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Bound by a New Life

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Kurt was suffocating. It had been two days since his dramatic rescue from a madman and the eyes on him were too much, too overwhelming. He took a deep breath, drew his knees up to his chest and tried to relax, but found that he could not. Even when they were in the other room, he could feel his family member's eyes on him. He needed Dave, or at least a moment of peace to relax.

Carole brought him dinner in the living room, looking at him with a slight fear in her eyes. Kurt knew that none of them knew how to react to him, now that he was back from what he'd survived. "Thank you so much Carole," he said, taking the bowl of soup. He smiled at her wearily, but it felt wrong to act all happy, as though nothing had happened to him. He ate Carole Hudson's world famous vegetable soup in silence. It was killing him.

After he ate dinner, he was saved by his stepbrother. Finn had apparently become super perceptive in the months that Kurt had been missing; either that or he just understood Kurt's needs. "Mom, Kurt looks like he's ready to drop," he said softly. "I'm going to take him back up to his bedroom." Carole nodded and Finn took Kurt upstairs. Kurt looked at Finn and saw that he had done it to save Kurt from the feelings that were overwhelming him.

"Its okay dude," Finn said gently. "I know that Mom and Burt are overwhelming you. They just don't know how to react; honestly, I don't know how to react either. We were scared that you were…never coming back, you know?" Finn looked absolutely pained. Kurt realized that his family thought he was dead and that they would never find him, at least not alive. That was a terrible thing to think. It had been so long…

Kurt nodded, going over to his bed and sitting down. He looked at Finn, who was standing in front of him awkwardly. "I…yeah," he muttered softly. "I didn't think that we were ever going to be rescued. It took forever and I was so scared. He did so many things to Dave, Finn. I don't know why all the focus has to be on me. He made sure that I wasn't a victim. He took care of me and I need him…"

Finn nodded, although he didn't understand. "Well, I wanted to get Mom and Burt out of your hair, so I should probably go too," he said. "If you need anything, you'll come to my room, right?"

Kurt took a breath at the words. "Finn," he said. "Can you see if Dad and Carole will let me go to Dave?" he asked. "I really need him. I can't explain it and I know by the strange look you're giving me that it's a weird thing to ask, but I need him."

Finn didn't make any comment over his need for Dave. He just nodded slowly and said, "of course dude," before leaving. Kurt used the moment of silence to throw himself down on the bed, laying back and staring at the ceiling. Nothing made sense anymore. Kurt wasn't sure how he was supposed to just go back to normal after having been held captive. He needed Dave Karofsky more than he needed anything in the world. Dave was his hero, his best friend and the person he needed most.

They arrested their captor and legal proceedings were pending. His name was Hector Dane and he was forty-three years old. He had never really been convicted of anything major before he had kidnapped Kurt and Dave but things were slowly coming out of the woodwork. After his trial he would be put away for life, if things went right. All of the legal facts were things Kurt was being assured but he couldn't care less. He was tired and he just wanted things to start making sense.

He could hear the faint buzz of Finn talking to their parents downstairs. He closed his eyes and for awhile found enough peace to rest. He couldn't stop thinking about Dave, however. He had not even seen him since the moment they were reunited with their parents. He had watched, joyfully, as a man and woman hugged Dave and took him into their car. He had met Paul's eyes and the man had looked at him with desperation. He hoped the man learned soon what a hero his son was.

He fell asleep after awhile, but it was a restless sleep. He had not slept much naturally during his captivity, so he fell into a deep, but troubled slumber. He dreamed about Dave, suffering for him while he was unconscious and about being alone and scared of the future. He dreamed of his body being paraded around like some kind of prize and how helpless he had been when Dave was violated terribly.

He woke up; physically, he was more rested than ever, but mentally he was worse off than before.

Meanwhile, Dave Karofsky was at the hospital. He had already been subjected to a number of humiliating tests, but here he was, back at the hospital again for minor injuries he'd sustained while captured. It was nothing that he couldn't sleep off at home, but both of his parents were terrified for him. He couldn't blame them. He knew that it must have been agony to not know where their son was, or if he was ever going to come back alive.

He had been forced to have several tests for sexually transmitted infections, this revealing to his parents that he had been raped. It was absolutely humiliating and his face still burned from the moment when he'd had to tell the doctor that yes, those kinds of tests were needed. He had already told the police about it, but that had been away from his parents. It was terrible and made them cling to him even tighter.

He needed Kurt. He needed to make sure that Kurt was alright and that he was being treated well. He needed Kurt to be there with him. "I really need Kurt," he mumbled, not even realizing he was saying the words out loud until his father looked at him. "I really need him Dad," he said seriously. "I need to know that he's doing okay and everything like that."

"You'll get to see him," his father comforted, looking at the wall then back to Dave.

After the nurse at the hospital confirmed that they were done, Dave followed his father out to the car. He remembered the promise that he had made to Kurt when they were in that terrible basement. He had promised Kurt that if they were rescued that he'd come out. He promised Kurt that he would tell his parents all about him. "Dad," he said softly, taking a breath as he got into his father's truck. "I need to tell you something. It has nothing to do with the kidnapping or the tests or the injuries or whatever. It's just really, really important and I promised myself that if we ever got out of this that I'd tell you."

He had his father's attention at that. Both of them closed the car's doors and they stared at each other. Dave took a very deep breath and said the words that had seemed so scary years ago, but now meant nothing. They were insignificant in comparison to all of the trauma that he had been through in the past weeks.

"Dad, I'm gay."

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His father seemed to understand how ridiculously unimportant the confession was in comparison to everything else as well. He looked shocked by it, but only because he was caught off guard by it. "Really?" he asked with a surprised tone. He didn't seem upset at all. "I would have never suspected David. Why didn't you tell me that before?" He was trying to be casual but Dave could tell the whole situation was making him feel just as lost as Dave was.

"I was afraid of how you and mom would see me," he said honestly. It was silly for him to be so afraid, especially when his parents were kind and gentle people, but his mind frame had been so different months earlier. "I know that it seems so stupid and childish, but I was definitely very afraid."

"You shouldn't have been son," he said, clasping Dave on the shoulder. "As long as you're happy, your mother and I don't care who that's with. This was before the…stuff though right?" Dave almost smiled at that, because it was very much like his father. He was old-fashioned and his understanding of things like sexuality was limited, but he was a good man and would make himself learn now.

"Way before," he said softly, thinking about how he'd felt at as young as twelve or so. He had known he was gay for a long time, even if he had been in denial.

His father pulled him into a hug. He leaned up close and hugged him back. He felt safe in his father's tight embrace. He smiled lightly. "I love you Dad," he said. "I d-don't really know how to deal with anything right now, but I swore to Kurt that I would come out to you guys, if we made it out of it alive. I have to live my life to its fullest, you know? It's just one of those things that I really had to say." He knew he was rambling a little bit, but his father didn't seem to mind. He let go of Dave, tears in his eyes and smiled.

"I'm glad you told me." They started to drive home when his father made another comment. "I think that therapy may be something you need to think of. The things that were done to you…"

He stopped listening there. He had been raped. He had been violated. That horrible man had raped him and he needed therapy to get it out of his mind. His stomach clenched as the realization hit him like a fist in the face. He took several deep breaths, trying to keep himself from crying. He didn't want to cry. He looked down at the carpeting in the car and broke down crying. The sobs ripped away from him. He closed out until his father pulled over the car and wrapped him in a tight hug, comforting him as he cried like a baby.

"It's alright David," he soothed softly, sounding panicked. Dave would have laughed at the words coming from his father if he wasn't so suddenly terrified. His father was terrible at handling things like this. His father had never imagined handling such an emotional crisis. He rocked Dave back and forth, mumbling things that didn't make sense to him at all. Dave tried to get his grips and go back to normal.

"I love you Dad," he said, shaking his head from side to side. "It's gonna be okay."

"You're right, David, it is…"

It took awhile for his father to calm him down. He took several deep, shuddering breaths and felt like he was coming back down. After his father was finished calming him down, he drove him back home. He admired his father for handling the situation when he wasn't the type at all. He had almost completely composed himself when they got home. When they got into the house, Finn was talking to his mother.

"Hudson?" he asked, not understanding why the boy would be there.

Finn turned to him and smiled an awkward smile. "Hey," he said softly. "God man, it's so good to see that you and Kurt are all in one piece and stuff. It was so freaking terrifying, not knowing where you guys were. I mean, seriously dude, I just…I dunno what to say."

"Don't gotta say anything," Dave said quickly, dismissing Finn's words. "How is he? Is he okay? I haven't been able to see him since they picked us up and I really, really need to see him. Is he gonna be okay?"

Finn looked a little concerned at his tone, backing off just slightly. "That's why I'm here," he said. "Kurt really needs to see you. I was wondering if you'd be up for coming over for just a few minutes to talk to him. He needs you."

Dave looked to his parents. He knew they probably weren't too keen on letting him leave the house ever again, but he'd been in and out of the hospital for the last two days and he really, really needed to see Kurt. Hell, he'd even let them come if they let him go see Kurt. He needed to see Kurt and to know that the other boy was okay. Physically, he knew Kurt was alright, but at the same time he'd been at his side for the months they were captured .It hurt to be apart from him and it was hard to believe he was alright.

His father looked at his mother and she shook her head. He could see the conversation that was going on without words. He had just been kidnapped. He couldn't imagine the thoughts that were going through their head. "Dad, you remember Mr. Hummel," he said softly, trying to plead his case. "Mrs. Hudson was really nice to you back when I was a kid in cubscouts and stuff, remember?"

Hesitantly, his father nodded.

"Alright," his mother said. "If you think you're up for it, Dave, you can go with Finn. I want you to send me a text message the second you get there and before you leave though."

Dave swallowed. He nodded slowly. He could most definitely handle a little extra protectiveness in his life. He wasn't a normal teenager anymore. He didn't care about the same thing that normal teenage boys cared about. He took a deep breath and followed Finn out to a car before either of his parents could change their mind and object to him. "He's really okay, right?" he asked, when he got into the car.

Finn nodded. "Yeah dude, he's doing great. He's a little suffocated by our parents, but…he's good..."

"Thank God," he whispered, taking another deep breath to keep himself calmer.

Just before he started the car, Finn turned to Dave. Dave met his eyes. They had such an up-and-down past, but Finn was a good guy. "Man, I can't thank you enough for what you did for Kurt," Finn said softly. "I don't know any of the details, but Kurt told me that you kept him from being…being a victim and protected him. I can't thank you enough for protecting my little brother when I couldn't. You're his hero."

Dave couldn't believe that. He was Kurt's hero and that in itself was surreal.

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Kurt was sitting at the kitchen table when Finn and Dave arrived. Kurt had no idea that Finn had gone to get Dave. He shot up from where he was sitting and launched himself at the bigger boy without restraint. He wrapped his arms around him and held him tight. It wasn't like the old Kurt at all; he used to be very respectful of personal space and hated unneeded touching, but God, he had needed Dave so much.

"I was so worried about you," Kurt spat out, holding tightly. Dave clung back, looking at him like he was a ghost and would disappear at any second. "Nobody would let me come see you and I didn't know your phone number so I could call. Are you okay? Did you tell them everything about what he did?" He blushed when he realized how rapid fire his questions were coming and finally let Dave go.  He was absolutely strangling the other boy.

Dave took a breath and spoke. "I told them everything," he said. "The doctors, my parents…I've been in the hospital on and off for the last two days."

Kurt looked at him sympathetically. He was so brave. He was just wonderful and Kurt loved him so much. He leaned over and kissed the other boy on the cheek. "I'm so sorry I haven’t been there with you," he said, still clinging to Dave's hand when he pulled back again. Dave looked at him and smiled and God, he had the most perfect smile ever. Kurt felt himself panicking but did what he could to calm himself down.

"It's okay Kurt…"

It took him a few minutes to realize that Finn, Carole and his father were watching their emotional reunion. Kurt blushed and leaned closer to Dave. He had started to rely on Dave in ways that he couldn't exactly understand. It was embarrassing and felt awkward, uncomfortable, just to have people back in their lives. He wondered if Dave felt the same way. They had been all each other had or needed before.

Kurt blushed heavily at the staring. He tried his best to handle the situation. "Dad, Carole," he mumbled awkwardly, leaning closer to Dave's side. "I'm sure you guys remember Dave Karofsky," he said, face red because of the embarrassment and the knowledge of just how different Dave was now. "He's…he's been…I don't really even know how to say…he saved me back there."

He watched as his father looked at Dave with a deeply concerned expression. "Thank you, David," he mumbled after the long silence nearly killed Kurt. It was a strange thing that happened in that moment and although he hardly understood it, he just wanted to get back as close to Dave as he possibly can.

They managed to dismiss themselves upstairs for a little bit of privacy. It was amazing to Kurt, just to be able to go back to the bedroom. They hurried over to Kurt's bed and that was when Dave pulled him into a tight hug. He held him tight for a very long time. "I did it," he told Kurt. "After the hospital…and all the things they did…I just told him about it…I figured that he just needed to know…"

It took Kurt a few minutes to realize what Dave was talking about. He was fixating too hard on the other thing Dave had said. "All the things they did," he said. What had they done to him? Didn't they know about the trauma he'd been through? Then it hit him that Dave was talking about coming out. When they had been trapped in that horrible place, Dave had promised Kurt he would come out to his father, to everyone, if and when they got free. "You came out to him?" he asked, still for clarification. It seemed like such a silly thing to think about – coming out of the closet was so huge, but so insignificant compared to all they'd endured.

Dave nodded slowly. "Yeah," he said. "He took it fine. I guess that it's kind of nothing, being gay, after all we went through."

"It is," Kurt admitted, laughing at the absurdity of it. Dave Karofsky had spent his entire life trying to keep his sexuality a secret. He gave it away freely because the horrors that he had known were so much more than the fear of being outed. "That's good Dave…that's really good…" He stopped for a moment and reeled back towards his earlier thoughts. "What did you mean earlier when you said 'things they did to you'?"

Dave moved away from Kurt's grip and sat back on his arms. "I had to tell them what he did to me," he mumbled under his breath, averting his eyes. Kurt had never been able to make Dave tell him what was done to him during their captivity, even though he had quickly figured it out. He wasn't stupid. "They had to run all of these tests and it was…it was fucking humiliating." Dave's face reddened and all Kurt wanted to do was take care of him. He reached out and took Dave's hand, holding it tightly in his. He squeezed tightly and watched as Dave just sagged. He lay back against the pillows on top of Kurt's bed. Kurt crawled up to his side and leaned against him. It was an incredibly intimate gesture that would have freaked him out before. Not just with Dave but with anyone. Kurt had never been that open, not in that way.

"I'm so sorry Dave," he mumbled softly. "I wish I could have been there but my family has been…hovering around and not giving me any information. It's…like we went through all of this but we're not strong enough to know the information."

Dave nodded and Kurt caught the tear slipping down his cheek before he wiped it away. "Yeah," he mumbled. "It took me a huge amount of effort to even get the dude's name. He's gonna be put away though for kidnapping, rape, the fact that he drugged us…it'll be for life, that's for sure. Bastard deserves what he gets and more."

Kurt nodded slowly, hugging Dave close to him. "I think that I agree with you completely," he said softly. "I wish I could get my hands on him for one more second for everything that he did to you." The silence was a very long, desperate one. The silence was terrifying to Kurt, but at the same time it gave him comfort. It took him back to that dark basement where they had spent days and weeks together. It took him back to the place that had become his regular life for a good time, before he was suddenly rescued and whisked back to the "normal" world.  "Do you think we're ever going to be normal again?" he asked Dave, a hesitant, scared question that had been on his mind for quite awhile.

Dave gave him a deep look. "I don't know," he said seriously. "Kurt, I wish I did, but I don't know."

Chapter Text

Being questioned again, Dave wasn't sure he could get further through another talk. As kind as the detective heading the investigation was to him, he was scared and all out of words. "I've talked to police," he said to the man, seriously. "I don't think that I can talk anymore about what happened. You know the whole story: Kurt and I were drugged, kidnapped and the dude did things to me to prime me for doing it with Kurt. I would have been forced to do it with Kurt if you guys hadn't burst in. That's the whole story. There is no more."

The man was still gentle, despite Dave's aggression. "I'm so sorry for continuously asking questions of both of you," he said. "I'm just trying to get into the mind frame of the man who did this to you, so that we can put him away for life."

"I know," he said and continued answering to the best of his ability. He wondered if Kurt was being questioned in the same way and if it was as hard for the other boy. Probably not…still, they had to do everything they could to get him put away. The detective was brief, thank god, probably because he looked like he was going to puke the whole time.

After the questioning was done, it didn't get much better for Dave. He was confronted by his parents, who both looked at him with pity in their eyes. "It's alright,"Dave said, trying to curb the general sadness of the two in front of him. "I'm really alright guys. I just don't want to talk about it anymore, if that's okay. I'm still trying to deal with going back to a normal life."

"You will David," his mother said gently. "It's going to take some time but you're going to get your life back. You have to believe that."

"Actually," Dave mumbled, looking at them as they stood awkwardly in front of him. "Would you guys sit down? I wanna talk for a second but not about what happened to me and Kurt. I want to talk about before."

"Before…" his father repeats uncertainly.

"Yeah, before," Dave says softly, shaking his head from side to side to clear his muddled thoughts. It doesn't do him any good. "Dad, do you remember how confused you were when I started bullying other kids? You always used to say that I was such a good kid and you were so disappointed in me."

"That was just because I knew that wasn't you, David. You stopped, right? You turned yourself around and your mother and I are so proud of you for that."

"I was so afraid of what people at school would think of me Dad," he said softly. "My appearance was everything and I wanted to be someone that you'd be proud of. It's kind of stupid, considering you were anything but proud of my bullying. I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry. I also wanted to tell you that my being gay was a big part of it. I didn't want to be abnormal. I didn't want to be a freak."

"Being gay isn't bad," his father said softly. "I'm sorry if your mother and I ever gave you any indication that you couldn't talk to us."
Dave looked at his parents and realized that although from time to time he felt insecure, it was never because of his parents. He admired them both so much and wanted them to be proud of him. "I started getting feelings for Kurt when I was in my sophomore year. He always walked around so proudly, showing off the fact that he was different. I thought it was amazing, but when I turned around my friends were talking about what a fag he was, what a sick freak. I didn't want to be a sick freak too…"

He laughed a little bit at that. "It's so freakin' silly," he said with a sad smile. "It's silly to care so much about what people think about you. I was just always battling with how Kurt made me feel and how people saw him. I guess that it's always been about Kurt, oddly enough. Of course he and I had to go through this thing together…but that's because he saw…"

Dave trailed off, realizing that his parents had never known about the kiss. Nobody knew about the kiss except for Dave, Kurt and the madman who had held them captive over it. "Nobody knew about the kiss except for Kurt and I…" he mumbled low, looking up."He knew too. You guys are going to find out anyway, because he videotaped it."

"What are you talking about David?" his mother asked, moving her chair so that she was closer and grabbing his hand. He held her hand back.

"Last November I was bullying Kurt badly," he whispered, not even realizing that he was crying until his tears came freely. "I hurt him. I did so many things to him just because of the confusion he was causing me. One day, he called me out on it. He followed me into the locker at school and demanded to know what my issue was. He was so freakin' brave and there he was in front of me, being everything that I admired and hated about him." He couldn't look at his parents as he finished, so ashamed of himself. He hung his head and cried. "I kissed him. I grabbed him by the face and kissed him. You have no idea how terrified he was…"

He didn't know how long he stared at the floor before his mother spoke.

"David, you've come so far," she said gently. "I had no idea all that you went through at school, but your father and I aren't going to make the mistake of staying detached from your life again. We both love you so much and we want you to be okay. We're here for you and we love you."

He looked up. He was still trying his best to hide his tears, looking directly to the side of them. "It's going to get better for me and Kurt," he said softly. "I know it is. It's just that we've got so much to deal with."

"Not alone," his dad chimed in quietly. "Not alone at least."

That night Dave went to sleep peacefully, but his sleep was not a peaceful one. He closed his eyes and found himself trapped in a nightmare. In the nightmare, he was still in the basement where he and Kurt had been held captive. Instead of being directly involved with what was happening there, however, he was like a disembodied ghost, completely detached from the scene below him. Kurt was real though and so was the man who'd done this to them.

Instead of him, it was Kurt looking at the man and pleading desperately. "No," Kurt said firmly, his eyes wide and desperate. He looked at the man and then physically fought, yanking away from his grip. "I don't want you to do that to me. I'm a virgin, I've never done it before. Please. I can't."

"I don't want to spoil David, but it's quite alright if I spoil you," the man purred, leaning into Kurt's shoulder and reaching his hand down to grope him with malicious intent. "I don't care if I spoil you Kurt. It's sad, but inevitable."

No, this wasn't right. It was him who suffered. It was him who was deemed less worthy in heir captor's eye.

"I won't let you!" Kurt screamed.

"I'll take David if you don't…"

Dave woke himself screaming before he could see how that dream ended.

Chapter Text

Kurt was terrified of what would happen when he saw his friends again for the first time since the kidnapping. He wasn't prepared for it at all. Unfortunately, Rachel stood in front of him the next morning and he had no idea what to do. She stared at Kurt for a long moment before stepping forward. She was crying and he could tell she was holding back. He couldn't believe that it was really here. He didn't know how to deal with it at all. "Rachel," he said softly, his voice full of the love he had for her and how much he missed her.

"Kurt..." she whispered softly."I can't believe that it's you. You're here, you're okay..."

Kurt wanted to tell her that he was far from okay, but bit back the comment. He nodded instead. "Hug?" he asked, holding out his arms for her. It was amazing how accepting of physical affection that he had become. She let loose some of her restraint and hugged him tightly. He held her, so glad to have her back. Holding Rachel brought forth a sudden surge of emotions and he was crying too. They held each other, unable to let go for a long moment.

His family, surprisingly, gave them a little peace. They talked for almost an hour. It was very comforting for Kurt. Rachel updated him on how every single one of their friends had been doing in his absence. She told him about the prayers, the group meetings, the desperate hope that he'd come back to him. It was very touching. Eventually, she did ask him about what happened to him. She couldn't keep herself from asking and he didn't blame her.

"It was awful," Kurt said firmly, downplaying the experience to the extreme. What could he say to his best friend about the things that he and Dave had endured together? "I didn't think that we'd ever be found." He wanted to continue talking but there was nothing else he could say to her. He could not talk to anyone about what had happened.

"You're home now," Rachel said, her voice heavy with emotions. "I'm just so happy to see you here, alive and healthy. We sat vigil for weeks, just hoping and praying that you'd come home."

Kurt smiled and reached out, grabbing her hand. "I'm safe thanks to Dave."

"Karofsky…" she mumbled, the look on her face indicating just how confused she was. Kurt didn't blame her, but still, he felt suddenly defensive.

"He's not who you think he is." Kurt was surprised by the harsh, clipped sound of his own voice. He was just so protective of Dave's honor that it hurt. He wasn't the scared bully they once knew. That had never even been Dave in the first place. "I know you knew the old him and I did too, but that's not who Dave is inside. He's a good person and kept me safe."

"It's just so weird," she admitted. "It's so good to see your face though, Kurt…"


He turned his head to see that his father had just entered the room. He looked a little bit distressed. "What's up Dad?" Kurt asked hesitantly, almost afraid to find out what his father looked so upset over. He wasn't sure that he could handle any more devastating news with all that he was going through.

"I just got a phone call from Paul Karofsky," he said quickly, giving Rachel a sideways glance. "Dave woke up in a pretty bad state. He really wants to see you. I told Paul that I'd give you a lift over, that okay?"

Kurt immediately sprung into action. He squeezed Rachel's hand and looked her in the eye. "I have to go," he said. "I'll talk to you very soon, once everything gets sorted out. I promise." He then quickly followed his father out of the room, leaving Rachel alone. He had to know that Dave was okay. He had no idea what "pretty bad state" meant and he wanted to be there for Dave.

"Is he okay?" Kurt asked his father weakly as they drove to the Karofsky house. His father looked pretty uncomfortable, but at least he was trying to understand the urgency of the situation and how Kurt needed to get to Dave immediately.

"I don't know," his father responded softly. "Paul said that he woke up with a bad dream and told them that he needed to see you. I dunno what's going on but I take that pretty seriously, after all you…after all you boys went through."

Kurt was quiet the entire drive to the Karofsky house. When they got there, his father rang the doorbell and Kurt waited at his side with hands trembling. Paul Karofsky answered the door. He looked tired, eyes hanging and exhausted. He spoke very softly, deliberately. "David's in his bedroom," he said. "I wouldn't have called, but he was desperate, freaking out. He really needs you Kurt."

Kurt nodded quickly, before accidentally pushing the man on his way upstairs to Dave's bedroom. When he got there, he found Dave sitting up on top of the covers of his bed. He stared at Kurt. Kurt stared back. Dave's eyes were so haunted. Kurt could see all of the pain there and then Dave crashed. He lay back against the headboard and sobbed. The sob was a gut-wrenching sound that reminded Kurt of exactly how far they had to go.

Kurt quickly crawled up onto the bed next to Dave and took him by the hand. "David, I'm here…it's okay…" he whispered, not sure what to do. His own heart was pounding in his chest. He wasn't strong enough to deal with this. He wasn't strong enough to take care of Dave when he didn't even know how to take care of himself. What did they expect him to do? What could he really do?

"I'm never gonna forget," Dave cried out in a breathy voice. "I'm never gonna forget what he's done to me. How am I supposed to get better? That dream...I imagined that it was you he did it to, and it killed me..."

Impulsively Kurt got up onto his knees and hugged Dave tightly. The moment his arms closed around the bigger boy, he felt Dave's arms around him, holding back. Dave was holding on for his life. "It's alright David," he soothed. "I'm alright and you're alright. We're gonna make it through this, together."

"I just..." Dave trailed off. "My only real goal there was to keep you safe. All the godawful things I've done to you; I just knew that I had to keep you safe."

"You did keep me safe." Kurt pulled back and met Dave's eyes. "You protected me from all of the horror we went through there. You defended me and cared for me. It's okay Dave..."

"'m so sorry...the dream's in my's burned there." Dave pulled back and smiled a sad, tearful smile. Kurt took a breath, steadied himself and then he did it, he kissed Dave. He leaned forward and pressed their lips together in what he hoped was a comforting kiss. Dave kissed him back with the same hesitance and fear that Kurt felt. Slowly, both boys' fear melted away and all that was left was the two of them.

"I really love you Kurt," Dave whispered when their lips parted.

"I love you too," Kurt said intensely. "I really just love you with all of my heart. That's why it's going to get better. It's going to get better." He held Dave close to him, relaxing some as his panic subsided.

"Do you remember when he first hurt me?" Dave asked softly. He looked up at Kurt and his eyes were filled with tears. "You held onto me like this then. You sang to me to stop me from freaking out. That made everything better…well, not better, but it made it stop hurting."

Kurt felt the only thing he could do was cling to Dave and hum and sing to him under his breath until they both stopped freaking out.

Chapter Text

Dave looked at Kurt as he started to come down from his hysteria. He locked his eyes with Kurt and just would not look away. Kurt knew that his presence comforted and grounded Dave and that was huge. This was more than he could really handle, but he tried his very best. "Thank you," Dave said. His expression was a mixture of embarrassment and total adoration. "I just really needed you here. I needed to know that you were okay…"

Kurt smiled and gently kissed the side of Dave's mouth. "I'm more than okay," he whispered against his skin. "I'm alive and well and it's all because of you. Don't ever forget that. We'll get through this together and that's only because you saved us."

Dave smiled and Kurt could honestly see the pride in his eyes. Their moment, however, was interrupted by a loud curse from his father. He could also hear Dave's father talking loudly, yelling even. He wanted to know what was going on but could only catch snippets. "Let's go see what's wrong," Dave told Kurt, trying to tell him with his eyes that he was okay enough to go investigate. Kurt immediately got up and headed downstairs. Dave followed.

There was a news van parked outside of the Karofsky house. At the door, both of their fathers were arguing with a well-dressed woman. "The boys' kidnapping was a national news story and we've hardly received any information," the woman said, acting very composed in the face of two angry looking men. "Can you give us a few minutes for an interview at least?"

"I'll give you a statement," Paul said. "Both boys are healthy and recovery is beginning. That is all we can give you for right now. Please, I need all of these vans to get off my front lawn, now."

Kurt and Dave stood frozen in the hallway. It hit Kurt pretty hard that news crews were outside of Dave's house. He had been so caught up in himself and in Dave that he never realized the response there would be to the kidnapping. His father turned around and ushered them back. "Boys get inside," he said firmly, his voice sharp and his face drawn tense.

"Boys?" the reporter asked. "Oh can we get a statement from one of them?"

Paul quickly started giving them a tense and angry piece of his mind. Kurt's dad ushered them away. "Sorry guys," he said, glancing back strained. "We've both talked to the media, but they left us alone when things got dark..."

Kurt knew what that meant. Reporters had stopped bothering their families when they started to give up hope. "What now?" he asked. He looked to Dave and could tell that the bigger boy was pale, scared. "Dad, what are we supposed to do now? How are David and I supposed to go back to our normal lives when our lives are part of a media circus?"

His father didn't look like he exactly had the answer to that question. He looked uncomfortable and for a minute, Kurt was really worried about his health. He didn't need to handle something like this. "I really don't know boys," he said. "It's going to take awhile for us to even start getting a normal life back, but we're on our way. You boys are on your way."

They sat in silence for awhile, even after Paul returned, just trying to sort their own thoughts out. It was too complicated.

It got even more complicated, for Kurt, at least, a few days later when he was talking to Finn and the name Blaine Anderson came up. It sent Kurt into an absolute panic. He had forgotten where he stood before the kidnapping. He had forgotten that he had a boyfriend. "Oh my god..." he whispered, looking up at Finn.

His stepbrother immediately looked worried. "Dude, you just like went pale. Are you going to be sick?"

He sunk against the couch. "Finn," he whispered low. He had to trust Finn as someone he could talk to. "I'm still Blaine's boyfriend. How can I go back to my normal life, see Blaine and tell him that it's over between us? I'm not the person he fell in love with. I really mean him no harm, but..." He was hyperventilating. His breath kept coming out in desperate, shallow pants.

Finn grabbed him by the shoulders. "Kurt, breathe," he demanded. Kurt wasn't sure when Finn learned how to take control of a situation like that. He was glad Finn found that skill though, because he was going nuts. "Kurt, I think that the only thing Blaine will care about is that you're alive and well. The drama of relationships and stuff can happen but it's not important."

Kurt paused, tilting his head. "Who are you and what have you done with my stepbrother?" he asked with a nervous laugh. "You're so confident and assuring"

Finn pretended to look offended. "Did you think I wasn't smart before?" he asked. He shrugged his shoulders a little bit. "I guess that I just got thinking a little deeper when all of a sudden you were just gone…It was tough dude and it opened my eyes."

Kurt swallowed his anxiety down and sat back against the couch. Finn threw an arm over his shoulder and hugged him close. It was a surprisingly intimate gesture and not something that two teenage boys were usually comfortable with, but Kurt felt extremely safe and loved. He hugged his brother back. "I need to see Blaine pretty soon, don't I?" he asked, uncomfortable at the idea. "Even if he and I aren't dating…"

Finn nodded wisely. "Yeah, Blaine was pretty broken up by losing you, Kurt," he said. "I know Rachel's stayed closer to him than I have, but yeah…"

"Okay," Kurt said, determined. "I will set that up for tomorrow or something." Mostly, he just wanted to get it over with. He wanted to let go of the things that made up the Kurt Hummel of the past and move on to the future.

Chapter Text

The idea of seeing Blaine again made Kurt physically sick, not because he didn't want to see Blaine, but because of all of the things Blaine meant. Blaine meant dealing with the real world, when Kurt wasn't prepared for that at all. Still, he knew he had to get it over with. He called Rachel and she told him that Blaine was absolutely "heartbroken" and "devastated" and since the rescue was begging for a chance to see Kurt, but trying to keep a respectful distance. She described him as broken and Kurt wasn't sure how many more broken things he could deal with.

When Blaine arrived, Kurt realized that the boy didn't look the same. The first thing he noticed was the tired look in his eyes. Blaine appeared to be older, exhausted. He took one look at Kurt and his eyes closed, tears slipping past his eyelids.

"Blaine, hi…" Kurt whispered, his heart aching. He had missed Blaine so much and he hadn't even realized it. The romantic love for him may have fizzled out, but Blaine was still close to his heart. They had been close friends first and Kurt still loved him, even if it was the wrong type of love. Blaine was a mess, crying and trying to talk at the same time. He choked out the words.

"Kurt...I...I...ugh, thought you were gone. I hurt so much..."

They embraced quickly, Kurt speaking far more slowly and calmly then his delirious former - no, not former, his delirious boyfriend. "It's okay Blaine..." he soothed."I'm here. I made it." He had to make that the focus of his conversation with Blaine. He was alive, he was there and Blaine didn't have to worry anymore. It was obvious that the other boy had tortured himself with worry. Blaine was beside himself, staring at Kurt like he was staring at some kind of ghost. Kurt felt so much sympathy for him.

He very quickly led Blaine over to the couch and sat down. Blaine was still in a slightly hysteric daze. "I waited…" Blaine whispered. "I waited for any word that you were okay, Kurt. I've been killing myself thinking about the things that I could have done to prevent it. I just don't even know what to say to you right now…"

It took at least twenty minutes for Kurt to get Blaine to stop rambling. Even though he knew that Blaine had loved him, it still shocked him that the other boy was so emotional. He had handled his own ordeal with bouts of emotion, not the steady stream that Blaine was giving off. He comforted him until Blaine was calm enough to actually talk. Kurt asked him to talk about their glee friends, which Blaine did. It made everything very comfortable.

"Puck and Quinn are dating, sort of, I think," he said, shaking his head a little bit. "There was a lot of drama that went down with their daughter, but they've both been visiting her a lot and it's very good for them."

"Awesome," Kurt said sweetly. "What about Mercedes?" He and Mercedes had fallen apart in the months before the kidnapping but he missed her.

"Your disappearance sort of sped up the Sam and Mercedes rekindling. Oh yeah, Sam's back…"

"Oh," Kurt said, deciding that he had missed so much about the people that he loved the most. He sighed a little bit and looked to Blaine. There was definitely a lot to be done to get back to the life he once had, or something resembling it, but he had to try.

Blaine smiled a sweet smile, but one that revealed how much the disappearance of his boyfriend had messed him up. Kurt knew that he and Dave going missing had hurt people deeply, but he never really let himself think about the damage done to others. The damage done to them was hard enough to comprehend and work his way through. "God, I'm so glad to have you home." He touched Kurt's face like he would disappear at any second. Kurt wasn't sure how well he could handle being treated as such a precious item, especially to Blaine. He tried not to flinch away from the touch.

"I'm a different person, Blaine, but I'm here and I'm not going anywhere." He tried his best to emphasize the fact that he was different. So much had changed and it was never going back to the place it was again. He didn't want to scare Blaine when his, ugh, his boyfriend was fragile, but so much had changed. "I'm a different person, but nobody has to worry about me and Dave anymore. We're going to be okay." He knew that he and Dave would be okay, but it was for he and Dave…nobody else…Nobody else mattered and that was scary.

Life continued to go on, even though it seemed he'd never find normal.

He and Dave soon began talking about going back to school. It was only natural, despite the fact that it seemed beyond terrifying. "I'm afraid of being mobbed," Kurt admitted. "I mean the media, people at school…"

"That's true," Dave said his voice devoid of emotion. It alarmed him when his David got like that, but he hoped that a return to normal could help. Dave had been through more trauma in that basement than Kurt could ever imagine. He had actually been raped. Kurt knew that Dave was further from normal than he was, but he could be a good, supportive…whatever he was. He still needed to break up with Blaine.

"We will have support at McKinley though…" Kurt said, itching to go back. "Glee…"

"They were never my friends," Dave said, looking Kurt in the eye. Kurt could see a sadness in his eyes, as well as the deep pain that was regret. "I know that…you can tell them the good things I did for you when we were down there in that basement, but I think they're always gonna see the guy that bullied you."

"Possibly," Kurt said, remembering the way that Rachel had talked about Dave. Of course, he hadn't given his friends time. When they realized that Dave had saved his life and endured torture for him, they'd understand. "Still, they'll support us unconditionally, which we both need right now."

Dave let out a desperate sigh and leaned into Kurt's shoulder, shutting his eyes. Kurt let Dave cling to him for awhile, just holding onto the boy he loved protectively. "I'm here David," he mumbled. "I'm always going to be right here."

Chapter Text

Sometimes Dave found getting out of bed to be a struggle. His alarm clock rang at eight o'clock. He didn't have anywhere to go, but he had set the alarm for the very purpose of forcing himself awake. He didn't have any reason to stay in bed until the middle of the afternoon, plus, Kurt was coming over. They had decided they were going to go out to eat, or do something outside of their respective houses.

He had been having nightmares. It was hard not to think about the things that had happened to him. Falling asleep was kind of like a Russian roulette played with the dreams. Sometimes they came, sometimes they didn't…It was stupid. He hadn't dealt with the emotions, the dreams or the fears, not until they were rescued. He supposed he had shut out all emotion until he was free, safe.

Hesitantly, he got out of bed. He walked across his bedroom to the closet, where he threw on a new shirt and jeans. He looked at himself in the mirror. He looked tired and like he'd lost a bit of weight, but really, didn't look like anything big had changed. He sighed and thought about Kurt's insistence they go back to school. He just wasn't sure if he was ready for the attention that would come of it. There would be a lot of attention, even if nobody really loved him in the way that they loved Kurt.

Although he didn't think anyone really cared about him at school, there were a few people whose reactions he was a little worried about. Mostly, he worried about the football players that he had once called friends. They weren't expecting the person he was. They were expecting Karofsky. They obviously weren't going to have him.

He shrugged off the doubt and insecurity and headed down to the kitchen. He walked up to the refrigerator and pulled out some milk, followed by a trip to the pantry for the cereal. He poured a bowl, wondering where his parents were. Neither had left his side for very long. Part of him felt a little strangled by their constant presence but part of him really, really loved it. He needed them more than anything.

He found his mother a moment later, when she walked into the room. "Oh good morning David," she said sweetly. "I thought that you were sleeping."

"I'm trying to start getting up at a decent hour," he mumbled, shrugging his shoulders. "Kurt's coming over today, remember? I wanted to make sure that I was up and…I guess, decent to see him again."

She looked at him with a curious expression. She wasn't mad at him, or upset or anything, but her eyes narrowed considerably. "Kurt's been coming over a lot lately, hasn't he?" she asked softly. Dave wondered what the heck her problem was. Of course, Kurt had been coming over a lot. They were all each other had and Dave wasn't sure that either of them could survive without the other. He was most definitely sure he couldn't survive without Kurt.

"Uh yeah he is..." Dave said, shrugging because he wasn't sure why she sounded upset over that. When he was with Kurt he almost felt normal. That was good. He was supposed to feel positive. He needed something that made him feel good, when he was in danger of sinking into really, really bad thoughts. "Is that a problem?"

"No, dear, not at all," his mother said, in a voice that was nowhere near convincing. He wondered what her problem was, but quickly got distracted by the doorbell. It didn't really matter why his mother was acting strange when Kurt was there. Nothing could bother Dave when Kurt was there.

Kurt arrived looking very upset. He immediately reached his arms out and pulled Dave into a tight hug. Dave hugged him back. "I saw Blaine again and broke up with him," Kurt finally explained, sniffling against his shoulder. "He said that it was weird -- it seemed almost out of place after everything I've been through. He wasn't mad." Kurt seemed relieved, but at the same time there was sadness to him. "I'm not upset because we broke up, it's just…it's all so upside down. Life…recovering."

Dave nodded against Kurt's shoulder, guiding him over to the couch. "I feel so weird, since you just told me you broke up with Blaine, but I wanna kiss you right now," he said bluntly, surprised by his overwhelming urge to just kiss Kurt. He felt like he needed the intimacy that came when they were kissing. It brought back something to his heart. It helped him like absolutely nothing else did.

Kurt, to his surprise, smiled at that and tugged him down into a light kiss. He kissed back, smiling. "I think I needed that too," Kurt said, when their lips parted. He looked a little bit relieved. It was nice. It was nice, not just to get the comfort of Kurt kissing him, but to know that he did something good for Kurt, for someone. Kurt leaned against his shoulder, smiling wearily. "Thank you Dave."

"Do you want to go back to McKinley?" he asked, changing the subject. "I mean if being close to Blaine is going to be strange, or whatever, then we really do not have to go there."

Kurt nodded. "I still really want to go there," he admitted. "Blaine gave me a brief catch up on how my friends have been and God, I miss them all, you know? I also think that they could be a really good support group for you. I know that you don't really have anyone to go to right now and yeah, they will be the best group of people for you. I think so."

Dave frowned. Did he really have no friendships that were worth salvaging? Also, why hadn't he tried to talk to Azimio or, any of the guys who had once called themselves his close friends? "I think going back to McKinley should happen, soon," he agreed, in spite of himself. "Now lets go see if my mom will take us somewhere to eat."

Chapter Text

His first day back at school was terrifying.

Dave was dropped off in front of McKinley High by his mother, who would, with reason, never let him walk anywhere alone again. He got out of the car, looking at the school in disgust. He had always hated it and always would. Where was Kurt? He panicked, but kept the panic in check as he walked around. He went to his locker and then headed toward his first class, not really knowing what to do.

It was actually Miss Pillsbury, the eccentric guidance counselor, who saw him first. "David, it is so wonderful to see you back at McKinley," she said sweetly. It was a sickly kind of sweetness. There was too much of it.

"Um thank you," Dave said softly, not sure what else to say.

"I just wanted to let you know that my office is open to both you and Kurt at any time," she said, her voice nervously cheerful. She looked him over, her big eyes wide with sympathy. Dave kind of hated it. People could feel sorry for he and Kurt all they wanted, but they would never really understand.

"Thank you," he mumbled again, brushing past the counselor and looking for Kurt. He looked for him fruitlessly until the morning bell rang.

His first class was English. Dave was so behind that he ended up just quietly reading the novel the class was working on. Or well, he tried, but his eyes blurred over the lines of text. He felt the burn of his classmates' stares on him. He was seriously like some kind of circus freak. He hated the silence. He desperately looked for Kurt as he powered his way through each class. He didn't see him until lunch, but a familiar face caught his eye in his econ class.

"Dave, bro?"

Azimio Adams had been Dave's best friend from fourth grade until just the year before. They had fallen apart over Dave's changes. Dave wasn't ready to see him yet. "Z, man, hey," he said in a near whisper.

He hadn't seen Azimio look emotional since Mia Taylor turned him down in the sixth grade, but something pained crossed his eyes. "Karofsky, dude, you're back."

"I'm back," he repeated, dully.

"I'm glad you're alive," Azimio said, pausing and then hugging Dave quickly, patting his back. "I missed ya, bro, missed ya so damned much."

"You did?"

"Of course I did, man," Azimio said in a whisper, looking to his side before looking back at Dave. "I missed ya when we stopped talking, even before..."

Dave was absolutely shocked. "Z, dude, we need to talk later, okay?" he said, as class began. He quickly walked over to his seat and sat down. His heart soared at the prospect of having a friend, his oldest friend, back. He had more energy at the idea that he wasn't entirely isolated.

That didn't stop him from clinging to Kurt at lunch. "Are you okay?" he asked Kurt, even though he was sure Kurt was more than fine. Kurt was a lot better off than he was. "Is everything okay? Did it go alright?"

Kurt nodded slowly. "It went okay," he assured Dave blandly. Dave could tell that although Kurt was probably in a much better place mentally than he was that the day had been draining on him. "My friends sort of strangled me, but I'm going to glee after school today. Come with me?"

"Okay," he murmured, although he was unsure if that would be a good idea. He still could not fathom how the glee kids would forgive him. He wasn’t sure if he'd forgive himself in their shoes, situation or no situation. "I'll come." "

"You're amazing," Kurt said, staring at him for a long time. The expression in his eyes was emotional and confused. He wasn't sure what Kurt was feeling but he knew for a fact that there was a lot going on behind his beautiful eyes. He knew that Kurt was as conflicted as he was. There was so much going on in his life.

After school let out that day he met Kurt in front of the choir room. To his surprise Kurt reached out and grabbed him by the hand. He held his hand tightly then, rubbing his fingers over the back of Dave's. "It's been a long day," he said softly. "I also know that you're really scared of this David, but it'll be good for both of us. I have faith." Kurt's eyes were so sincere and full of love that even though he was scared, Dave tried to believe Kurt.

They walked into the choir room holding hands. It was only natural that every set of eyes in the room fixated on them. Finn was the first to speak, having had more exposure to the nature of Kurt and Dave's relationship. "Hey dudes," he said, flashing them both a smile. "Welcome home and Dave, welcome to glee club." It was as warm of a welcome as possible, but it didn't disintegrate the uncomfortable atmosphere. Even Mr. Schuester, who was seated near that strange piano guy who always played for the glee club's shows, just kind of stared at them like they were ghosts.

Kurt looked at Dave and then smiled a fabulous smile. "Stop staring," he said, taking Dave's hand and dragging him to a pair of seats. He sat down next to him and then looked back to the rest of the club. "David and I would like to be caught up on the goings on."

Rachel started talking about something they were doing in Glee, preparing for their Regionals competition. Dave kind of tuned her out, and if the expression on the rest of the Glee club's faces meant anything, they were tuning out too. He spent time looking at all of the members of the club. He wanted to know more about them, but at least they weren't looking at him as some kind of evil bully. They were just looking at him with confusion and uncertainty of how to deal. Dave didn't know how to deal himself, so that was okay.

Chapter Text

Kurt found that adjusting to normal life wasn't as hard as he'd initially thought, but there were still some massive speed bumps. For one, people treaded around him lightly, as though he was delicate and could break easily. His teachers didn't call on him, people gave him funny looks in the halls and nobody bullied him. The last bit was welcome, of course, but at the same time strange. Even after McKinley had become a slightly better place to be, there had still at least been the random gay slurs or verbal taunts. It was like he was too delicate even for that.

Things with Blaine were also beyond weird. He could tell that Blaine still loved him in that way, despite the fact that they'd ended their relationship. It wasn't that he was on his knees declaring his undying love for his former boyfriend; there were just moments where Blaine acted like they were still dating. He would reach out and grab Kurt's hand, or hug him a little too long. Kurt was worried he'd have to sit Blaine down and really talk that out again. It was just hard when Blaine seemed to grieve his disappearance so hard.

Dave also worried Kurt, of course. He knew that the other boy was going through therapy and getting a lot of good help, but he was under a lot of pressure. The news was still talking about them and he knew that Dave was still having nightmares. There were a few good things in Dave's life though. Believe it or not, his former best friend from McKinley was on his side again and trying to talk to him. As much as Kurt detested Azimio Adams, he truly believed that rekindling that friendship would be amazing for Dave.

On the Sunday afternoon following his first week back at McKinley, Kurt joined Finn on the couch. His brother was idly flipping through the channels on TV and it was just comforting to sit there and not do anything. Finn acknowledged his presence, of course, but Kurt just sat beside him quietly, silently indicating that he'd much rather things be comfortable and quiet. His brotherly relationship with Finn had strengthened a lot in wake of what had happened. Kurt appreciated that. Finn, although he was only three months older, was really taking his role as an older brother seriously. It was nice, something Kurt never imagined he'd have.

After only a moment's peace, something Finn flipped past caught his eye. "Turn that back Finn," Kurt said. Finn did what he was told and Kurt was left faced with yet another local news story about his kidnapping. It was near the end and he took a deep breath. It still amazed him that what happened to he and Dave was public knowledge. It shouldn't have been public knowledge as far as he was concerned; it was something nobody else could ever understand.

There was, however, a new spin to this news story. "Doctor Marjorie Miller, adolescent psychologist, believes that the boys are now at risk of a codependent relationship," read the overview.

The woman on screen spoke softly in a heavily accented voice. Kurt couldn't believe what she was saying. "In cases such as this, dependence on the other can grow to be too strong and relationships can be skewed drastically. Since no real statement has been given, we cannot make assumptions, but one can only imagine the psychological implications of shared trauma."

When the story was cut short by some weather watch, he frowned at Finn. "Do you think that David and I are codependent?" he asked quietly. It was probably a strange question and one that Finn did not understand. "I we spend too much time together? Do we need each other too much?" He and Dave did spend an awful lot of time together, but it wasn't because of any psychological disorder.

His stepbrother frowned and then shook his head. "I think you guys need to be together," he said. "After what happened to you guys, isn't that normal?"

He nodded seriously, Finn's words a comfort. "Yeah," he said. "Nobody gets it but us." He sighed a little and rolled his eyes. "This is too hard Finn. Life, thinking. I mean, I don't think that Dave and I have a problem but we're…everything is too normal!"

Kurt was surprised when his stepbrother's reaction was to wrap both arms around him and hug him. Kurt was just starting to accept that hugs were part of his life. He hugged Finn back, kind of comforted by how big his stepbrother was. He internally took back every Frankenstein or Hulk joke he'd ever made at his brother's expense. Finn was something who it felt safe to hug, to cuddle up with. "I'm sorry it's so hard," Finn mumbled.

"It's…just a lot to deal with," Kurt said, trying to be optimistic. He was going to have to be optimistic if it killed him. "I come back to my normal life and it's far too normal for me. Did you see the way that Blaine looks at me? He still loves me. That should be nothing in comparison to all that David and I have been through but I can't stand the idea that Blaine thinks once I recover I'll be okay for him. I won't."

"How do you know that?" Finn mumbled supportively.

"Because I love David," Kurt mumbled under his breath. He didn't really mean for the huffy confession to come out, but he was so emotionally drained. "I love him. It's not some stupid codependency we developed while locked up a basement together. I really, genuinely do…"

"I didn't think it was that kind of…thing," Finn mumbled dully. He looked at Kurt as if he were gauging how sincere Kurt was about his feelings. Kurt didn't hide it. It was the real deal and he knew it was. The news story had just made him nervous though. What if people tried to convince him it was some sort of coping mechanism while he'd been stuck in a desperate time? What if they succeeded at convincing him? He cowered in Finn's shoulder, groaning helplessly.

Chapter Text

Being in glee club was weird. Even though the glee club director had once told him he had talent, he didn't feel like he did. He was large, clumsy and everyone treated him like he was delicate. The only people to actually talk to him like he was human were Finn and his girlfriend. Rachel was very focused on the glee club. Kurt told him that she hyper-focused on glee whenever she was under any type of pressure or stress.

She practiced vocal exercises with him, something that made him blush like crazy. On the third day of his extra practices with her, she told him something that surprised him. "You actually have a very good voice," she said. "It's reminiscent of the classic crooners. It's…raw, of course, since you don't have a lot of practice, but you have a lot of potential, David."

That surprised him. "You gotta be kidding," he managed, unsure of what else to say to that.
"I don't joke about musical talent," Rachel said with an enthusiastic smile. "You have a lot of it, David and when you're ready to sing I'm sure that the New Directions will be happy to feature your voice."

It was so weird. Dave couldn't even begin to describe it. The relationships between the members of the club were so complex. Kurt tried to explain it to him, but in the end he just gave up and gave Dave a sweet smile. "It's complicated," he said with a playful laugh. Dave had to leave it at that or he'd go crazy.

Blaine was also a weird case.

Kurt and Dave were eating lunch at one of the tables in the yard when Blaine came over to them. He sat across from them and gave a smile that almost seemed to be forced. "Kurt, Dave, how are you guys?" he asked. Kurt had told him that Blaine was broken up by Kurt's disappearance, so there was just something phony about how hyperactive and excited he seemed to be. What was going on with him?

Dave also couldn't help the rush of jealousy over the way Blaine touched Kurt. His hand lingered on Kurt's too long and he kept trying to engage Kurt with his eyes in a way that was far from platonic. He knew that there was a possibility that Blaine still had feelings for Kurt. The jealousy was insane and stupid. He wasn't Kurt's boyfriend and Kurt had broken up with Blaine. Dave couldn't blame too much for being still attached to Kurt. He had loved him. Dave knew…well he knew what it was to love Kurt.

That was when it hit Dave that Kurt looked a little bit uncomfortable. He kept shifting away from Blaine, averting the other boy's gaze. He looked down at his food and scratched at the container his lunch was in with some awkwardness. Kurt didn't want to be in the situation and that made Dave even more uncomfortable.

"Oh man Kurt," Dave said, pulling an excuse out of nowhere. "Don't you and I have to go talk to Miss Wilson about the senior writing exams?"

Kurt looked surprised, a realization dawned in his beautiful eyes and then he nodded seriously. "I totally forgot about that," he said, packing up his lunch and looking to Blaine apologetically. "Sorry Blaine, it totally slipped my mind. Dave and I will catch you in glee this afternoon, alright?" He smiled brightly, forcing the smile and then dragged Dave along and back into the hallway.

When they were in the hallway, Kurt stopped and stared into Dave's eyes. Dave blushed, a little guilty over the move that he had made but it was to protect Kurt. "We already sorted out the senior writing exams," Kurt whispered, looking into Dave's eyes. He smiled very lightly, looking at Dave with something that could only be described as adoration. "Thanks David…"

"I could tell you weren't comfortable."

"Unfortunately, Blaine has been causing me some discomfort," Kurt admitted awkwardly, running his left hand across his right wrist, shaking his head a little bit. "He's very…amorous, so to speak and I don't think he entirely understands that our relationship is over. I think that what happened to us, to me, was very traumatic to him."

"I can sorta see that," Dave mumbled awkwardly. "I guess you'll have to talk to him again. I can help if you need me to."

"Thanks, that's sweet," Kurt said, cheeks reddening somewhat at the awkwardness of their conversation.

"I live to be sweet…"

Kurt looked around them and then sighed a little bit. He seemed to be looking at the crowd of students that were roaming the halls. "Can I talk to you really quickly in private?" he asked. "We can go to the choir room. I really, really need to tell you something."

The choir room was pleasantly vacant when they arrived. They immediately took a pair of chairs to the corner of the room and sat down. Kurt looked at Dave with wide eyes that were a little bit concerning. He seemed nervous about something, or upset, and Dave felt that familiar protective urge flare up. It was hard not to feel that way when it came to matters of Kurt Hummel. Kurt kept biting his lip and shaking his head. He didn't seem like the type to have a hard time with words but he was stuck.


Kurt held up a hand to silence him and then he spoke. "I'm in love with you," he said, clearly. The words made Dave's heart stop for a moment and he had to focus with every fiber of his being to make sure that he heard it. "I'm getting a lot of pressure and people who think that I'm codependent, or that the kidnapping traumatized me so much that I believe I'm in love with you, but I know that I am. You don't have to do anything about it and I totally don't expect you to want to do anything about it, but your true colors came out when we were trapped in that basement and I…I fell. Is that okay?" Kurt stopped talking forcefully. Dave could see the way that he was biting his lip to prevent more words from just spilling out.

Dave didn't know what to say in response to the rambling, yet heartfelt declaration. He very gently took Kurt's hands in his. He leaned over and pressed a light kiss to Kurt's lips. It didn't convey any of the passion that he felt, but it was a calm reminder, a reassurance. It was also filled with all the love he had to give.

"People have been pressuring me too," he said softly. "My own mother is worried about us spending so much time together and has been subtly encouraging my therapist to discourage me from my…codependent behaviors…" He rolled his eyes, recalling the way that she was not-so-subtly doing so. They really needed to talk. "But…but Kurt I love you too. I've been in love with you for quite some time."

In that moment, the whole world stopped and nothing seemed to matter because Dave knew they had love.

Chapter Text

Dave was never going to adjust to therapy. It was invasive, exhausting and often made him cry, even when he and Doctor Franklin weren't talking about sad things. It just played with his emotions, even though it was evidently helping him learn to cope with the things he was feeling. He wasn't sure if it helped him cope or not.

At his weekly appointment, he told the woman about what Kurt said and how they were finally honest about their feelings for each other. "He said he loved me," Dave said firmly. He was scared that she, like everyone else, would just him. "It was pretty awesome. I told him I felt the same and things just…fell into place."

She smiled sympathetically. "How did it make you feel to hear those words, David?"

Dave was anything but used to questions like that, but from her, he had to expect them. "I've had feelings for Kurt for a long time," he explained. "We…we fell in love when we were down there and even though it was, total hell…we found each other. I couldn't trade that for anything, really."

"Do you think that you and Kurt will start a relationship now?" she asked, looking at him through her dark rimmed glasses.

"I, uh, I think we're boyfriends now."

"Why the hesitance, David?"

"We're so beyond silly labels," Dave said softly. "It's just so weird to think of something as silly as being high school boyfriends. Kurt and I have grown up. We're not kids anymore, thanks to what happened to us, or at least, well I'm not." Dave hated to admit that the trauma had really changed who he was, but it had. He wasn't the same kid he had been before and would probably never be that kid again.

"I do understand that," she said. "Often times a traumatic experience really changes the way that you conduct yourself for the rest of your life. I am glad to see that you and Kurt have progressed this way though. He makes you happy, sweetie."

"I hope that I can make him happy too," Dave murmured. He wasn't really sure what the long term recovery options for him were, but he knew that eventually he had to find out how to make Kurt the happiest man alive. Kurt deserved it.

When he got out of his appointment, he thought about the parts of his relationship with Kurt that were far beyond anything a high school student could have. They had known a life or death situation and they had known love like most people their age couldn't figure out. In that way, they were wise beyond their years and Dave sort of felt ancient. Yeah, he felt really, really old. There were, however, some parts of a relationship he couldn't imagine he and Kurt having. One of those was intimacy.

He didn't talk about what happened to him down in that basement often. When he even thought about the way his captor's hands felt on his skin or how he felt when he…did it…his face went cold and clammy and he flashed back into those horrible moments. His stomach hurt just thinking about it and he had to close his eyes and steady himself. He was pretty sure that he was never going to be normal again, as long as he lived. Luckily, just as his thoughts got to be too much, his father pulled up. Dave climbed into the truck, eager to get out of his own mind.

"How did it go, David?" his father asked, smiling cheerfully. He forced it sometimes, but Dave honestly couldn't blame him. It had to be a tough situation to be in.

"I'm, um, fine," Dave murmured. "It went okay…" They drove home in awkward silence that was interspersed with forced banter. Dave was glad that when they arrived home it was dinner time, because that gave him something else to focus on.

Halfway through their meal, his mom asked him how school was. "I mean, I know that you boys have a lot to go back and take care of right now," she added to her comment, looking at Dave with a deep, interested expression.

Dave smiled at her words and nodded. "Things are really tough," he said. "Kurt and I are both working at making up for missed work, but our teachers are very understanding and I think that both of us are going to be able to graduate on time. It's a relief. Also, I, uh wanted to tell you guys something about Kurt and I." He looked from his mother to his father, glad that he had a chance to be open and honest with them. He hadn't always been that person and it was a good world where he could tell them just how he felt.

"What is it Dave?" his father asked.

Dave swallowed and took a deep breath. "Kurt and I are dating," he said shyly. It wasn't as hard to say as he imagined it would be.

To his surprise, however, his mother looked anything but pleased. She frowned and tilted her head to the side, setting her fork down. "David, are you sure that's a healthy decision?" she asked. "I honestly think that you may be mistaking dependence as genuine feeling. I don't think you two should be jumping into a relationship right now. It's not…a relationship can't start from such an unhealthy place."

"Honey," his father said, turning and shaking his head. "Don't say that. It's really obvious that there are a lot of strong feelings between David and Kurt…"

"I think that the boys need to spend some time apart, Paul," she said harshly. Dave couldn't believe that his own mother was so disapproving. Sure, she had discouraged all the time he was spending with Kurt, but he had thought that was all about worry. Maybe it still was, but still, the woman couldn't even begin to understand what he was going through. He shook his head and tried to find his words as the argument escalated.

"My therapist was really happy," he murmured, excusing himself, pushing his plate aside.

Maybe it was the ridiculous and codependent thing to do, but as Dave could hear his parents yelling at each other, he called Kurt. He dialed his boyfriend's number and clutched the phone like a lifeboat. Maybe he was dependent on Kurt, maybe they were codependent, but that was nobody else's thing to judge. "David?" Kurt asked with a soft tone that made his heart skip a beat.

"H-hey Kurt."

"You sound upset, Dave, what's wrong?"

Dave took a deep breath and sighed. "Yeah," he murmured. "I-I told my parents about us being…together. My mom wasn't happy about it and now they're arguing about it. This is just screwed up…"

"Why are they arguing about it?" Kurt asked defensively. He could tell Kurt was just as irritated as he was, if not more.

"She says that our relationship started from an…an unhealthy place," Dave said with a slight sigh. He knew that their relationship had started from an unhealthy place. That was fact, but that didn't mean that it would always stay in that unhealthy place. He and Kurt could rise from the ashes and it would all be alright. Why didn't his own mother see that? Why didn't she understand? "She said we're too dependent on each other again…"

Kurt sighed a little bit and Dave could almost hear him rolling his eyes. "Honey…"

"I'm just tired," Dave said. He was tired of the aftermath of what they'd been through. He was tired of being scrutinized and judged.

"I know, me too," Kurt said. "People are just going to judge. We can't let them get to us. I love you."

Hearing those words coming from Kurt, so honest and forceful made him smile, despite the fact that he felt exhausted. "I love you too, Kurt," he said. He wasn't sure of much anymore but he was absolutely certain that he loved Kurt and would love him for the rest of his life. Nothing was going to change that.

They talked for a long time, Kurt comforting Dave and making things seem a lot more hopeful. When they finished talking, however, Dave was left with a nervous feeling. Kurt was perfect for him and he would never doubt his love, but he would always doubt whether or not he was good for Kurt. Kurt was far less broken than he was and…well Kurt didn't deserve to be with someone so positively broken.

Chapter Text

Before they went out shopping one afternoon Kurt and Rachel were sitting in his bedroom and talking. Kurt was, honestly, a little worried about Blaine and Rachel seemed aware of how he was doing. "He's really depressed," she said honestly. Her expression was sad. "He's not taking losing you well. He still loves you and well, I think that what happened to you and David has completely traumatized him as well. He needs to talk to someone. I keep suggesting my therapist to him."

"I feel bad for him too," Kurt said. "Maybe I should have waited a few more weeks before Dave and I started walking around like boyfriends."

She shook her head. "Don't feel like that," she said gently. "You and Dave are really good for each other. It would have happened sooner or later. I feel bad for Blaine though. I try to help but I really don't know how…"

"It sucks…"

"It'll be okay Kurt," Rachel said, smiling at him. It was a little forced but Kurt appreciated her enthusiasm. "Are you ready to go shopping?" Kurt definitely missed the normalcy that came from things like going to the mall. It had been Rachel's suggestion and he was totally enthusiastic about the idea. It was something he'd loved before. That return to normal was a good thing.

Kurt was, however, a little worried that his return to normal wouldn't be normal. "Media is a possibility Rachel," he warned her gently. "They have kind of died down a little, but every now and again we notice a news van outside and … yeah, stuff like that really sucks. Hopefully, we'll have no problem though."

"Be positive Kurt," she said brightly. "It won't happen."

The closest mall to Lima was a relatively small place but it had a couple of good shops and Kurt had always enjoyed going there. He remained aware of his surroundings however, determined to get both himself and Rachel out of the situation if any kind of media attention arose. He started to relax after the first store, enjoying himself and immediately zeroing in on the perfect dress for Rachel. "You have to try this on," he said, picking it up and handing it to her.

"I'm glad to see that some things never change," she said, glancing up and down the dress with a skeptical expression. It was a very pretty black dress with a white belt looped around the middle. It was stylish but classy and she seemed to approve of it, despite her hesitance. "I'll try it on, Kurt."

After Rachel tried the dress on and showed Kurt how absolutely stunning she looked, he convinced her to buy it. They walked out of their second store of the afternoon. Kurt was aghast, however, when they ran into someone even worse than a member of the media. They practically walked straight into Blaine Anderson.

Kurt stared at Blaine for a long moment before deciding that hell, Blaine had already seen him. He walked up to the boy and smiled. "Hi Blaine," he said. Blaine had not spoken to him since he and Dave started acting like a couple. He seemed obviously upset though and avoided Kurt. "How are you doing today?"

Blaine gave him a tense smile. "Not bad," he said. "I was buying some…shirts and stuff…" He mumbled the words awkwardly. The three of them tried to make small talk but it was obvious that they were all failing to do so. Kurt hoped that he and Rachel could get out of the weird situation when Blaine looked at him and bit his lip. "Kurt, can we…talk privately for a second?"

Kurt looked to Rachel, who looked back helplessly. He decided to do as best as he could.
"Sure Blaine," he said awkwardly.

Blaine's face and tone changed considerably when they left Rachel for a moment. "Kurt," he said softly, putting a hand on Kurt's shoulder. Kurt tensed, not liking the way that Blaine was looking at him. "Kurt, I still love you." Kurt winced as Blaine spoke those words. His feelings for Kurt had been made quite obvious, but to hear Blaine actually say it sucked even worse. Kurt didn't want Blaine to love him the way he did.

"Blaine, that's…I'm dating David but I…"

"I don't want to see you throw your life away on an unhealthy relationship. You need to…"

Those words made Kurt stop avoiding Blaine's eyes and stare. He didn't want to cause a scene but Blaine had absolutely no right to call his relationship with Dave unhealthy. Suddenly, he understood exactly how Dave felt about the situation with his mother. "No," he told Blaine. "Blaine…I love you, as a friend, but you have absolutely no right to call our relationship unhealthy. Until you've been where David and I have been, you have no right to judge or know about our relationship and what it is and isn't…"


"I will always love and respect you because well, we were best friends before we were boyfriends. You're a great guy but you do not say things like that."

Blaine looked at Kurt for a long while and Kurt felt that he was going to break down sobbing any second. He turned to leave Blaine before that happened, rushing back to Rachel. Rachel saw the look in Kurt's eyes and freaked out. "Kurt, what just happened?" she asked.

"Never mind it, Rachel," he said harshly. "Please take me home."

Kurt eventually told Rachel what happened on the drive home. She took him home quietly and calmly, a diligent good friend. "It's going to be okay Kurt…" she said softly, a sad look on her face. Obviously Rachel could see the entire sad situation but all Kurt could think about was how judged and confused he felt.

When they walked into the front door, Dave was in the kitchen talking to Finn. Kurt didn't care that both Finn and Rachel were watching; he literally threw himself into Dave's arms, hugging his boyfriend tightly. Dave wrapped both arms around Kurt and leaned into the crook of his neck when he hugged him. "Baby, what happened?" he asked Kurt softly, completely devoted. Kurt was so thankful for his boyfriend's love and affection. He inhaled sharply.

"Blaine…" he whispered.

"Finn, I need to see you," Rachel said sharply. Before Kurt could even look away from Dave he heard them both leaving. Rachel was really good at handling Kurt in crisis situations. He would thank her for that later on.

"Kurt," Dave said, very gently reaching out and stroking Kurt's cheek. Kurt leaned into the touch, calming down and trying to get himself back together. It wasn't that bad; it really wasn't.

"Blaine said that he didn't want me throwing my life away on an unhealthy relationship," Kurt admitted, sighing. "I didn't give him a chance to justify how stupid he was being. I told him off and I got the hell out of there."

He could see that Dave was pissed off, but his boyfriend focused on calming him down. He rubbed Kurt's back, kissed his cheek and whispered random words that meant nothing but we're meant to ease his mind. He let out an exasperated sigh. "C'mon Kurt, let's go to your room," Dave said, guiding Kurt along the way.

Kurt let himself be pliant as Dave got his outer layers off and laid down with him on the bed, cuddling him close. Kurt sighed and relaxed some, leaning over and kissing his boyfriend. Dave's kiss was the sweetest thing and what he needed. "I love you David."

"I love you more."


Long after Kurt calmed down, Dave felt himself panicking a little bit more. He doubted himself. He wasn't good enough for Kurt. If everyone thought the relationship was unhealthy then there had to be something wrong with it. It was him. It wasn't Kurt because Kurt was perfect. It hit Dave when Kurt leaned into kiss him that he wasn't okay.

"Shit, I have to go," he said. "I promised my mom I'd be home early. Talk later Kurt. I love you."

He got out of there before he could cry.

Chapter Text

Kurt was worried. Dave hadn't been to school in two days and had not even answered his texts. He eventually called Dave's home phone, of course; he then spoke to Dave's mother who was less than helpful. She had gone slightly beyond thinking they were unhealthy to a level of almost hostility that made Kurt want to scream at her. He called again late in the evening and finally got Dave's father. Paul Karofsky was no saint, but he tried as hard as Kurt's own father, which was amazing.

"This is Kurt Hummel," Kurt mumbled when he heard the man answer. "I haven't seen David in two days and he hasn't responded to any of my texts. Is he alright?" He tried to hide the fact that he was freaked out, but it was hard to do when he was breathing fast and rambling at the man.

"Kurt, hi," Paul said. "David's…well, he's been going through quite a lot. I don't really understand it, but he's been…difficult lately. He won't come down for dinner and spends a lot of time in his room. He's sunk into something and isn't responding to either of us. I'm just…very unsure what to do. His therapist said to let him deal with it for a day or two before we intervene harshly, but I don't know…It doesn't make sense for him to suddenly act so forlorn, does it?"

Kurt was shocked. He didn't know what he'd been expecting but it most certainly wasn’t that. Dave had been doing alright the last couple of weeks. Sure, he had his share of issues, but Kurt had been acting more traumatized at school than Dave had. Kurt actually hated school now that Blaine gave him sad, hopeless glares in the middle of class and glee rehearsals. What reason did Dave have to withdraw like that? Was he sick? Or was it something worse?

"Do you think I could come see him?" Kurt asked. He understood Paul's reasoning for not hovering Dave the moment he started acting weird but Kurt was sure that he could get through to his boyfriend a little bit better than his father could; Kurt could get through to Dave like nobody else could.


Kurt wasted no time in getting himself to the Karofsky house. He was glad that it wasn't very far from his own. He knocked on the door, heart pounding so hard that he could hear it inside of his head. Paul Karofsky answered the door. Kurt took a step back, marveling over just how exhausted Dave's father was. He had dark circles under his eyes and looked older than he ever had before. This was putting him through hell. Kurt could tell. "Hello, Mr. Karofsky," he mumbled, trying to be polite and even-tempered even when he was panicking.

"Hello Kurt," Paul said evenly. "I…I'm glad you're here. I really just don't understand his behavior. He spends a lot of time in bed and barely eats or sleeps. It doesn't help that my wife and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. The last thing we want to do is put David through more traumas though. I think that seeing you would be really good for him…"

"Don't worry," he said smoothly. "I'll talk to Dave and it'll all be okay."

He pushed past the man and went upstairs to Dave's room. He knocked on the door, several times, but there was no answer. He waited for a second to steady his mind and then pushed his way inside. He had to be brave for David.

Kurt knew that the large lump in Dave's bed had to be his boyfriend. Dave shifted and grunted, turning around so that he was facing Kurt. He looked up and his eyes widened in shock. "K-Kurt…" he said, flinging the bedcovers off of himself and staring Kurt in the eye. Kurt's heart broke a little bit more at the sight of Dave. His eyes were lined with dark circles and he looked like he'd been crying. He looked as though something inside of him had just positively snapped. Kurt wasn't sure what was wrong with Dave and what he could do.

Kurt took a breath, crawled up onto Dave's bed and touched his shoulder. Dave responded by fighting back tears, immediately. "Kurt…" he whined. He was trying his hardest not to cry but it was a losing battle. Kurt could see the tears in the corners of his eyes and they absolutely broke his heart. He didn't want Dave to hurt like this and he didn't know how to help him.

"David, what's going on?" Kurt asked, stroking his hand over Dave's cheek and into his matted hair. He looked like in an instant he just given up all hope. Kurt couldn't stand for that. What had changed so quickly?

"I just can't shake it," Dave whispered, looking at Kurt as though Kurt might hold all the answers to how he was feeling. "I can't shake it."


"The feeling that I'm useless," Dave sobbed. "I'm not worth anything. I'm completely broken and I can't be any use to anyone. It doesn't matter how much I try to get back to something close to normal; I will never be normal. I'll never be okay."

"We're both so far from normal," Kurt whispered. "That doesn't mean we're not okay though, Dave."

Dave glared at Kurt, but it fell short and became a tearful glance that was begging for help. "You're okay Kurt…you're perfect…you're worth so much and you're going to do so much. I can't…I can't be anything. I mean it…I can't…graduating high school is as far as I'm going to go for accomplishment and my…my desire to do anything has just…gone out the window and I can't."

Dave's repetition of 'I can't' was a painful mantra that made Kurt's chest clench. Dave was so scared all of a sudden. "You should just get back with Blaine. He's not damaged."

Kurt took off his own jacket and crawled closer to Dave, wrapping both arms around him and hugging him tightly, forcing the bigger boy to sit up. When Dave did, Kurt leaned up against his neck and pressed a light kiss to the exposed skin there. "Blaine's damaged in his own ways," he assured Dave with a nervous chuckle but the attempt to lighten the terrible mood fell flat. "I love you David. I love you with all of my heart and you're anything but worthless. The bastard who did this to you put this in your head. I got that feeling down there but I couldn't do anything. I can now…"

Kurt hummed a low tune, singing wordlessly to his boyfriend. It reminded him of the first time he knew their captor had sexually assaulted Dave. That day he had pulled David into his arms and held him tight, singing to him until he fell asleep. It was all he had been able to do, because inwardly he knew what had happened to Dave, and he never felt so helpless.

"You're perfect Kurt…everything about you…"

"Shh shh…" Kurt whispered in between his soft melody. "David, stop raising me up…I'm human. I'm not perfect. But together we might be something close to it, yeah?"

Chapter Text

"I feel like I'm not worth anything," Dave said honestly. It felt weird to say such harsh words in such a detached manner but he felt detached. He was trying and Kurt was trying to help him, but he'd fallen into something that felt a mile deep. He was having flashbacks and just had collapsed into himself. He wasn't sure what to do. He was scared and he wanted out of the psychosis that he was in so that he and Kurt could go on with actually building up their lives. "If it wasn't for Kurt…"

The psychiatrist looked through her old notes and then into his eyes. "If it wasn't for Kurt then you wouldn't have value," she repeated. "I believe that's a paraphrased version of what you told me the man who kidnapped you said. Do you think that maybe you've suddenly started reiterating his words?"

Dave nodded blankly. That was exactly what he was doing, but he couldn't really find it in himself to stop, as pathetic as that truly was. "Of course I am," he said softly. "I just don't get why I'm feeling so awful right now. I feel like…like I did when I was back home before all of this, so angry and afraid that people were going to find out that I was gay. Now I'm angry and afraid that I'll never be good enough for Kurt because he's…perfect…"


"Why does he get to control my life when he's rotting in a prison cell?" Dave asked, looking up at her. "I just don't understand it…"

The rest of the therapy session was rather quiet, Dave withdrawn. He was just so tired of other people controlling his life. There had always been someone else holding the steering wheel in his life. He was conflicted for years because of his sexuality and the influence of high school and now that he was free from that, there were so many other things controlling him. He wanted to be better but he was honestly helpless.

His therapist did give him many words of wisdom, but he ignored most of them. When his father finally took him home from the session, however, one of her pieces of advice did stick with him. She told him to focus on something that he loved but never gave himself a chance to try before. She told him that if he put his mind in a good place, it would help him alleviate the symptoms of depression that he was starting to show. He'd at least start to head in the right direction before she started to talk prescribing him medications and stuff…

He decided that he was going to start working with Rachel on singing, like she kept pressuring him to do. It would at least keep his mind off of all of the stuff going on inside of it.

"Do you think that I could really sing?" he asked the girl, approaching her one day as she was about to enter the choir room. She looked at him with a curious expression, raising her eyebrow and smiling lightly. She looked absolutely delighted. Dave was afraid that he'd probably unleashed a monster, but at least this would get his mind off of the things that were really causing him some trouble.

"I already told you David!" she said, delighted. "You have a lovely, classical voice. Come inside with me. I have several songs that would fit your voice perfectly."

She had more than several songs that apparently fit his voice perfectly. They spent most of that afternoon running different songs, Rachel watching him with a very confused but pleased expression. He was getting a little frustrated from all of her comments and the complexities of singing that he had no idea about, but honestly it took his mind out of the dark place it was in. He couldn't say that he wasn't pleased with the fact that he felt somewhat functional when he was with her. As they took a break after what felt like the fiftieth song, she looked at him and smiled. "David, I never really did thank you for what you did," she said. "You protected Kurt. I don't know the details and I don't want to but that means so much to me. You're such a hero."

"We really have been saving each other," he mumbled under his breath. "He saves me every time he's near me."

"Don't discount you and all you are," she said and really, that was the problem wasn't it? Dave could not manage to not discount himself.

Dave had figured that the lessons he was having with Rachel were casual and just a way to pick up a new hobby and not be so…lost, but apparently the diva that was pretty much in charge of the McKinley high glee club had other ideas. The Regionals competition was approaching and Rachel was in charge of the setlist. Dave was barely paying attention in rehearsal when Rachel told the group her big idea.

"I think that we could benefit from showcasing Dave and Kurt in a duet," Rachel said softly. Everyone turned to look at her and Dave assumed that was because she was usually a little more selfish in her selections for competition. "I've been working with David for the last few days and he's sung a couple of beautiful songs. I think that given all they've been through, it'd be a very romantic, beautiful performance number…"

For a moment, everyone was absolutely silent. Dave ducked his head down and leaned against Kurt. Kurt looked around at his friends and then wrapped an arm around Dave, hugging him pretty close. Finally, someone spoke. It was Santana.

":I always knew that our resident bear cub had an awesome voice," she said, "but don't you think that'd get us some negative media attention? We might get accused of like…exploiting them or something." She looked at Kurt and Dave apologetically. "Sorry, guys, but I seriously had a reporter emailing me for information because I used to date him."

"Seriously?" Dave asked with a nervous laugh. He couldn't believe that people still cared so much about the two kidnapped boys.

"Seriously," Santana said with a lot more sympathy in her eyes than he was used to.

"It's true," Rachel said. "I don’t think the feature should be the highlight of our performance at all, but I do think that it should be at least included in some way."

"Rachel's right," Finn said.

Mr. Schuester looked at Kurt and Dave. Dave couldn't help the internal desire to hide from the choir director's gaze. He seemed to be carefully considering the whole situation, but Kurt had told him once that the guy wasn't the best at decision making. "Would you two be able to do it?" he asked, which was, at least, the sensitive way to go about things.

Dave looked at Kurt. "I want to," he said. The idea made his heart hurt and was terrifying but at the same time he wanted it.

"Are you sure?" Kurt asked.

Dave nodded. He needed something to live for, at least for the moment.

"Then we're in," Kurt said.

As they started to plot what songs could be used for the setlist, Blaine got up and left the choir room. Everyone looked at Kurt and Dave awkwardly, like they would have some sort of meltdown seeing what Blaine did. Mike, who was Blaine's only real close friend or so it seemed, followed him out of the room, quietly apologizing for his behavior. Dave felt badly. Blaine's life had pretty much gone to shit because of what happened to them too. It sucked. Nobody was getting out of this undamaged.

Chapter Text

Five minutes before New Directions was slated to take the stage, Kurt found himself nervous. It was funny. He usually was able to beat performance anxiety, but this was his first performance since his entire life had been turned upside down. He wasn't sure if he was the star that he used to be. Santana, Brittany and Tina were at his side, trying to comfort him, but the comfort was pretty shallow. It didn't make him feel any more confident about himself. He and Dave were singing a duet at Regionals. Yes, it was a small duet and yes it was a lead in to the group number, but it was still important.

Dave was, at that moment, with Rachel warming up. The group had worked through a long list of songs and had ended up with Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me," after Tina mentioned a mashed up version of the song she'd heard online. It was perfect for the situation and Dave's face when Kurt showed him the cd cover made it all worth it. Of course, now that the performance was about to happen all Kurt could really think about was how much he wanted Dave to be holding him in his arms. He took a deep breath and sighed. He didn't let his brain race until he heard the announcer's voice say, "And from McKinley High, we bring you the New Directions!"

Dave opened the duet. Kurt's eyes were half shut with nerves when he first heard Dave's voice coming through the speakers. It was beautiful. He didn't have as polished of a sound as the more seasoned glee club members but there was a soul in him that made Kurt's eyes water and his heart race faster. In his voice you could hear all of the pain and feelings worthlessness that he had been made to endure. In his voice, Kurt could hear the hope that there was a future for the both of them. He almost forgot his cue to step on stage and join Dave with the singing.

Just don’t give up I’m workin it out
Please don’t give in, I won’t let you down
It messed me up, need a second to breathe
Just keep coming around

When Kurt looked at Dave he realized that the song was so important to Dave. To Kurt it was just something he had to do to prove himself; for Dave it was a release from so many traumas, so much defeat.

It was only seconds until their bit was done and the group number began. Kurt followed the choreography masterfully, but kept his eyes locked on Dave at all times. There was something so amazing about the man that he loved. Sure, he was broken, but he was the most beautiful broken thing that Kurt had ever known. He would never become unbroken but he would become healed. They both would become healed and this proved it.

"I love you," Dave whispered in his ear as the final chords filled the auditorium. Kurt looked up at Dave and saw his boyfriend smile, something that relieved him so much in the wake of Dave's recent depression. They left the stage clinging to each other's hands and watched as the Dalton Academy Warblers, Blaine's old school, performed a pretty awesome number.

"Win or lose, that was way worth it," Rachel said in an uncharacteristic way. Kurt decided that he liked this version of his best friend.

After the Warblers finished performing, all of the choir groups were called onto the stage. Honesty, Kurt could care less if he won or lost the competition. He felt absolutely enlightened by the experience and had never felt so close to David. He loved him more than anything. He was going to be with Dave for the rest of his life and nothing else mattered. He was completely elated, on cloud nine and all of that. It seemed that the rest of the choir felt the exact same way.

Despite not caring if he won or lost, when it came down to New Directions and the Warblers, Kurt lifted his head to pay full attention. He hoped they won, not because it mattered personally to him, but because it meant a lot to the group as a whole. His personal victory was the way that Dave was smiling.

"And the winner is…the McKinley High New Directions!"

Kurt smiled and wrapped his arms around Dave, hugging him tightly. He couldn't let go. As the evening progressed and people commented on their bravery, he felt embarrassed but kept his focus on Dave. That was where his focus truly belonged. "That was so amazing," Dave said, squeezing Kurt tightly. He grinned, a smile that was so genuine it made his heart melt. "I think that I like this singing thing, a lot."

Kurt smiled back at him. "You know what this means, right?"


"We're taking Nationals in Chicago," Kurt said brightly, with a nod that he felt expressed his self-confidence. He was floating on a cloud. He looked to the side where Santana and Brittany were hugging each other tightly and Rachel was crying. He was definitely not alone in his happy mood. It was wonderful to be happy for once.

After the performance was finished, they staged a small ("alcohol free" Rachel assured him) party at Rachel's house. Her dads were rarely home, so it was just the glee club. It was nice and quiet, but Kurt and Dave had separated themselves from what little action was going on inside. They sat together on the swing outside of Rachel's house on the porch. Dave had his arm wrapped around Kurt and Kurt was leaning against his shoulder. "I'm so proud of you tonight," Kurt said.

"What for?" Dave asked.

"Getting up and singing the way you did," Kurt said, "and other things. You're so brave David. You're going to make it out of this."

Dave shrugged a little bit at Kurt's words and leaned against him, holding him tightly. "I'm going to do my best," he said softly.

"I'm so proud."

Dave smiled very seriously at Kurt's words. "You know, for a few minutes there, I actually feel like I have a future," he said. "I don't know what I'm going to be doing in the future, but at least it's a future, right? It's important…"

"We have a great future together," Dave said.

Chapter Text

At school the next day, Kurt and Dave were called into Miss Pillsbury's office. When they met outside of the office, neither knew why. "No clue," Dave said, answering Kurt's unasked question. It was very adorable, Kurt decided, the way that they knew what each other were thinking. "Shall we go in?" It was useless standing outside of her office and wondering. It was much easier for the two boys just to go in and see what was going on.

The woman lit up at the sight of the two boys in front of her. "Congratulations on the Regionals win, boys," she said brightly. "You've both been working so hard, both in glee and in your classes. You have no idea how proud of you I am."

The sudden assault of complements made them both blush. Kurt reached over and took Dave's hand, a little embarrassed. He wasn't used to having all of the attention heaped onto him and now that it was a regular occurrence, he hated it. "Thanks," Dave answered for him. "We really tried hard and singing at Regionals was…awesome. It was a big relief."

"Well the reason that I called you boys in here is that there have been some issues with your making up English credits," she said. "All of the other subjects have been a little easier, but the English department is having a hard time adjusting things accordingly. I worked with your teacher though and she said that she could give you all of the credit needed to make it up and pass the class if you did a documentary style project on any topic of your choice."

"Oh," Kurt said, not expecting that. It sounded like an interesting assignment, but his mind was so far distanced from school these days.

"My dad has a really cool camera that should make things easier," Dave supplied helpfully.

Emma was way too cheerful with her enthusiasm. "Oh that's good," she said. "I think that with all that you two have been to together, you'll make a video that the whole class will enjoy." Kurt swallowed a little bit at her words. Of course the school project was going to be yet another opportunity for them to be showcased in front of a bunch of people. It really, really sucked. He looked at Dave and shrugged.

"Is that all we need to know?" Dave asked, sensing that Kurt wasn't at all that comfortable.

"Yes, all you need to know is that it's due by the last week of school," Emma said brightly and no sooner did she say it then did Dave get Kurt out of there. Kurt appreciated the side of Dave that was protective and took him out of bad situations, even when Dave's mind was in a far worse one most of the time. Dave was such a hero.

"Well that's interesting," Kurt said with a slight laugh, trying to play off the discomfort the whole encounter with Emma had caused him. "What do you think that we should do for our assignment?"

"I honestly have no clue," Dave said, looking to Kurt with a small smile. "I'm exhausted, overwhelmed and will do absolutely anything if I can graduate high school."

"It's coming up so fast," Kurt said breathlessly. He had thought that he had more time to prepare for this, but that had been taken away from him as well. He just wanted to be freed of high school in the way that a person wanted to be freed of any other burden. It was just simply a needless burden.

Nationals was coming up just as quickly. As New Directions buckled down on choreography and ideas for a setlist, that was when Kurt came up with an idea for the documentary project. They could document the procedure of getting ready for and hopefully winning Nationals in Chicago. Even if they didn't win, which was a real possibility, just like it was the year before, there would still be an amazing story behind it. . That would be a wonderful idea and one without any devastating implications.

As New Directions began rehearsing, Kurt and Dave found out their idea was perfect. Dave sat in the corner of the choir room with a smile on his face as Rachel argued with Santana about the costume design. :"Santana, we look like slutty elves in your costumes," she said, crossing her arms and glaring at a piece of paper where Santana had obviously sketched out some kind of costuming design for Nationals.

"On the plus side, we wouldn't need to invest much in fabric to have those made," Artie quipped, rolling up beside the girls to take a look at what Santana was showing off to Rachel.

"Yeah and some of the girls dads would have Schue's head for going full pedo at last," Mike murmured, glancing around to make sure that Mr. Schuester hadn't heard what they were saying. Dave shook his head, holding the camera in front of him. Kurt had to hand it to his boyfriend, Dave was good at hiding in the background.

Ten minutes later they were arguing about choreography as Mike tried to show them the way he wanted to stage their big group number. "Make sure to get the moment when Finn drops Rachel," Kurt whispered as he passed Dave's side, laughing a little bit. He wasn't actually serious about that, speaking loud enough for Finn to hear. Finn stopped and glared at him in that same playful brotherly way.

"Kurt," Finn scolded. "We're starting to do the part where you come in. You and Dave ask one of the band guys to tape if you want to keep at it."

"Don't you only need like ten minutes of tape," Quinn said, crossing her arms and smirking.

"We want all the gold," Dave said, shutting off the camera and handing it off to Kurt to go find one of the band boys. Yeah, it was all a huge whirlwind, getting to Nationals.

Chapter Text

It was a week and half until Nationals when Dave's father admitted that he didn't want him to go. "I really don't know if it's such a good idea David," he said softly, looking cautiously at Dave, as if afraid of how he'd react. "I mean the media attention given to you boys has died completely, pretty much, but there's still a huge risk with having you out and about all over some big city. Also, I know it's paranoia but I'll be damned if I don't deserve paranoia...I don't want you anywhere unsupervised."

Although it was perfectly reasonable for his dad to feel the way he did, Dave hadn't expected it and it stopped him in his tracks. "Dad, the entire group has to go," he said, as if that were self-explanatory. "Also, we're not going to be unsupervised. Mr. Schue is there and so is our counselor, Miss Pillsbury. I even think Coach Beiste is coming along and that may or may not be because she's as worried as you are." Dave wondered why he hadn't actively acknowledged all of the tension until his father made one brief statement.

He also had to admit that Mr. Schuester watching them probably wasn't the most comforting thing. According to Kurt he'd left a bunch of teenagers unattended in New York city the previous year. Luckily though, he was pretty sure that the comfort of Coach Beiste and Miss Pillsbury would satisfy his dad. His father thought Coach Beiste was like, the most epic creature in the whole wide world.

You have to understand my concern," his father said.

"Trust me Dad, I do," Dave responded. He understood his father's concern so completely that it made him a little bit crazy. He knew exactly what he was afraid of and he knew his reasons. He had totally valid reasons and if Dave was his own son then, well, Dave would never let him leave. He would lock him in his bedroom after what had gone down.

"I completely and utterly understand. I'm just not sure what you want me to do." Dave was in a helpless situation.

"I don't know...David, I just feel uncomfortable letting you go."

After that uncomfortable little situation, Dave called Kurt and found out that his boyfriend was in the exact same situation. "My parents are acting the same way," Kurt admitted. "I think I finally got my dad to relent, but we are going to have Finn down our throats. Finn has been designated the official Hummel-Hudson watchdog. We're never going to be out of his sight."

"That's okay by me..." Dave mumbled. His teenage desire to rebel and be outside of things was long gone. He had no desire to run off by himself and if Coach Beiste and Schue and Finn were all hanging on his every movement, that was okay as long as they made sure not to strangle him in the process. He just wanted everyone to know that he and Kurt were safe.

The pressure of their family member's not approving started to get to Kurt and Dave quickly, so they eventually ended up calling a meeting with both of their families. Dave was glad that his mother was slowly pulling her claws out of Kurt and understanding that they were the real deal, but was still nervous about having his parents, as well as Burt and Carole Hummel in the same room.

"So," Kurt said, smiling as he looked at the adults in the room. Finn was lingering in the doorway as well. "Dave and I wanted to bring you guys together because you're obviously uncomfortable with the whole Nationals thing and well, we don't want you to be uncomfortable."

"We completely understand why you're worried," Dave injected quickly. "Frankly, we're both a little worried too." They had decided that they'd let their families know that they weren't entirely fearless teenagers anymore. They'd seen the dark side of the world and they acknowledged it for what it was. They knew the chances of them enduring the torment they had again was small, but at the same time they acknowledged that the world was dangerous.

"We also have to refuse to live in fear," Kurt said. It was funny, the way that the two teenagers were finishing each other's sentences. They had become part of a single entity and Dave found that frankly, he liked it that way.

"Nationals is going to be rough for all of us," Dave said, "but joining glee club kind of saved my life when it got too much." He looked over at Finn who gave him a thumbs up. "We're not going to be silly about it and are going to stay as close to our friends and our family as possible. We don't want to take any stupid risks or do anything dumb and neither does the entire club. Too much riding on this."

"We have a lot of friends and family on our side too," Kurt added, following Dave's gaze towards Finn. "We're going to be super aware of our surroundings and super supported, and well, it'll be over before you guys know it."

A lot of hugs and promises later, Kurt and Dave felt a little bit more out in the clear. It was an emotionally draining conversation and Dave promised himself he'd thank Finn for getting their parents dispursed a little bit while he and Kurt regrouped and calmed themselves down.

After they were left alone, Dave pretty much collapsed on the couch. Kurt smirked at him and joined him, curling into his side. "That was a little exhausting," he said with a tired laugh. "We did a really good job though David."

"I feel like I've aged about fifty years in the last months," he admitted. "Our maturity has taken the steepest uphill climb ever and it keeps on going."

"We're mature because we have to be."


For a long time they just cuddled like that, Dave's arm wrapped around Kurt's tinier frame. They were both overwhelmed.

Chapter Text

The plane ride to Chicago was pretty simple and well, peaceful. Kurt felt very good the whole way, sitting as close to Dave as he could in the restrictive airplane seat with Dave's hand running up and down his arm. Dave was very affectionate, constantly touching him, but Kurt was pretty sure that was reinforcements for both of them.

They landed in Chicago on time and with no complications. As they exited the plane and were walking through the airport to the shuttle they were taking, Kurt could feel the added security that their friends were giving he and Dave. Everyone was keeping pretty close and the adults were watching at every corner for something that could prove obtrusive.

It was kind of weird but it was kind of comforting at the same time. Kurt wanted to know they were safe from anything that would threaten to mess up the trip.

They had been given plenty of reassurance before going on the trip. Coach Beiste had even took them aside and told them that she'd be there if they needed anything at all, even an escape from all of the people suffocating them. He did feel completely and utterly safe, even if the levels of nervousness were obviously heightened.

Kurt smiled and held Dave's hand tightly as they headed to the hotel. The hotel ended up being absolutely gorgeous. It wasn't too fancy but it was definitely comfortable and pretty. They split up into a couple of rooms. Finn and Mike were staying in the same room as Kurt and Dave. Kurt was thankful that he and Dave were allowed to sleep in the same bedroom.

Dave surprised Kurt by being flirtatious the moment they got into the hotel room. "Never thought I'd get you to a hotel this early in the game," he flirted playfully, pressing a light kiss to Kurt's lips. Kurt was surprised because well, Dave wasn't usually in a place to be overtly sexual in his flirting and Mike was watching them with an amused expression.

"What kind of boy do you think I am David," Kurt teased back, sighing and laying his head on his boyfriend's chest as they cuddled up on one of the beds. They still had several hours before they had to go to practice, so the time was all theirs. He leaned close and kissed his boyfriend's cheek. "I don't give myself up in a hotel room to anyone."

Dave smirked a little bit, snorting at Kurt's words. "I'm not just any boy Kurt Hummel," he said, squeezing Kurt lightly into a hug and practically pulling Kurt on top of him. "I'm someone that I don't think you could resist."

"You guys are gross," Finn said, but it was good naturedly. He peeked his head in through the door and rolled his eyes at them. Mike, who was sitting across from them, started laughing. He looked like he was going to cry from laughter when Kurt and Dave started full on making out to retaliate against Finn. Kurt was exaggerated and silly and Dave was happy. It was all they could really ask for.

Their last practice before the Regionals competition was intense. Dave continued filming down to the wire, because the documentary film that he and Kurt were making for class was perfect. It was going to be amazing once Artie helped them edit it all together. He wanted to capture every last moment.

"David, can you help me with this?" Rachel asked. Kurt, who was standing nearby took the camera off of him and immediately started filming. Rachel and Dave had become pretty close lately and evidently when Finn was doing something with Mike, he was her go to for rehearsals. That was pretty interesting indeed.

"And this, my friends," Kurt narrated playfully as he videotaped them practicing, "is true talent that lay buried for years underneath the surface. Isn't his voice hot?"

Dave blushed heavily at that, and even Rachel was smiling. He couldn't help melt under Kurt's attention. When he and Rachel finished the exercise they were on, he turned to Kurt and rolled his eyes. "Stop flattering me Hummel," he said with a slight chuckle. It was cute but it was making him blush.

"I'm not," Kurt said.

Finn arrived from whatever he was doing with Mike and Kurt muttered, "film this," before running over and pressing his kiss to Dave's. Finn filmed them in a total liplock and Dave was sure that his face had never been redder. "That is what his voice inspires in me," Kurt said back to the camera, chuckling.

Their last rehearsal was only a couple of hours before the actual competition. It came faster than either boy could imagine. Dave was overwhelmed by the presence of the other showchoirs. "I had no idea that they were anywhere near that intense," Dave mumbled, poking Kurt lightly on the shoulder. He knew that Kurt was used to the fierceness of show choir kids but he was not. They were all polished, brilliant and did New Directions really stand a chance against them? Kurt was certain that they did, but Dave himself wasn't so confident, even if he believed they were fantastic. "I am so glad that we aren't singing big solos or anything," he admitted. "I'd die."

Kurt laughed a little at that. "As much as I wanted a bigger feature than I got, I'm a little bit glad," he admitted. "I'm not in the mood for a ton of pressure right now. I'm glad Tina's the featured soloist on our big number. You have no idea how much she earned that."

"She sounds amazing," Dave agreed. At least that he knew enough to talk about. Nobody could deny the fact that in every rehearsal, Tina sounded like a million bucks. She just had a wow voice that was obviously underrated because the whole group looked blown away. "I just hope that we can handle ourselves against these people." He glanced at where a group was rehearsing across the studio.

"Yes, the world of showchoir can be a little bit on the cutthroat side of things," Kurt admitted, smiling at Dave, "but I think we'll manage ourselves."

Pretty soon he and Dave were told, along with the rest of New Directions, to make their way to their seats to watch the early competition. When Kurt arrived he found himself face to face with the legendary Carmen Tibedeaux. "What is going on?" he whispered, cursing internally and underneath his breath. "I…what's going on here?" He squeezed Dave's hand impulsively.

"Well as you know, Mr. Hummel," the imposing woman said with a slight smirk behind her stern exterior. "I am the Dean of Vocal Performance and Song Interpretation at NYADA. I'm here because two of my Fall finalists are performing in these competitions and I figured this may prove useful in making final decisions about the two of them. One of them you may know as a Miss Rachel Berry. We need to speak in private for a moment."

Chapter Text

"Why is it," Carmen asked, looking at the two boys like she was some kind of royalty. She really was, in Kurt's humble opinion, but she acted like she was legitimately a member of some grand royal family, "that such a talent as yourself is not performing as a featured soloist for the New Directions group?" She looked at Kurt like the idea was some kind of travesty and Kurt honestly felt honored, but at the same time afraid.

"I just decided to step back," Kurt whispered, "because of all of the pressure that Dave and I have been under. We're both honestly just trying to get out of high school. I'm so sorry ma'am. I figured Rachel and Tina could handle…" He didn't even know why he was apologizing.

"I took interest when I found out that the kidnapped teenager in Ohio was a NYADA candidate who missed his audition because of his ordeal." She bowed her head. "I had one of my associates send me a recording of the duet that you young men did and I was rather impressed. Do you still have intentions towards NYADA, Mister Hummel?"

Kurt nodded very slowly. "I wish more than anything that I hadn't missed the audition I was offered," he said. "I will be there for the Spring auditions, no questions about it."

"I hardly accept auditions in the middle of the year," she said. This made Kurt very distraught until she waved an arm in a grand gesture and said, "I came to this show choir competition because I was in the area and two of my finalists for this year's admissions are performing here. One is a man from New York City and the other, well, as I said, you may know. Do you know how I found out about the NYADA hopeful who was kidnapped, Mister Hummel?"

Kurt shook his head.

"I had an audition months ago from a Miss Rachel Berry," she said. "I have to see her performance today but I am certain she's star material. What stood out most about her audition, however, was the tear-filled explanation about how she wasn't supposed to be doing this alone. Now usually such sentiments bore me, because they're contrived attempts at playing my sympathies, but she was legitimately distraught. This large boy, her boyfriend, had to force her to take the audition. She did splendidly despite her state."

Kurt had to smile. That was his Rachel. She would always do her best even in the worst place.

"What I am asking," Carmen said majestically, "is for you to audition for me after the competition. You will be competing for the spot with other hopefuls, but I want to extend the chance for two of Ohio's best to join me."

Kurt shook his head, unable to believe that this was truly happening. "Are…is this…I…"

Dave put a hand on Kurt's shoulder and spoke for him. "What he's saying is that he's honored," Dave said, obviously as intimidated by the woman as Kurt was, but brave as ever. "He'll be ready for you as soon as the competition's finished."

"Very good," she said seriously, clearly. "I know that it's rare to ask for such a thing, but you have already proven to be one that takes beating the odds very seriously. I will not be disappointed, Mister Hummel."

The moment she was gone, Kurt went pale and honestly started hyperventilating. He could tell he was panicking because the world started moving slower and Dave's hand moving up and down his thigh was all he could feel. "I'm so dead," he said softly. "I felt bad over missing out on my chances to go to NYADA but at the same time, it was like…a whatever thing because I had until next year. I don't know why she wants me to put on an audition right now. I don't even have music."

"She's a strange woman," Dave agreed, "but Kurt…if you go to NYADA you and Rachel can live what you dreamed." He smiled. "She and I have gotten much closer lately and I know that she wants that for you and for her…"

"What about you?"

Dave chuckled at that. Kurt couldn't get over how stable he seemed, given all of the things in their world that made them anything but stable. "I'm going to go wherever you go," Dave said honestly. "I have no doubt I'll get there." He leaned over and kissed him. Kurt kissed back, before pulling away and staring into Dave's genuine eyes.

"I could not ask for a better boyfriend…'

Pretty soon it was their turn to perform, though honestly the competition was the furthest thing from his mind. He had not even had a chance to tell Rachel what was happening, which was probably for the best. He wanted her in top form for the Nationals performance. The performance went off without a hitch, really. Tina finally got her moment to shine, something that made Kurt smile immensely, despite the nerves that were threatening to tear his insides apart. Rachel thrived on stage in a way that Kurt knew would make her a shoe in for NYADA.

When it was over, the others were waiting eagerly for the announcement of the top ten. Kurt, however, was trying to think of songs. "I mean there's always the classics, Phantom maybe…" he mumbled under his breath, while Dave ran his fingers over his shoulders. "I don't know what to do David. I don't know what to do."

In ten minutes New Directions were announced as a finalist for Nationals. In another fifteen, Kurt was able to tell Rachel and she was able to help him find a number that showcased his talent and the side of him that was undoubtedly unique. Kurt let Rachel take creative control while he battled the aneurism that he was afraid was coming. The whole time, however, Dave stayed at his side. Dave was the best boyfriend that a guy could ask for.

Everything that happened in the following moments led up to New Directions' Nationals victory. Dave filmed it for the documentary while Kurt prepared for the audition of his lifetime. He was incredibly excited for his team and knew the Nationals win meant something special to each of them, but his moment was right then.

"I'm ready."

Carmen had arranged a meeting with Kurt in one of their hotel's grand ballrooms. Dave and Rachel were waiting at his side eagerly. When Kurt first heard the opening strains of his number, he was scared. He was afraid his voice was going to leave him, but it came perfectly.

Dave was discreetly filming his audition from the side of the stage. Kurt wasn't sure what the relevance to documenting New Direction's journey was, but he had told Dave to keep everything he could on film. As Kurt sang the first lines, putting his whole heart into it, he could hear Dave mumble, "I don't know what's gonna happen for me and Kurt, but this is the start of our new life. I'm bound to go wherever he goes and well, you all know how far that is."

Kurt poured himself into the audition, determined to prove himself to Dave and the world, because it was part of the life he and Dave were destined for.