“Kurt told me what you did.”
Dave flinches, curls in on himself at that voice, those words. Fuck, it’s like last year all over again. But he doesn’t retaliate this time, he’s too damn tired for that. He rolls onto his back, lets his head flop against the pillow so he can see Kurt’s boyfriend standing in the doorway. Anderson winces, and for a second Dave wonders what he did, what’s so offensive about his appearance… and then he remembers the shitty black eye he’s sporting right now.
“He… also told me what happened to you.” And now Anderson looks (oh fuck no) sympathetic. “I’m sorry that people took out their anger and hatred on you.”
Dave laughs, hoarse and awful. “Like I used to take out my anger and hatred on Kurt, you mean?”
“No!” The guy looks horrified at the thought. “God, no, I didn’t mean anything like that, it’s just… I’ve been there.”
“Yeah?” Dave doesn’t entirely believe him until he looks Anderson in the eye, and fuck if he doesn’t look genuinely pained, like just thinking about it makes it hurt again. And hell if that isn’t a really fucking familiar feeling right now. He looks away.
“Yeah, uh, let’s just say it was a Sadie Hawkins dance gone bad,” Anderson says, sitting down in the chair next to his bed. “My date got it worse, but that kind of… made it feel worse, for me? I don’t know if that makes any sense…”
Dave snorts, and then winces because fuck, that hurt. All these tiny little motions he never thought about before suddenly make him ache all over. God, he hates this. “At least he liked you,” he says bitterly. A week of valentines, of Kurt smiling at him like he’s never seen before, maybe fifteen minutes finally telling the truth, and what’s he gotten for it? Rejected, humiliated, outed, and beaten bloody.
“About that,” Anderson says hesitantly. Oh man, Dave can just tell he’s going to hate this line of conversation. “This may be improper of me to ask, but why did you do all of that? The cards, the balloons, the chocolates, all of it?”
Dave wants to snort again, but a phantom twinge in his arm stops him short. “I dunno, I hear you’re supposed to do romantic shit like that for people you love.” Anderson opens his mouth, but Dave cuts him off. “And don’t tell me I don’t really love him, I know my own fucking feelings.”
“I wasn’t going to say that,” Anderson says quietly. “It’s just… you must have known it wasn’t going to go anywhere, not with Kurt and I dating.”
“No, I didn’t know,” Dave bites out, turning his head to face the wall. God, he really doesn’t want to have this conversation, but he doesn’t hate Anderson enough to actually kick him out of his room, not with Kurt downstairs, picking out a balloon or something in the gift shop, liable to come back up any minute now. “I gave him the first one because I thought, fuck it, I should tell him. And anonymous’s better than nothing, right? But then he lit up like a fucking Christmas tree when I gave it to him, so I brought another. And another. And they all made him so happy, I didn’t want to stop.
“And you weren’t there. You were never there, even at school, in the cafeteria, anywhere. And since the last time I saw you, you were dancing with another guy at a gay bar… I guessed what must’ve happened. And I figured, hey, what the hell, let’s drop the mask. What’s the worst that could happen?” Dave laughs, bitter and twisted, and feels something hot prick at the corners of his eyes. This right here probably isn’t the worst, but it’s gotta be pretty damn close.
Anderson’s quiet for a long time. Long enough that Dave thinks (hopes) that he might’ve left, but when he shifts his head to a more comfortable spot, he can still see him out of the corner of his eye, sitting there and staring at him.
“I’m sorry,” he says at last.
Dave wants to laugh again, or cry, or both. Fat lot of good sorry’s gonna do him.
Worst thing is, Anderson knows that. But that’s all he can do.
It’s all anyone can do.
Dave rolls over and pretends to go to sleep. Some time later, he hears the creaks and swishes of somebody moving, the plastic crinkle of a balloon hitting the ceiling, and then a pair of footsteps. Finally, like an afterthought, the door to his room closes with a metallic click, leaving Dave to do whatever he wants in peace.