Disclaimer: I don't own Glee.
A/N: Written for my Anon on tumblr, who prompted I write a Kurtofsky ficlet revolving around the idea of "Lost and Found." Enjoy!
Lost and Found
"Excuse me," Dave practically heaved once he reached the information desk in the Bobst Library. He was out of breath after running to the towering building as soon as he was let out of his Anatomy and Physiology class.
That was all he felt like he accomplished that day; running around NYU's large campus as he retraced his steps from the day before, trying to recall where he last left his phone. It wasn't like he could concentrate in class with the lifeline to his father missing. Sure, he had his laptop, but his dad was not necessarily "one" with technology. He sent him an email that morning explaining how he "misplaced" his phone, but he had yet to receive a response from him. A phone call was the quickest way to reach his dad if anything went wrong, and Dave hated the idea of his dad getting worried if he wasn't returning any of his calls. This was the only other place he could have left it.
"I was wondering if you have a lost and found here?" he asked in a hurry to the painstakingly-styled fringe of coppery-brown hair that peeked over the top of the computer screen. "I think I left my…" Dave trailed off. He gaped as he searched futilely for the words he desperately wished to communicate, and his eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he breathed the one word that seeped in and occupied every recess of his mind.
"Kurt?" Dave looked around as a nineteen-year-old Kurt Hummel sat back in his revolving desk chair with all of the elegance and poise that Dave remembered him having, but happened to be absent during the last time that he saw the other teen: The day he held his hand as he sat across from him in the cold hospital psychiatric ward. The memory of his eyes twinkling with tears were replaced with those before him, which seemed to sparkle with unsuppressed joy, mingling with complete and utter surprise.
"I thought I recognized that rich timbre of yours," Kurt grinned mischeviously as he laced his fingers together over his knee. He cocked his head. "This is certainly unexpected. How are you, David?"
"I'm… Surprised. To see you, I mean. Not that I'm not happy to see you, I just wasn't expecting to run into you here of all places, and…" Dave shook his head, attempting to clear his racing thoughts."I'm rambling, aren't I?"
He rubbed his temple nervously with his fingers and he could see Kurt gazing at him sympathetically in his peripheral vision.
"Um… God. I wish I wasn't in such a rush, right now. I need to get to 12th Street for my next class. It starts in twenty minutes," he said regretfully.
"Oh! Right... I'm a terrible employee." Kurt chuckled. "You said you were looking for something?" Kurt stood up, looking flustered as he strummed his fingertips on the wooden surface of the desk.
"Yeah." Dave nodded. "My phone. I think I left it in one of the study rooms yesterday. It's in a red case."
Kurt nibbled on his lip thoughtfully, and Dave found himself mesmerized by the action. It was like high school all over again, but in some strange parallel universe where he didn't have to push Kurt into lockers in order to notice him. It was pathetic. He hadn't seen nor heard from Kurt since before the end of senior year, and it was obvious that the feelings he once had for him were merely lying dormant after all this time-like a bear in hibernation waiting for the inevitable summer to return. He was still pining after the boy he could never have; who made it clear that Valentine's Day almost two years ago that he didn't like him any more than as a friend.
"Let me go in the back and check, alright?" Kurt said, interrupting Dave's maudlin thoughts. Dave quickly shifted his gaze away from Kurt's now moistened bottom lip to his eyes once more. "It'll just take a second." Dave nodded dumbly, watching as Kurt turned around and walked towards a door behind him that read "Employees Only".
Dave leaned against the counter trying to process what had happened.
Kurt. In New York. At NYU. Working at the Library where he studied practically every day for more than a year. It was a big campus, so Dave wasn't surprised that he only ran into him now. He cursed himself for never needing to check out any books and, instead, relying on online periodicals for any of the papers he had to write.
So it seemed fate was an inopportune and callous bitch.
"Look what I found!" Kurt's clear, sing-song voice rang out in the quiet building as he stepped out from the back room. He held Dave's familiar Android phone, red case and all, in his hand. There must have been a lot of items to search through, because what Kurt said would only take a second took about two minutes. Two minutes of the twenty Dave had to get his next class. "Somebody must have turned it in last night after my shift ended. I guess today is your lucky day, Mr. Karofsky."
Kurt held the phone out to Dave as his lips turned up into that mischevious smile once more, as if he knew something that Dave didn't. Dave let out a chuckle.
"You have no idea," he said under his breath as he reached out to take the device. He hated how Kurt held the phone out to him in a way that there was no way of touching his hand without being creepily obvious. A very large part of him wanted to know if his hand was as smooth and as warm as it was the day it glided over his own, gripping it tightly atop his knee from where he sat up in the hospital bed.
"So, 12th Street?" Kurt mused, his eyes narrowing playfully. "Isn't that… The Sports Management school?"
"Well, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies… But yeah," he acknowledged shyly.
"I'm glad to see that you're chasing your dreams, David," Kurt said with a hint of sadness, as if remembering the last time he saw Dave; when he first revealed he wanted to be a Sports Agent. Dave couldn't help being surprised that Kurt remembered that little tidbit of information.
"Anyway," Kurt said suddenly. "You better go if you need to get a cab. You'll be late for your class. You have my number, if you ever want to talk… Or hang out."
"Oh, shit. Right." The words said by Kurt seemed to escape Dave. "Thanks for the help, Kurt. I'll see you around," Dave called out as he bounded for the doors, narrowly avoiding collision with a disgruntled group of students. Dave could hear the giggle emitted by Kurt echoing in his head even as he hailed a cab. It wasn't until he was sitting in the back of the vehicle, after telling the driver his destination, when he felt a vibrating in his pocket. He purchased a new phone right before leaving for college, and decided not to keep his phone number for the same reasons that he no longer had a facebook. He pulled out his phone to look at the text message, thinking that it could be from his roommate, or his friend from his next class asking if they had any assignments to turn in that day.
~So you thought you would just leave and not ask for my phone number even though I haven't heard from you in more than a year. David Karofsky, I'm hurt. I'm inclined to believe you never planned on running into me again. :( It's a good thing I was thinking for the both of us when I sent a text from your phone to mine while I was in the back room.~
Dave laughed in the back of the cab as he stared at his phone fondly, earning a glace from the driver who otherwise paid him no mind. With a cheeky grin on his face, Dave text back.
-Ahh… So that was what took you so long? I'm sorry I wasn't exactly thinking straight. Your presence caught me off guard.-
Dave looked out the window and at the colossal buildings of New York that seemed to keep everything in; all of the bright yellow taxis, all of the people. As he waited for Kurt to respond to his text, he thought of how scary New York seemed when he first moved to the city. Had he known that somewhere within these steel and glass walls of this bustling city was Kurt Hummel, it probably wouldn't have seemed nearly as frightening a place.
~In a good way, I hope?~
Who did Kurt think he was talking to? Sue Sylvester? Dave shook his head to himself.
-It's nice seeing a friendly and familiar face in the big city.- Dave sent, conveying his exact thoughts.
~I had no idea you were here. I tried contacting you ever since graduation to see what your plans were, but it said your number was no longer in service. I even tried to find you again on Facebook at the start of this semester.~
The start of the semester? That was just a little less than two months ago. Even after a year in New York, Kurt still attempted to wage contact with him; still thought about him.
-I haven't bothered getting a new Facebook since senior year. My friends give me hell for it (since what college student doesn't have Facebook?), but they can understand why I wouldn't want one after what happened at Thurston.- He wrote truthfully.
~So, you're out to your friends here?~
Dave could hear the hint of curiosity in the text.
-I really don't have any reason to not be. People are a lot cooler here than in Lima.-
He actually made a point of telling people as soon as he starting developing a friendship with them. It was Kurt who finally made Dave see that there was nothing wrong with him; that being gay didn't mean he was broken or damaged; something in need of being fixed. If he was going to be friends with anyone, he wanted them to know; not only because he was quite proud of how much he changed since his junior year of high school, but because he wasn't going to tolerate anymore negativity in his life. He received enough of that from the one person who was supposed to love him unconditionally.
~That's great, David. I really am so proud of you.~
Dave could feel his stomach grow warm at Kurt's kind words and he swallowed the lump in his throat. He felt as though Kurt was waiting, growing impatient as he stared at the words on the screen, a reminder of how Kurt rejected him on Valentine's Day. He didn't know what to respond with, but luckily, he didn't have to as this phone vibrated once more, alerting him of another text.
~What time is your last class?~
-This is my last class. It ends at 4:15. Why?- Dave sent the text, curious as to why Kurt wanted to know when his last class was.
~I'd really like to see you again. I get off at 5, if you wanted to hang out. There's a Starbucks just down the street from the library if you would want to meet up there. I'd understand if you'll be busy or if you have other plans, though.~
Kurt wanted to see him. He only left the library five minutes ago and Kurt was already wanting to make plans to see him again. Dave felt like he was in a dream.
-No. It's fine. It's a Friday, after all. I mean, I told my friend I was going to help him with some Stats homework, but it wasn't like we set an exact time or anything. It's not like he hasn't skipped out on me when he had a date.-
Dave pressed "Send" button before realizing exactly how that sounded. Of course he and Kurt weren't going on a date. They were just friends who wanted to catch up. It wasn't like Dave still had a crippling crush on Kurt that made his palms sweat at the very idea of potentially seeing him again later that day.
-Sorry. I didn't mean to imply that we would be going on a date, just… You know. Just that he does "owe" me for ignoring the fact that he had prior engagements with me and instead making commitments with... Another person.-
~ :p What if I want it to be a date?~
"Hey, buddy. You're at your stop." Dave looked up to see the cab driver watching him, who turned around in his seat. Without putting his phone away, he dug into his jeans where he found a twenty dollar bill and handed it to the driver. He told him to keep the change as he got out of the vehicle.
After getting out of the car, Dave adjusted the bag on his shoulder before wiping a sweaty palm (which had everything to do with the fact that there was no air conditioning in the cab, he tried to tell himself) on his jeans as he sent Kurt another text.
-That would be okay. If that's what you want. But what about Blaine?~
Kurt wanted it to be a date. So that meant he wasn't seeing that Blaine guy anymore. Dave still had a couple of minutes before his last class of the day started, so he walked slow in the direction of the building reading the next text Kurt sent him, trying not to feel to hopeful about the fact that Kurt was no longer seeing anybody.
~We broke up. About a month into my freshman year actually.~
Before he could respond, Kurt sent him another text.
~That day at Breadstix, Dave... I would have given you a chance if I wasn't with Blaine. And I don't want you thinking you would only be a consolation prize. I really do like you, and seeing you today sort of made my day. If you let me, I'd like to give you that chance now.~
Dave felt light headed and he stopped to lean against the wall outside the lecture hall.
Dave ran his hand over his mouth, trying to mask the smile on his face from the other students who were already beginning to file into the room.
~You… Don't seem all that happy about it.~
Quickly, Dave typed out a response as he filed behind everybody else into the room.
-No! I am. Really. I guess it's hard to convey emotions through text without emoticons. :D There. Is that better?-
~Much. So I'll be seeing you at five, then?~
-Of course. I'm looking forward to it.-
~Enjoy your last class of the day, Dave. I gotta go. Another idiot freshman is complaining to me about the Dewey Decimal System. :\ ~
Dave snorted at Kurt's last message as he took a seat in the back of the room. As his professor already started to give his lecture, Dave couldn't help but think that paying attention in this class would be just as futile as his other classes he attended that day. In just a couple of hours he would be seeing Kurt Hummel again, and for Dave, it seemed that his phone wasn't the only thing found that day.
And he'd be damned if Kurt was something he'd ever lose again.