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What It Was, It Isn't Now

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Dave doesn't see Azimio actually break Kurt Hummel's arm, but he rounds the corner right after it happens. Hummel's still on the floor, pressed against his locker. His head is bowed, his legs askew, and he's cradling his arm like it's a baby bird or something.

No one's stopping to help him, but people are gawking as they walk by. It takes a few of them nearly knocking into Dave for him to notice that he's just standing there, staring, like everybody else.

Someone's going to come along, one of the teachers or Hummel's little glee friends, and it's going to look bad for Dave if he's standing there while Hummel cries over his broken arm. It takes him a moment to unstick his feet from the floor and move them in the direction of the front doors to McKinley High, and he's still fighting off uneasiness when he hits the parking lot.

Azimio is waiting at Dave's car, and he doesn't say anything about the fact that he just broke someone's arm, but Dave doesn't mention it either.

He texts Az over the weekend, first to tell him that no, he still isn't holding any weed, and second to bug him to get on for a marathon Halo session. Every time he has his phone in his hand, touches the tiny keys, he wants to ask if the police have stopped by, if he knew what was going to go down. He starts a few text messages asking if Azimio is okay, but he's acting like nothing happened. Dave's going to let him; the messages go unsent and he deletes them from his drafts. It can't be a fun weekend; Dave's tense, waiting for the other shoe to drop, so he can't even imagine what it's like for Az.

On Monday morning, two things surprise him: one, Az is waiting for Dave at their usual spot, totally not at home suffering through an expulsion or even a suspension, and two, Hummel sits in the cafeteria during lunch, laughing with his friends like it's just another day. Dave feels like he woke up in Bizarro World and starts questioning his own freaking reality, but Hummel's wearing a puffy sweater with a conspicuous navy blue sling over his cast. The sling has all of these gems or beads or something all over it, like a third grader's art project. He's not looking anywhere near Dave and Az's direction, keeping his attention at the lunch table that will never be cool, no matter how many Cheerios or members of the football team sit at it.

Az still isn't talking.

He knows he's going to see Hummel again for history, the one class they have together. They sit basically the entire classroom apart, Dave toward the left in the back row, and Hummel front right. He only ever sees the sharp line of his back, his clothes, the always perfect hair that he must get cut, like, every week to maintain. He raises his hand a lot.

Dave's late for class; he had to double back for his books once he realized he forgot them, and he's slipping into the classroom a full minute after the bell has rung. Hummel's still sitting in his usual spot, and Dave glances at him when he comes into the classroom, at his head held high in the air, legs crossed under the desk, not paying attention to anything but the whiteboard in front of him. His foot swivels in a slow rotation at the ankle, one of the little quirks Dave's noticed from years of being at school with Kurt Hummel, as unavoidable as a neon sign at night.

"Dave," someone says, and he starts. It's Mrs Mankin, half-smiling at him, which never means anything good. "Perfect. Since you're late, you've won the honor of taking notes for Kurt."

His attention whips back to Hummel, who seems about as pleased by the prospect as he feels. He opens his mouth but nothing comes out; Mankin's kind of a hard-ass, and she's not going to care that Hummel would rather light himself on fire than sit within a ten foot radius of Dave. Or that -- Dave would. He'd rather run suicides right after lunch on a hot day. Fuck, she might even enjoy tormenting him.

The girl who sits next to Hummel glares at him while gathering up her stuff, stomping off to Dave's spot once she realizes where it is. He slides into her seat, slamming his books on the desk. "I'm getting extra credit for this, right?"

Mankin gives another tight-lipped smile. "We'll see."

Dave stares at the clock while she blah blahs the day's assignments; she's really fond of lecturing and making them turn in these paragraph responses, and Dave's so looking forward to having to write up two of them today. Despite the fact that he's pointedly looking in another direction, he's unusually aware of Hummel's presence next to him, and it's distracting.

"I realize this is asking a lot of you," Hummel says in a low voice, nearly dragging Dave's attention away from the clock. He resolutely keeps his eyes on it. "But try and keep your chickenscratch legible."

Teeth gritted, Dave opens his notebook and rips out a page, and little flecks of paper torn from the spiral litter the desk. As a second thought, he rips out another one for Hummel’s paragraph response. He readies his pencil when that high voice right next to his damn ear, so close Dave's shoulders hitch closer to his ears, primly instructs;


"Oh my God, I'm not retarded." He has this urge to write 'LADY' in place of the 'Hummel' he's scrawling, but there's no telling what kind of trouble that might potentially get him in.

Hummel sniffs and adjusts in his chair, scooting until the back of it presses flush against his spine. Dave wasn't aware his posture could get any straighter. "Offensive," he murmurs.

Mrs Mankin gives both of them the eye, and Dave isn't stupid enough to answer. Annoyed, he scoots around in his chair, body-warm from someone else which is a little gross even through layers of clothes, and does what Hummel wants.

It's weird to actually take notes for the first time in around a year. He's careful with it; his handwriting is okay, but he doesn't want to give Hummel another reason to bitch at him, or Mankin another reason to give him shit. God knows what she'll come up with as punishment next, if he fails to deliver. He knows that Hummel takes notes throughout class in one of his binders, but Dave's out of practice. It's hard. Mankin's bad about putting topics on the whiteboard and actually covering them; she goes off on tangents. It's one of the reasons Dave stopped taking notes in the first place.

By the end of the lecture, his hand is sore and stiff, the callous on his middle finger red and swollen. He sets down his pencil to shake some of the stiffness out of his fingers, feeling accomplished at the page front-and-back of notes in front of him. Hummel silently rips the paper away from him without a word, literally looking down his nose at it with a wary expression as he reads. His mouth is pursed.

Surprisingly, all Hummel says is, "I can make copies of this later."

Dave shrugs a shoulder. "Don't need it."

The scoff Hummel gives is so predictable Dave isn't even irritated by it. "Of course." He folds the paper in half with his good hand (or, Dave supposes, his bad hand, since Hummel's right-handed and now he's got to rely on his left) and tucks it away into his manpurse. "I'll tell you what to write for my response. If you don't know how to spell something, ask me."

Dave's eyes roll skyward and he bites back a yes, Master, Igor will do your bidding, but only silently writes Hummel's name again at the top of the new paper. All the writing he's been doing this class period is so energy-consuming he's almost relaxed. History class is boring as fuck, but for some reason his body won't usually let him half-sleep through it. Typical history classes for Dave are spent being bored out of his skull but buzzing under his skin with random energy, texting people under his desk, and ignoring Hummel's obnoxiousness in his peripheral. The change in routine is almost nice.

Mrs Mankin stops by their desks right as Dave's transcribing Hummel's airy but consistent dictation. She tells him that she'll let them turn in one response for both of them, since there won't be enough time for Dave to write out two. It's a small favor, but Dave will take it.