This was my participation piece in the Kurtofsky Gift Exchange, written for the lovely SunMonTue! Who is my favorite Kurtofsky fic author ever so it was an honor and a pleasure to get her prompt! :D
Special thanks to Spookybibi for being my beta and always Larinia713 because she is my personal cheerleader and accomplice!
Note: This story has 6 chapters total, which are completed and I will be posting them in the next few days :) hope you like it and tell me what you think! Thanks!
It was an unusually quiet Friday night in the studio. It was nice, considering how busy the rest of the day had been. Dave was leaning over the light table, working on a very specific design for one of his Saturday afternoon appointments. A girl called Julia had dropped by earlier that day to request a very unusual design.
Dave had long ago learned that there were no such things as "weird" tattoos, but this one was definitely interesting. The girl requested a dinosaur, but not just any type of dinosaur; she wanted a triceratops. The interesting thing was not the dinosaur itself but the way she wanted it to look feminine. It was a good thing Dave enjoyed character design because he was having fun with this one. He was almost done with it, adding the last details around it. The ribbon and roses to the bottom and the bells the girl wanted above it. Despite how weird it sounded when she first requested it, now that he had it almost finished Dave had to admit it was going to be a really beautiful arm piece and he was looking forward to working on her tomorrow. He couldn't wait to show it to her and see her reaction when she saw the final product.
Suddenly, Dave was shaken out of his thoughts as someone knocked on the door.
The door slowly opened and Jim, one of the other tattoo artists peeked from behind it. Just by the look on his face, Dave knew something was up. "Dude, we need you out front." He said morosely.
Jim sighed... "Drunken walk-in."
"Yes, and I don't now man. This one is pretty weird. I don't wanna risk it."
Dave rolled his eyes and heaved a sigh. "Fuck."
Usually, drunk people coming to the studio were no big deal. Every tattoo studio had them every once in a while. People wanting to get tattooed while intoxicated was not that uncommon, but any respectable tattoo studio knew better than to agree to work on someone whose mind was not clear enough to make permanent body modification decisions. Usually they would just flat out deny them and if they didn't comply they could even kick them out with the threat of calling the police. But a few weeks ago, another studio down in Brooklyn had an incident that almost resulted in tragedy.
The guys were friends of Dave. They had a respectable tattoo studio and would never work on someone while they were drunk. So they had politely declined the guy and when he had gotten hostile, they kicked him out. The guy left only to return a couple of minutes later pointing a gun at everyone and threatening to kill them.
It was a nightmare. In the end they were able to take the gun away from the guy and call the police, but in the midst of the struggle the gun had still fired and injured one of the customers that were getting work done at the studio. It had been awful, and as a result the whole community was feeling wary about these kind of situations ever since.
Dave knew he had to handle this himself, since it was his tattoo studio. The safety of the people working there, as well as the customers, was his responsibility. So he just sighed, turning off the light table and putting away his almost finished design. He knew a quiet night at the studio was rare enough without something happening. It was almost too good to be true.
As he walked to the front of the studio, Dave realized there was no commotion, which was a good sign. Jim was standing awkwardly near the front desk and pointed his hand towards his workstation, where the infamous drunk guy was sitting down with his back turned to them.
"That's the guy?" Dave whispered incredulously to Jim, who just nodded impatiently and then shrugged.
Dave didn't know what he was expecting, buy this definitely was not it. The guy didn't look dangerous or hostile at all. He was sitting down on the chair with his arms crossed and his chin tilted up; an air of superiority just oozed out of him, and Dave could bet he was probably offended at the fact that no one was giving into his drunken demands.
Dave walked over to where the guy was seated and as he got closer he felt something twist inside him. Tall and lean figure, perfectly coiffed brown hair and stylish outfit... (3)It couldn't be. There was simply no way of mistaking him, but the whole thing seemed unreal. Once the guy turned his face to the side Dave was able to get his confirmation.
Kurt freaking Hummel. This had to be some kind of misunderstanding. Kurt would never be drunk and causing a scene there... Right?
At the sound of Dave's voice, Kurt turned around and fixed his eyes straight into his. It had been years since Dave had looked into those deep blue eyes, which at the moment seemed a bit red rimmed and glassy, but still the same amazing explosion of light blues and greens that just captivated whoever looked at them.
There were a few seconds of awkward silence between them as Kurt just stared at Dave with a disbelieving expression that was quite frankly difficult for him to read. Before he could say anything else, Kurt burst into hysterical giggles.
"David? Oh my god Dav-" Kurt said between giggles, wiping at the corner of his eyes and holding a hand to his middle as he kept laughing like a mad man. "What are you doing here? Don't tell me you work here!"
"Um... Yeah, this is my studio actually."
Kurt feigned being impressed as he turned to look at Jim. "You called the manager? Good boy!"
Jim just shook his head exasperatedly and looked elsewhere. Kurt got up from where he was sitting and stumbled a bit before mock-saluting Jim and laughing some more. Kurt was so drunk that it was a little unsettling for Dave to see him like this. The other people around the studio kept looking at him but didn't seem to really be bothered by the scene yet. However, Dave knew he needed to get Kurt out of there before he caused any real trouble.
"So, um... Kurt, what are you doing here?"
"Well I'm not here for the drinks, if that's what you think." Kurt blurted out, rolling his eyes, "No one has offered me even a glass of water though... tsk!"
Dave just stared in disbelief at Kurt as he laughed mockingly, "I'm here to get a tattoo, David... Obviously."
Dave tried real hard not to let Kurt's condescending tone affect him. He was clearly drunk and thus he was probably not behaving like himself. Plus, Dave's main concern was to keep things under control and not disturb the few customers that were currently having work done on them.
"I just want a small, simple tattoo, I don't know what the problem is!" Kurt was raising his voice now and Dave knew he had to be quick.
"Okay, Kurt... come with me?" Dave approached him cautiously, putting his hand softly on the small of his back to lead him towards the back. Jim gave him a confused look and Dave just mouthed an "its fine" to him before disappearing with Kurt down the small hallway.
"Where are we going?" Kurt asked, suddenly stopping in his tracks and squirming away from Dave's touch. "You're not just kicking me out from the back door are you David?"
"No, we're going to my office..." Dave stated, opening the door to his office. He gestured with his hand for Kurt to go inside. "It's nice and quiet here, and we can talk about your tattoo, okay?"
Kurt gave him a wary look, but walked inside nonetheless. Kurt looked confused and upset so Dave was trying his best to play along. Kurt walked into the office and mindlessly looked around, staring at the photos and designs framed in the walls. Dave's office was nothing big, but it had enough space for a desk, a couple of chairs, his light table and a small sofa bed.
Dave sat down in one of the chairs, motioning for Kurt to sit in the sofa bed.
"There are no machines here." Kurt stated, squinting his eyes at Dave.
"I know. This is my office." Dave replied, trying his best to remain calm even when Kurt's behavior had him on edge. He had never seen Kurt drunk before, and he just didn't now what to expect.
"How am I going to get my tattoo then, David?"
"That's the thing… You're not." Dave replied bluntly, bracing himself for Kurt's reaction.
Kurt sighed. "David... I just want a tattoo. You do tattoos. Don't you? Why are you being difficult?"
"Because you're drunk, Kurt."
Kurt snorted and rolled his eyes. "I'm not."
"Yes, David! Oh my god... I only had a few drinks. I'm not wasted! Besides, I already know what I want, I've known for weeks so I don't understand what the big deal is."
"Okay, so why don't you tell me what you want? We can talk about it."
"I uh..." Kurt hesitated for a bit before composing himself. "I want a pineapple... on my hip. Yeah."
"A pineapple?" Dave asked, incredulously. Maybe Kurt was drunker that he seemed.
Kurt rolled his eyes and stood up from the sofa. He wavered a bit before managing to stand up straight. "A pineapple, a cat... anything! I just need to get a stupid tattoo... okay? If you don't want to do it then fine… I'll just go elsewhere!"
"Kurt, wait!" Dave quickly got up to go after him but he didn't have to, because halfway through the door, Kurt stopped. He leaned against the doorframe and covered his mouth with his hand. Dave immediately knew what was going to happen, so he ran to his desk and grabbed the small trashcan he kept under it. However, by the time Dave got to where Kurt was, he had already started vomiting. It was a mess, and Dave couldn't do anything but stare as Kurt heaved over the small plastic trashcan. It was all liquid and the stench of alcohol was strong. Clearly, Kurt had had more to drink than what his body could hold in.
Halfway through the vomiting, Kurt started crying and apologizing to Dave, while he just tried his best to be supportive and tell Kurt not to worry. After a few minutes, Dave handed Kurt some tissues and led him to the small bathroom in the back so he could clean himself up.
Dave stood by the door to give him some privacy, but Kurt didn't even close the door. He just stared at himself in the mirror and started crying in earnest.
Dave was frozen in the spot, listening to Kurt's choked sobs and feeling absolutely helpless.
After a few minutes, Kurt's cries started dying out. "Kurt... are you alright?" Dave asked, peeking from the door at Kurt who was now just staring blankly at his reflection in the mirror.
"Not really… no" Kurt sniffled, smiling sadly and shaking his head, avoiding Dave's gaze. Kurt's eyes were bloodshot and he looked so utterly lost that Dave felt his heart breaking for him.
Dave knew Kurt wasn't just talking about what happened right now. He didn't want to ask, but he knew something was definitely wrong. Why would Kurt be drunk out of his mind, demanding a tattoo? That just didn't make any sense. Granted, Dave hadn't seen Kurt in a long time, but he liked to think he knew Kurt enough to realize there was something else going on.
As Dave helped Kurt walk back to his office, he couldn't help but wonder what was going on in his life. What could Kurt possibly be going through, that he was behaving like this?
Kurt lied down on the couch, breathing deeply and trying to calm down. Dave told him to stay still while he went to get him a glass of water. When he came back, Kurt had his eyes closed and for a minute Dave just stood there, looking at him and thinking about the situation. It seemed unreal, and so different from the other times Dave had seen Kurt in the past.
The first time Dave saw Kurt after his suicide attempt was almost a year later. They had run into each other at the airport while they were boarding a plane from New York to Ohio for Thanksgiving. Dave had no idea Kurt was living in New York. Their conversation had been brief that time, just a quick chat as they waited to board their flight, but Kurt had mentioned studying at that fancy dramatic arts school and working at Vogue. Dave and his dad had moved to New York during his tormented senior year, since life had just gotten too complicated for him after the suicide attempt.
The situation at the Karofsky home had been really hostile to the point where Dave's parents ended up getting a divorce. It had been a really hard year for Dave, he hadn't been able to continue his studies, failing his senior year and feeling all around terrible. Dave could barely live through the days, feeling insecure and afraid and also blaming himself for his parents' divorce. A couple of months later, his dad took a job opportunity and they transferred to New York. Dave knew that even though it was a great job, his dad had taken it to help him move away from everything that had been smothering him in Lima.
Dave knew he was lucky to have his dad's support. He was certain he wouldn't have survived without it.
So they moved to New York, and Dave had to repeat his senior year in a school there. Dave decided not to tell Kurt about that though, lying about being at NYU instead. He was going to study there the anyway so Dave had decided it was a white lie to tell for the sake of his own dignity. He didn't want Kurt's pity.
That time in the airport, they had exchanged numbers with yet another empty promise of keeping in touch, but Dave knew better than to keep his hopes up about that happening, and it was probably for the best. He was having a difficult time rebuilding his self-confidence and will to live and didn't want any painful reminders of his days back in Ohio.
Luckily for Dave, life in New York proved to be exactly what he needed. College was awesome and he quickly made great friends with whom he didn't have to hide who he really was. It had been a great improvement and he was able to explore a whole new aspect of himself, enjoying life in a way that he had long ago given up on ever being able to.
During his college years, Dave got involved in a lot of artist communities, given that he loved drawing and had never been able to express himself in that sense back in Ohio for fear of being ridiculed. Once he got his first tattoo he knew he wanted to learn how to do it himself, and so he did. Along the way he met people who were in the tattoo industry, and soon enough he got a job helping out in a tattoo studio.
The second time Dave saw him had been 3 years later at a fashion show. Back then; Dave was dating Alec, who was a model for Giorgio Armani. It was fashion week in New York and Alec got Dave tickets to one of his runway shows. That time, Dave saw Kurt from afar, running around busily with a headset and his hands always busy with papers and clothes. He didn't approach Kurt that time though, not wanting to interrupt what was clearly a busy night of work for him. But Dave was glad to see Kurt doing something he knew he loved. After all, if Kurt Hummel was ever known for something, it was for his interesting fashion choices. Kurt looked like he was right were he belonged, working backstage at Fashion Week in New York.
The third time Dave saw Kurt; it was two years later, at a club. That time, Kurt was there with his boyfriend, a blonde British guy whose name Dave couldn't quite remember right now. They ran into Dave at the club but their exchange was short lived, considering the company Dave was keeping in that moment. Dave happened to be at the club with Sebastian, and apparently after all the years that had passed, Kurt still despised the guy. Kurt and Dave had been chatting amicably until Sebastian had returned from the restroom. Dave had made his best effort to introduce him to Kurt's boyfriend but things had gotten awkward and uncomfortable really quick. Sebastian's inappropriate compliments towards Kurt's boyfriend surely didn't help, but Dave knew in that regard Sebastian was just a hopeless case. He was naturally flirty and had no filter, which was the reason why things between them really hadn't worked out.
Dave and Sebastian were together on and off for a little over a year before deciding it was better to just be friends. If they hooked up occasionally after that well… Dave had no complaints. Sex with Sebastian was great, but he wasn't really good at relationships. Sebastian was too immature and volatile, and quite frankly Dave wanted more than just a good-looking guy to have sex regularly with.
Deep down Dave knew he wanted more. He hoped to one day find a guy to share his life with, and well, as great as Sebastian was, Dave knew he wasn't the right guy for that.
After that one time in the club, Dave and Kurt had added each other on Facebook. And even though they never really talked or messaged each other, somehow catching little snippets and updates on their lives made Dave feel like he still "knew" Kurt in some way.
That had been almost two years ago, and now there he was, running into Kurt again. This time it was the strangest of circumstances though, and Dave couldn't help the burning curiosity that lingered inside him. It wasn't just curiosity though, Dave couldn't help but be a little worried about Kurt as well.
Kurt opened his eyes so Dave handed him the glass of water. Kurt drank a little before putting it down and collapsing on the couch again. He seemed exhausted, and after a while, he fell asleep. It was still fairly early, so Dave guessed he could give Kurt some time to rest. He decided to go back outside while Kurt sobered up.
When Dave returned outside, Jim was working in his station and everyone seemed to have completely forgotten about what happened.
"Everything okay?" Lisa, the other tattoo artist asked him and Dave just nodded.
"Yeah… Got him to calm down a bit and he's resting in my office."
"Good" Lisa said, before returning to her station.
Dave just sighed, sitting down in one of the chairs and wondering just what he was going to do about Kurt now.