for it and really don't look, then when you open your eyes, it'll be true. So maybe he won't be so messed up. Maybe he won't have screwed up Kurt, himself, his life, so many others' as well. But it never happens. When he lets go, all he sees are blind spots and his shaking hands on his knees. It's all as before.
"I don't know what I'm supposed to do, Dad." he whispers. Without looking up, he knows his father is now next to him, hovering, a guardian.
"… You're not supposed to do anything. You just.. do what you want. What makes you a better, happier person…And you know what else?" Paul says softly.
Dave feels a strong hand suddenly on his back, reaching up to grip his shoulder and pulling him against his dad's side. "What?" Dave asks back, his voice barely audible.
"Nothing you do wrong is gonna ruin your life. I know it feels like that now, with senior year coming around, but high school is really just a blip in your life. It won't matter in 10, 20 years. And it won't define who you are, so there's no need to torture yourself. And whatever's going on, you can tell me and I'll try to help, as much as I can."
One last comforting pressure from the awkward sideways hug and his dad lets him go. With this movement, Dave feels the opportunity slipping away, as if it's attached to his father and therefore leaving his room as well. The uplifting speech shed a beam of light on him. However tenuous, he wants to hold on to it. Desperately.
He tears his eyes away from the floor, finally looking at his dad who's already at the threshold, already on his way out.
It's like a dozen needles are intertwined in his throat. Somehow, the necessary words worm their way around them and come out.
Immediately, his mouth, throat, entire respiratory system clams up. His dad stops, turns around. The following seconds dilute into minutes, eternities. Their eyes lock. Surprise and only surprise is obvious in Paul's, while Dave's slowly fill with contained tears.
Still temporarily mute, Dave nods, making the testament of his vulnerability dangerously close to spilling on his cheeks.
"Okay, well…" the older man continues. He breathes in and out deeply, processing the news. "Right. … Let's see. Okay. So, about your mom, you want me to tell her? Or you want to do it your…"
The levees break then. Incredulous sobs wreck Dave's body and he lunges forward, landing into sympathetic arms and interrupting his father.
The prolonged, crushing hug that follows literally accomplishes a miracle. It melts away the fear, and for the first time in years, Dave feels… safe.
The summary quote is from Samuel Beckett. The introduction one is from Before Sunrise, it prompted this idea so I had to put it somewhere.