Story: Bookends

Fandom: Glee
Author: ibshafer
Rating: PG
Characters: Kurt, Dave, the student body of McKinley High

Disclaimer: I don't own these people, they own themselves and are just nice enough to let me spin them around the page now and then.

Summary: What we didn't see; after the end credits and the prom rolled on…

Spoilers: Up to/including 3x19

Length: 655

A/N: Presupposes that Rachel and Kurt's "Anti-Prom" never happened…



"Are you sure?"

They were standing in the hallway just outside of the gymnasium, the thump of the music vibrating through the door broken every so often by the laughter floating off of the dance floor. Not for the first time, Dave thought he might puke.

He hadn't seen any of these people, save Kurt, Santana, and a few of the other gleeks, since last year's disastrous prom, hadn't been back to McKinley since that awful night.

He certainly hadn't seen any of them since he'd gotten out of the hospital.

Since Lima, Ohio had found out that Dave Karofsky was gay.

Since he'd tried to hang himself with his best belt in the rafters of his attic closet.

He wasn't at all sure he wanted to go in there, but he knew it was something he had to do, something he would regret not doing for the rest of his life; just like he'd regretted running out of this same gym a year ago, leaving Kurt standing there in the spotlight all alone.

He knew he had to dance with Kurt.

In the past two months, Kurt had done so much for him; he'd gone to PFLAG meetings with Dave, researched home schooling options and sold Dave's dad on the idea as a way for Dave to finish his senior year in peace – all of the studies and none of the angst. Not counting Dave's mom, that is. For her part, she'd gone along with the home schooling and though she'd left the actual heavy lifting to her husband – and still looked at Dave like he'd grown a horn out of his forehead – at least she'd stopped talking about sending him to straight camp…

So he was going to graduate.

And he'd been accepted to Ohio State where he had hopes of playing football.

He also had hopes of being able to be himself there. His new self, or rather, the self he'd finally accepted.

His gay self.

He'd be able to start fresh there, without the baggage he'd been dragging around here. No one would know him as the bully and the homophobe; no one would know him as the gay guy in the closet who couldn't take it when the tables were turned. (If Dave had been one for poetic irony, he would have thought the location of his…attempt was just that – ironic – instead of just the spot in the attic where the beams were lowest…)

No, in Columbus he'd be able to start clean and be accepted for who and what he was. At least, that's what Kurt and the people at the PFLAG meetings always said. And somehow, he believed them.

He'd come a long way in two short months. It had been hard, but Kurt had kept his promise.

He'd been there for him.

Dave fished a striped handkerchief out of his suit jacket, mopped his dripping forehead, and thanked whatever deity it was that watched over him that Kurt was still there for him.

Kurt had asked him if he was sure he wanted to do this.

Was he ready to walk into that gym, into the prom, as Gay Dave, and dance with Kurt Hummel?

"No," he said, shaking his head, but grinning unevenly at Kurt's earnest face all the same. "No, I'm not, but let's do this."

Dave held out his arm and Kurt responded theatrically, taking it with a flourish, a grin spreading across his smooth cheeks.

"Well, you do me owe me a dance…"