Disclaimer: I don't own Glee or any of its characters. I also don't know how any of the auditioning processes for major performing arts schools operate, so this fic consists entirely of guesswork. I apologize if any of it seems unbelievable.
More than Halfway
Somehow Kurt was able to make out the stern, yet inquisitive voice that resounded in the large auditorium despite the heavy, all-encompassing sound of the blood pounding in his ears. His eyes were focused on the three faces staring back at him with a mixture of expectancy and "oh, I hope this child doesn't throw up on the stage; we have more auditions after this." But Kurt didn't perceive the barely contained looks of impatience from where he stood from the stage—and it had nothing to do with the lights shining down upon him, slightly obscuring his vision, but the current task of remembering how exactly his lungs functioned so he wouldn't pass out.
He was in way over his head.
What were the chances, even after becoming a finalist, that he would get into NYADA? All around the United States, there were one-thousand finalists and only two hundred would get in. There were at least twenty finalists in Ohio and only four would be accepted. That would mean he only had a twenty percent chance of getting in himself.
"Mr. Hummel?" The man with the—literally—long face, which seemed to be accentuated by his frown lines, asked once more. Kurt swallowed the lump in his throat, still finding himself unable to say anything, let alone the lyrics to the song he practiced what seemed like a thousand times the past two months—a song from his favorite musical, which he had seen twice since its first National Tour in 2005.
Kurt thought of Rachel who already completed her audition and was now standing outside in the lobby with her dads, as well as his dad, Finn, and Carole.
Although Kurt couldn't hear Rachel's rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade" through the thick double doors—and the fact that she returned to her fathers' arms, entire body trembling with nerves—he still knew without a doubt, from simply being in Glee Club for nearly three years, that she had blown them away.
But him...? Jesus. What would they see in him that they couldn't find anywhere else in the world, or have at their school already? How long has he been standing up here? He probably looked ridiculous right now, dressed down (for him, at least) in his simple burgundy sweater, white button up and plain black tie. He should just quit now before embarrassing himself further.
"Mr. Hummel, are you feeling all right?" One of the other judges spoke up. It was a somewhat kinder-faced, but still rather old woman, who asked him this question. If Kurt didn't know any better, he'd say she was used to seeing nervous contenders auditioning before her.
Kurt wasn't nervous, however, but terrified beyond belief. He thought of his dad who was so, so proud of him when he received his NYADA letter, who, like him, wanted nothing but the best for him and for him to achieve his dreams. What would happen, after all his hard work with glee club, attempting and failing to achieve Senior Class Presidency, and maintaining his nearly perfect grades, if he didn't make it?
"Mr. Hummel, you really don't look well." The woman pointed out, as if what he was feeling on the inside was rainbows and butterflies compared to his outsides. "Do you need to sit down for a moment?"
"I..." The syllable he uttered was unnaturally high, even compared to what he was used to. He was pretty sure he was going to faint if he stayed where he was at.
"I think I need some fresh air," Kurt stated plainly. "Can..." He pointed at the one of the side exits opposite of the stage. "I mean... May I?" The judges glanced at each other for a moment. The woman gave the two elderly gentlemen on either side of her a convincing look. The sullen-looking man rolled his eyes slightly before waving a dismissive hand, and the other man, who had a round belly and white, balding hair with a matching beard was already standing, making his way up the aisle in a manner indicating he had a full bladder.
"You have five minutes." Kurt managed to catch the gentle smile on her face before he dragged his feet, which felt as though they had been reduced to a jello-like substance, down the steps and out the side exit.
As soon as Kurt made his way outside, heavy door shutting behind him, his hands automatically found their way to his knees. He shut his eyes against the prickling of the tears beginning to form. He almost wished that he went into the lobby as nothing sounded better than a hug from his dad. But that's what his tears reminded him of: The fact that he was still just a little boy who would never accomplish anything for himself—who would always need to hold his daddy's hand.
"Kurt?" Kurt looked up, trying to find the source of the voice. The voice was calming and familiar. A voice that he had heard many times over the phone the past couple of weeks that was now no more than a few feet away from him, voicing concern. Kurt was sniffling where he stood and blinking rapidly to clear his blurry vision.
"David?" Kurt breathed the name in confusion. It took Kurt a moment—a moment used to take in the boy wearing the blue and white, short sleeve button up—to try to understand why Dave Karofsky was at Ohio State University—where the NYADA auditions were being held for the finalists in Ohio—of all places. But that was when Kurt remembered that he told Dave about his upcoming audition just last week, and text him as well as his other friends this morning to wish him luck at his audition.
"What... What are you doing here?" Kurt frowned. It looked as though Dave was walking in the direction of the parking lot when he found him. Dave seemed to be confused as well.
"I was um..." Dave scratched the back of his head, looking somewhat embarrassed. He laughed softly, which only confirmed Kurt's suspicion that he was embarrassed. "I almost thought I wasn't going to make it."
"Make it for what? It's not like you could watch me perform. It's a closed audition."
"Yeah... Yeah, I figured. I just... Wanted to wish you good luck before your big performance."
"You..." Kurt narrowed his eyes. "You seriously drove almost two hours so you could wish me 'good luck'? Who are you?" Kurt laughed, not knowing whether he should be flattered or incredulous. He couldn't help feeling both.
"Well, I got your text this morning saying that you were leaving. But I woke up late and when I tried to call you, but you didn't respond so..." What Dave didn't know was that Kurt had to put his phone ringer on silent so he wouldn't be interrupted as he listened to his audition song, on repeat, all the way to Columbus. The smile on Kurt's face grew as the look on Dave's face clearly betrayed, despite his good intentions, how ridiculous he sounded.
"Nobody else drove here from Lima to wish me luck, Dave," Kurt said slowly; carefully. But his eyes twinkled with amusement, his previous trepidation as he stood on stage only moments before, forgotten.
Dave, however, seemed discomfited and slightly offended as Kurt took a step closer towards him.
"Well, that's what friends do right? But then I was about to leave because I saw your family through the glass doors of the lobby and figured I was too late. I would have gone in and waited, but your dad still kind of scares the shit out of me."
Kurt had to giggle at that. His dad knew about Dave's suicide attempt a couple months ago, and knew that Kurt had been talking to him. Finn was the only person in his family who knew that, at times when he said that he was going to hang out at Rachel's or Mercedes' house, he would sometimes go to Dave's.
The time they spent together was comfortable, to say the least, despite the flurry of events that occurred the past couple of months. They would hang out in Dave's bedroom and talk, using the few months they had left before graduation to learn more about one another. And in times they didn't feel like talking, they would lounge about, watching movies on Dave's television from where they were stretched out on the bed.
Even though Kurt's entire family knew about their blossoming friendship, they knew nothing about the events that occurred leading up to Dave's incident. The run-in at Scandal's, the gifts and the gorilla costume and the confession on Valentine's Day had stayed between them.
"Yeah, that's what friends do," Kurt reiterated softly, mostly to himself, as he looked away. It was mild outside, as it was coming upon the end of April, but he still wrapped his arms around his waist as if cold and leaned back against the door. "But it seems like you wasted your time."
Dave didn't say anything for a moment, but Kurt could almost envision Dave's eyebrows furrowing together on his face as he stared at the concrete.
"What are you talking about?"
"I can't go back in there, I... I just can't do it," Kurt whispered brokenly.
It seemed like an eternity before Dave said anything.
"What are you even talking about, Kurt?" Dave asked once again.
"I was up there," Kurt said without much hesitation, as if the knowledge of how he choked up in front of the judges was too much to bear. Kurt stared up at Dave's face as he said this—as though his face held all the answers. "And I just... I couldn't do it. I'm not going to get in either way."
"Hey..." Dave said gently as he moved in towards Kurt. Kurt looked away, nudging at a twig that had fallen from a nearby bush with his shiny dress shoes.
"Dammit, Kurt. Look at me." Dave used his index finger to turn Kurt's head up to meet his gaze. Kurt couldn't help the tiny hitch in his breath as he looked into Dave's eyes.
Kurt couldn't lie to himself. He had always been mesmerized by Dave's eyes. There were so many times that, when Dave looked at him, the orange that flowered out from his moss-green tinted irises seemed as if it were aflame. The rays of the sun hit his face in a way that the lights in his eyes danced with as much zeal that could be seen manifested in his expression.
"Are you seriously going to just give up? After everything?" Dave demanded. He let his hand drop from Kurt's face as he took a step back, looking Kurt over like he'd never seen him before in his life.
"What do you mean by every—"
"All the shit that has been thrown at you… Literally." Dave inclined his head. "And the fact that, despite all of that, you would always get back up on your feet after being knocked down and always with some smart-alecky comment to say to those people. To me."
"This has nothing to do with us, David," Kurt huffed, shaking his head.
"It has everything to do with everything," Dave retorted. "This isn't you." He paused, contemplating something for a moment.
"Remember in the hospital, when you told me to picture my future in ten years? Well, where do you picture yourself in ten years?" Dave didn't need to hear the answer, as he already knew it. He and Kurt already had this discussion about what both of their plans were for the future.
"New York," Kurt said automatically. He stared at Dave with his mouth slightly agape. He had never seen this Dave before. This Dave who seemed to develop fiery enthusiasm about life, that seemed to seep out of every pore.
"So what? You're just gonna let a couple of uppity school teachers decide that for you?" Dave kept his tirade going, just barely catching what Kurt said next in a somewhat defeated voice.
"Well… They're actually highly respected coaches for…"
"I don't care who they are," Dave said in an exasperated voice. "I care about who you are, and so should they."
By this time Kurt's heart was pounding in his chest. And it wasn't from the anxiety that he felt only minutes before. This was something entirely different.
'This... Oh…' Realization seemed to hit Kurt like a ton of bricks as he looked up at Dave from where he was standing almost toe to toe with him. Kurt couldn't pinpoint the moment where Dave must have took a step closer to him.
"I've heard you sing before; at McKinley. I don't care how many people are on the stage when you are performing in your Glee Club; it's you who fucking owns that stage. So you're are going to march back in there like you own the place," Dave pointed at the door behind Kurt, "and fucking take that spot at that fancy ass school because you're better than all those people in there and you fucking deserve—"
Kurt wasn't sure at what point his hands found their way to Dave's face, but it was probably just before his lips did.
Kurt took a deep, shuddering breath as his lips grazed Dave's, which were parted slightly in mid-tirade. He didn't acknowledge the fact that Dave seemed to be frozen underneath his fingertips, and he couldn't see how his hand, which was only just pointing at the door moments before, was still raised but clenched into a startled fist. Kurt kissed him anyway, pressing his mouth urgently to Dave's as if he were a lifeline. He let his hands curl, tantalizingly slow, and he cupped his cheeks just before dragging his fingertips down. They stopped just underneath his jaw before he pulled away.
Kurt licked his lips as he tilted his head down, not yet opening his eyes or letting go of Dave. Slowly, though, he looked back up at his face, eyelashes fluttering.
Dave's mouth was still gaping slightly in confusion and he had a sad look in his eyes. He let out the breath that he seemed to be holding in as he looked down at Kurt. Kurt was too busy searching Dave's face for any sign—a sign that might tell him that he should just run away now—to see Dave's arm fall limply at his side. He found none; and even if he did, the words that Dave said just second before would have negated any indication anyway.
"I um…" Kurt sniffed, blinking his eyes and pressing his lips together. The tears were about to start again… He could feel them. He trailed his hands down Dave's front and he gripped the front of his plaid shirt with both of his hands. "I guess I better get back in there, huh?" Kurt laughed wetly. He flattened both of his hands upon Dave's chest.
"Yeah…" Dave said in a whisper, not once looking away from Kurt. A corner of Kurt's mouth twitched slightly and a new spark of something seemed to light up his eyes. He tilted his head up once again, and without all the hastiness associated with their last two kisses, he lazily brushed his lips against his once more before leaving a deliberate peck on Dave's upper lip.
When Kurt pulled away, Dave's eyes were shut and Kurt noticed that his hand was tentatively touching the space just behind his left shoulder. Kurt reached out behind him, smiling softly as he reached for the handle, pulling the door open quietly and slipping back inside.
Dave didn't open his eyes until he heard the door creak shut, and Kurt was gone.
This story will have two parts. The idea of this story started as a speculation fic regarding Kurt's NYADA audition, but it seemed to just grow into what I hope will happen. :)