How Glory Goes
Kurt was hysterical by the time the paramedics reached him. Dave was neither moving nor making any sound. When the word "hospital" penetrated Kurt's head fog, he hunched protectively over Dave, screaming "NO!" and "GET AWAY!" over and over, until one of the EMTs distracted him and Officer Beiste got close enough to grab him from behind and pull him back. The powerful woman held him still while another EMT injected him with a sedative. Staring uncomprehendingly as they laid Dave on a stretcher, he muttered "I want to wake up now" and collapsed.
The beep... beep... beep... grew increasingly annoying as Kurt sluggishly regained consciousness. Scanning the hospital room, he pinpointed the source of the noise – a heart monitor hooked up to the patient in the next bed. Officer Beiste was sitting by the door, reading a romance novel and dabbing her eyes occasionally, completely ignoring the orderlies and nurses who bustled back and forth in the corridor. Some sixth sense, or maybe it was just police instinct, made her look up.
"Mr. Hummel?" Her voice was its usual low pitch as she came towards him, but much softer than he'd heard it the previous times.
"Yes?" Kurt blinked. "How–?"
"One of the doctors recognized you."
"I don't know why a successful actor like yourself was out prostituting himself last night, but we'll get into that later. Right now I need you to tell me the name of the man you were with."
"His name is David Karofsky. How is he?"
She scribbled the name down. "Do you know if Mr. Karofsky has family in the area?"
"No, his family lives in Ohio somewhere. Why?" As in: Why is she asking about Dave's family? Why won't she answer my question? Kurt was torn between anger and anxiety.
beep... beep... beep...
"How about the other man, the one who attacked you?" She checked her notebook. "Bradley Ellis. Did you know him?
"I tend not to socialize with people who want to rape and kill me!" he snapped, patience shredded. "Is Dave alright?"
"Mr. Hummel, I'm sorry to"
Kurt felt the world shutting down.
"have to tell you that"
beep... beep... beep...
It wasn't until the Karofsky family's pastor contacted Dave's priest in New York about arrangements that his parents learned Dave was gay. They didn't know what to do with that information, except file it away with the rest of their anger and grief and regrets. Only Finn, who had known Dave since junior high, made the trek to Ohio for the funeral. Whether rightly or wrongly, Kurt figured he wouldn't be welcome. Instead, he tried to write Mr. and Mrs. Karofsky, to let them know their son had been respected and loved, that he was a loyal and generous friend, a man who lived kindly and died bravely. But when he got to the part of the letter explaining that it was Kurt's fault Dave was gone, that he had been the killer's target and Dave died saving him, that Dave would never have been anywhere near that alley if not for Kurt, that's when Kurt broke down – on the first draft, and the second, and the third, before finally giving up the letter entirely. He sent flowers anonymously and made a sizable donation to Dignity U.S.A. in Dave's name.
Mercedes tracked him down through his agent before the evening news even went to commercial. She sat by him and held his right hand during the memorial service at Dave's church, while Emma held his left. The black diva's rendition of 'Amazing Grace' was transcendent, an experience no one at that service would ever forget.
Filing out of the little church with the rest, Kurt was accosted by a woman dressed like Amelia Earhart, complete with 1930s pilot's hat and goggles. His eyes were a little misty, but still he instantly recognized Sue Sylvester. She towered over them all.
"I came to give you this." She held out a small package. Kurt took it numbly. Sue looked him over thoughtfully and while her face was stony, there was no sneer in her voice when she said, "I'm sorry about your friend. There'll be a place for you in my organization when you're ready."
Kurt's phone was inside the packet, along with his wallet, intact except for the money. There was also a letter, written by someone with the penmanship of a six-year old.
Lauren and I were sorry to hear about your friend. Murder blows! Here's your stuff back. We kept the cash for our project, smuggling endangered species to Mistress Sue's private nature reserve. Right now we're doing a rush job on Amur Leopards from Russia, 'cuz they're, like, practically extinct, which totally sucks. And like they say, I'd rather burn something down than bitch and moan in the dark.** Come to think of it, I don't know what that means. Anyway, it was nice meeting you and maybe we'll see you around the club or something.
P.S. - Lauren says she's sorry about busting your head open. Shit happens.
P.P.S. - We named the newest leopard cub 'Dave'. Let me know if you want to visit him."
Kurt tucked the letter in his wallet. Yeah, he forgave them. He forgave everyone, everyone but himself.
"A-a-a-nd ... action!"
Kurt was fine, everything was fine. He was back at work and he was... managing. They'd finished the 'Vaughn's former pimp tries to blackmail him' scene, and now he just had to hold it together through the 'Vaughn confesses his shameful past to his comatose husband' scene. And then he could go home and not eat and not sleep and not answer his door or his phone.
The cameras were rolling. He perched on the edge of the fake hospital bed and took his TV husband's hand. Kurt's eyes glistened as he spoke in a near-whisper.
"I'm so sorry, August, I'm so sorry I lied to you." Kurt paused because it was hard to breathe. The set reminded him too much of the real hospital, which reminded him of the alley and all that came before.
And he wasn't fine.
And he wasn't managing.
And he knew this grey, empty feeling, this deadness inside, was no more nor less than what he deserved.
The next line in the script was 'Troy isn't my ex-boyfriend' but instead Kurt's eyes unfocused and he said in his own voice, "I miss you." Tears began to roll quietly down his cheeks. "I can't tell you how my heart hurts," his throat was tight, voice like ash, "knowing that it's all my fault." None of this was in the script, but he couldn't stop. Kurt was starting to cry. "P-please, please don't hate me!"
He dissolved in a sobbing, sniveling mess. Insensible to the world, he bent forward and buried his head in his 'husband's' lap and cried out a bottomless sorrow. And he didn't stop, even after Shelby yelled, "Cut! That was perfect."
Kurt sighed heavily as he unlocked his apartment door. He actually felt a little better after his blubber-fest. Shelby said it was fine that he went off-script, because he'd acted the hell out of the scene. Yeah, acted. Sure.
And now he was home. Alone. In his grey little bubble with his grey little thoughts. No one around to disappoint.
She was standing in his bedroom doorway.
"Brittany! Um, w-what are you doing here? In my apartment. Wearing my Orvis slippers."
He never did leave a note for her at the CD register in the Virgin Megastore, telling her he had failed. But Brittany apparently held no grudges. She just hugged him tightly, oblivious to his shock.
"Oh, I picked the locks. And I guess you forgot to set your trip-wire this morning, because I didn't find it. But I saw these super soft bootie-slippers in your closet and they just looked so comfy, I had to try them on." She took a few steps and twirled around. "It's like walking on newborn lambs!"
Kurt smiled (the first real one in three days). "I mean why are you here?"
She stopped twisting and grew serious. "Lord Tubbington sent me. He has a message for you from the spirit world."
He stared at her in fear and wonder. But mostly fear.
"I didn't know what he wanted at first. He kept yowling and Santana swore he was just horny, but I knew that was impossible." Her voice dropped conspiratorially low, "Lord Tubbington doesn't have all his boy parts anymore. So finally I figured out he wanted the Ouija board and sure enough, there was a message." She held out a piece of paper to him and then stood by, beaming at her own cleverness and sneaking longing glances at the slippers on her feet.
Kurt didn't want to take the paper, but he did. Didn't want to read it, but after sucking in a deep breath and exhaling slowly, he unfolded it.
And stared at the print.
"I don't understand."
Brittany shrugged. "That was the message."
They sipped cocoa and talked for the rest of the afternoon, mostly about the strange chain of events that led Brittany to discover Lord Tubbington's extraordinary psychic abilities. Kurt was reluctant to say goodbye to the winsome blonde, knowing that all the warmth and color now in the apartment would depart with her. But eventually night fell. Owing to some champion pouting, Brittany succeeded in gaining custody of Kurt's slippers and after one last affectionate hug, she skipped away happy.
Kurt had neither the energy to cook nor the appetite to call for delivery. Instead he combed his memory and his address book for every guy named John he'd ever known, wracking his brain to figure out what possible connection the spirits were trying to make. But those numbers after the name meant nothing to him.
He finally stopped when the brain-wracking brought on a roaring headache. He took some aspirin and laid down.
And sat up. Google?
Nothing to lose. He opened a new browser window and ran a search. A series of names popped up – John Brocket, died 1513; John Knox, born 1513; John Ramsey, died 1513 and so on. He scanned further down the page.
Kurt was an avowed atheist. He'd never read the Gospels and didn't even own a bible. Why would the spirits –? No! Not 'the spirits', just one spirit. One devout spirit.
Swallowing down the lump in his throat, Kurt clicked on the link.
"Greater love hath no man that this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
Kurt stared at the screen. He read the words out loud slowly, trying to absorb them. Then he moved to look out his window, letting images float past as he gazed into the silent night. For the first time in weeks, instead of a body torn and bloody, he saw a picture-perfect iris bouquet. Instead of screams and unholy clicking noises, he heard a deep rumbling laugh and a smooth baritone singing Sinatra. He thought of a sexy-shy smile and a desperate, burning kiss, of trusting eyes watching him disrobe by candlelight and hands mirrored in loving caress.
The tears welled up, but they were not unhappy tears. "Thank you, Dave," he whispered.
He let himself cry a little bit longer as he sat by the window. Then he got up with a light sigh, washed his face, did his evening moisturizing routine and climbed into bed.
For the first time in weeks, Kurt fell asleep peacefully, unafraid of the dreams to come.
** Puck is butchering the saying: Better to light a candle than curse the darkness
I'm sure a lot of people wanted Dave to live and for there to be a 'happily ever after' for Kurtofsky. But don't you know in your heart that this is the true and honest ending to Kurt's journey of the night. By setting out to save Dave, he inadvertently caused his death, because Dave wouldn't have been anywhere near psycho Brad if not for Kurt's efforts to warn him. Kurt was the reason the prophesy came true. Because if there's one thing I didn't want this story to be, it was predictable.
Thank you for taking this crazy journey with Kurt and me. Please leave a review if you get a chance. I still kick around the idea of writing a Kurtbastian sequel set in the same AU, since I love that pairing, but so far no plot inspiration has come. So, to be continued…. perhaps? – Ella