Pairing: None yet (presumably Kurtofsky, maybe Blainofsky)
Rating: R for language
Summary: Dave Karofsky is fabulous - just ask him - but he's starting to bend under the constant mockery of the football team's homophobic bully of a kicker. AU, my version of Fancy!Dave and Jock!Kurt. WIP that may not go anywhere.
The real trouble is that nobody believes him.
Not his teachers, not his dad. Not his friends, not even Mercedes.
"Come on," they say, time and again, "how much threat could he be? Look at you!"
Yeah, look at him.
Dave is a big guy. He's over six feet tall, he's got broad shoulders and he's a little thicker around than he precisely wants to be. He's got muscles, sure.
But – and God, people should know this by now – he doesn't have muscles because he's a physical person. He's got muscles because he's been cursed with genes that promise that every single calorie he eats is destined to remain attached to him, and if he doesn't go to the gym he's going to get bigger in all the wrong ways.
He doesn't lift weights or anything. He's not butch, he doesn't want to be butch. He does cardio. Hours of it. Treadmill, bike, elliptical. That's all he does. But his biceps are huge and his shoulders are broad and he looks like someone you wouldn't want to pick a fight with.
It's not him, it's genetic. But genetics can't help him become the person that they're forcing him to look like.
Dave is cursed in this body. He's convinced that half the reason the football team hates him so much is because he looks like he should be playing right end or tight guard or whatever, but him being a big nelly queer means their team has to miss out on his body mass.
He is seriously so entirely sick of being judged by his appearance.
Mostly he gets annoyed when it happens. But with this? With this one issue? He is seriously getting worried.
"Look at you," people tell him, over and over. "And look at him! I know he's on the team but he's like tiny compared to you! He's not even a real player, he's the kicker!"
Dave doesn't know anything about football, so he has no idea why a guy who kicks isn't a real player. He does know that people talk like Kurt Hummel's size should make him safe, when in reality it's the exact opposite.
Hummel is a smaller guy than most of the team, and unfortunately small guys always feel like they have a lot to prove. Especially when it comes to big guys. Like Dave. Hummel is always making a point to remind Dave how big he is, how Hummel can take on a guy his size without breaking a sweat. Haha, look at me, shoving the big guy around. Hah.
Dave doesn't know how to fight back. He isn't built for it, no matter how broad his shoulders are. He hates violence. It's hard enough to find stylish clothes in his size, he seriously does not want to risk tearing or dirtying the ones he's got. People should know that about him by now. At least his friends should know. At least Mercedes.
"Honey, I get it," she says to him, clucking her sympathy one day while helping him wash the blue ice from his hair after a run-in with the mismatched and dangerous pairing of Hummel and Azimio Adams. "I get that you aren't like them. You don't think with your fists, you don't want to fight anybody. I know, believe me, those are some of your better qualities. But."
There's always a but. Dave leans back and lets her run another handful of water over his scalp.
"Finn and the guys are right, you know? Maybe you'd only have to do it once. Maybe as soon as that pipsqueak little rodent Hummel realizes you actually will fight back, he won't come after you anymore."
Dave snorts delicately. "You don't even sound like you believe that. Why should I?"
"Mmm, the boy is tenacious." She smoothes her hand over his hair, studying his scalp critically. "This is as good as it's gonna get, honey."
Dave sighs and sits up, turning in the chair to regard his reflection over the sink. "God, wet hair just does not work for me."
"Luckily..." She goes to her backpack.
Dave smiles at her reflection. "You're my hero."
As she pulls out her hairdryer his eyes go to his own face in the mirror.
He seriously looks awful. Some of it is the hair plastered flat around his head, making his face look all the more puffy. But he's pale, and the shadows under his eyes are dark enough to be painted on.
He's learned his lesson about trying to wear concealer at school, though.
He really could be a football player, he realizes. It's not a compliment towards his pathetic, puffy, discolored face. He really does look like he could be some oversized meathead that doesn't care enough about his appearance to comb a little product through his hair.
If Hummel has such an issue with being the small guy on the team, Dave would be willing to switch bodies with him in an instant. He would kill to be slender and graceful like Hummel is. To be small, delicate. Pretty.
It's humiliating being an oversized ape and a gay teenager all at the same time. If only he could Control-Z the memory of that afternoon at Rachel's house spent learning about bear culture with her oh-so-helpful dads. One google image search and he was completely depressed. Sure, it's great that people out there like his type, but he doesn't want to be part of it. He doesn't want to grow into one of those hairy and tattooed men with their big guts and their penchant for leather.
He doesn't like that. He likes...he likes willowy and small and lithe boys. Pretty and charming and artistic. Like gay boys are supposed to be. Like the boys on TV, like the ones on the twink websites that Dave loves so much more than anything with the word 'bear' in the URL.
God, Jesus, Liza protect him, not like Kurt Hummel. Hummel's slender hips and positively lovely ass are completely neutralized by his hideous personality.
And what? He doesn't think Hummel has a lovely ass! He doesn't notice his ass at all! Hummel is the worst example of a homophobic, intolerant small-town breeder bastard. He doesn't even have an ass as far as Dave is concerned. He is assless. He is a pair of legs that slide right up into his back, and that's that.
Dave wilts in his seat and hums miserably as Mercedes slides a comb through his hair. "I'm so lucky to have a best friend who loves playing with boys' hair so much."
"You spoil me," she agrees, only a little dry. "You just pick all those fights with Hummel to keep me up to my knuckles in white-boy hair, don't you?"
"I don't pick fights with..." He trails off with a sigh.
Mercedes is looking at him through the mirror when he focuses on the reflection again. "Dave. Honey."
He shakes his head. Nice of her to look so concerned – really, he has so many tedious complaints about this school but he knows he has the best of friends – but her advice only ever takes one form, and he can't make her understand why he doesn't take it.
"I'm not like him," he says, wasting his breath. "I don't want to fight."
"If your choice is between throwing one punch or doing this twice a day with me from now until graduation next year?"
He shakes his head. The sink is still stained blue from slushy droplets, and his concealer-less face makes him look a hundred years old and tired beyond measure. He's resigned himself that from eight to three, Monday through Friday, he is destined to be entirely unfabulous.
But that would be fine. He has resigned himself to that. He can take that.
His problem, though he doesn't tell Mercedes and he can't tell any of the other people who already don't believe that Hummel is making his life hell, is that he doesn't think things are going to stay at slushies and rude nicknames.
The problem is, he's about ninety-percent certain that Hummel is watching him more, and targeting him more, and feeling less satisfied with every thrown elbow or tossed slushy.
He has a really strong feeling that things are going to get worse.
His dad tries.
Dave can tell, though. He can see how much it takes for his dad to face him with a smile, to ask about his day. He still sees the moment, day after day, when his dad pauses, draws in a breath, squares his shoulders like he's about to go into battle, and then smiles and turns to face his son.
His dad tries, in that he fights to smile and make small talk and he expresses interest in his son's life. And that's something. Really.
But in the end, Dave isn't sure which one of them his dad's constant strain hurts more. In the end, he doesn't spend a lot of his time around his dad. Since the very first conversation, when Dave swallowed every single ounce of fear in the universe as it threatened to bubble out of him and told his dad he's gay.
Since his dad paled, so clearly Dave could see it, and sat down so hard on the couch. And tried, even then, even in his shock, he tried.
"Is that why I couldn't get you to go out for hockey?" he asked, and the distant attempt at a joke fell flat between them. Like every conversation they're had since.
Dave can't talk to his dad about school. He's tried. He explained trouble he was having with some guys on the football team.
His dad asked him what the teachers were doing if there was so much bullying in the halls. Then he gave in to whatever the voice in his head says about Dave that he has to silence before he can look at him day after day.
"Look, son, I know you want to be a gay, and I'm accepting that. But, for God's sake, you can still be a man too."
So Dave doesn't talk to his dad anymore, because if he can't make a God-fearing diva like Mercedes understand why he can't hit back, he's sure as hell not going to have luck with his meat-and-potatoes dad.
Dave can't tell his dad much of anything anymore. Which is okay, really, because the more they try to talk to each other the worse things get between them.
The only people who seem to take him seriously at all are Finn and the other jocks in glee, the ones who know the real Hummel from playing football with him.
But that's a whole other strange situation. The jocks are torn in two directions as it is, and Dave has no doubt that if he pushed the issue and really asked them for help, he would be making them choose again. And he's not sure he would win. Football is a way of live in small-town Ohio. Glee is something they do for fun.
And Finn. Poor Finn's got the worst of it.
"He's not my brother," he tells Dave once, when Dave shows up in glee rehearsal shaking and holding his arm. "If he hadn't tried to fight me over some stupid joke last year his dad and my mom wouldn't have gotten called up here and they probably would never have even met."
But Hummel is family to Finn now that their parents are married. It shows more every day. "He's really not that bad away from school," Finn says now and then, coming up to Dave with that sheepish, awkward grin on his face. "I could talk to him about you, but he gets a little...he really doesn't like you."
No shit, Dave is too classy to retort, time after time.
He can't count on the glocks for help, even if they listen to his complaints with more sympathy than most people. He can't count on his dad or the teachers or Mercedes or anyone else. No one can get past Hummel's craziness or Dave's supposedly 'intimidating' size. Dave doesn't look like a victim, so no one is coming to his aid.
But there's just two months and one year left. And it's only once or twice or three times a day.
Dave might be more of a victim than anyone his size should be, but he's stronger than Hummel thinks. He can take whatever that skinny little bigot can dish out.
That's what he tells himself, at least.
"What's up, queerboy?"
As always, there's a moment when Dave lays eyes on Hummel that he thinks, 'what, him? You're scared of him?' When he has to look down at him, when Hummel comes up all bravado and smirks, drowning in that hideous shapeless football jacket the jocks all wear.
That moment passes when Dave looks at Hummel's face and sees, clearly, that there is a real edge in his eyes. There is something in his head that burns at him, and it seems to flare up hottest whenever he looks at Dave.
Dave frowns at Hummel and twists back to his locker. He pretends to ignore him, listening to his dragging footsteps, and braces himself as Hummel passes by.
The shove comes right on time, and Dave gets shoved but he's ready, he's got his arm out to catch at the back of his locker.
Hummel smirks and twists, walking backwards the next few steps, confident that anyone in his way will get out fast. "You ever get a boner when I shove you, Davey? I'm probably the only guy around who ever touches your fat ass."
Dave's throat works, but he tugs out his physics book, refusing to even look at him.
Kurt stops moving – Dave is hyper-aware of the sound of his footsteps, pretty much constantly – and his words are almost a shout.
The halls aren't too crowded, but there's a notable silence around them after Kurt's words.
Dave swallows and shuts his locker door. He turns, deliberately walking away from Hummel even though his phyics class is the other way.
"Oh, no you don't. I asked you a question, princess."
Hummel's feet pad after him, and Dave fights back a shiver of worry.
"Hey! I'm talking to you."
Dave glances around, but everyone either stares in blatant amusement or looks away from him before he can make eye contact.
Useless idiots. So fucking scared of going against a jock.
Dave stops moving and turns abruptly. He regards Hummel's round, angry, somehow still pretty face. "Can I help you?" he asks.
Hummel stops moving. His eyes dart from side to side, taking in their audience. "You heard me, Queerofsky. I said I bet you get a hard-on when I shove you around, because no one else would touch your big fat ass."
Dave draws in a breath and speaks clearly, ignoring the butterflies in his stomach. "Is that what you're going for, Hummel? Is that why you can't stop touching me?"
There's a hushed silence, a twitter of a laugh from someone back in the crowd.
Hummel's face loses color. His eyes flash with something, some kind of...emotion, or something, that's deep and strong and scary.
Dave backs up a step, and he doesn't care how it makes him look.
"Let's get something straight here," he says, his voice cold and tight. He's got an odd voice, tenor and clear but usually choking with hostility. It's especially scary all of the sudden. "You're the fag, Karofsky. Not me. You're the sick freak who gets his rocks off getting shoved into lockers. Is that why you won't fight back? Huh? You're that hard up to get touched?"
He's close by now, too close, and Dave backs up again. Nobody moves around them, probably scared to get Hummel's eyes turned on them.
From the look of it, though, Hummel's only got eyes for Dave.
"Well? Say something, nancy. You're a big guy, why the hell don't you fight back? You that scared of me? Or you just trying to get my hands on you. Huh?"
Dave's eyes fly back over Hummel's head, and he swallows to see Finn pushing to the front of the crowd, Puck right beside him.
Hummel doesn't move. "This is none of your business, Finn."
"No, man, I told you. You're going too far lately." Finn keeps coming, and Dave can't help but watch him and Puck coming, in case they'd vanish if he looked away.
Hummel only glances back when they're right behind him. He smirks. "Et tu, Puckerman? You're gonna take the queer's side because you sing and dance together? Or is he turning you into queers too?"
Finn frowns at Hummel, and he seems sincerely confused. "I don't get it," he says, his voice quieter. "Why the hell are you picking on Dave so much lately?"
Hummel looks back at Dave, smirking. "Why wouldn't I? Look at him."
"Why don't you losers get to class?" Puck suggests, talking over Hummel's last words.
Puck isn't Hummel – he's less apt to snap these days than Hummel is – but people still listen to him. Footsteps shuffle off in all directions, and Dave flinches as snickers blossom up from further down the halls as people get far away enough to react.
Finn just frowns at Hummel, paying the other kids no attention. "I'm serious, dude. You're never this bad outside of school. You're a cool guy away from here. And your dad would-"
"Shut up, Finn."
"Your dad would kick your ass if he knew what you were like here. He knows something's going on. He's always asking me lately what's wrong with you. I wonder if I should just tell him."
"You shut up, Finn!" Hummel wheels around, all his fury landing on Finn. "You don't say a word to my dad. You've got no right to talk to him about me!"
"He'd be cool with it. If you had something to tell him." Finn's eyes flash back to Dave and then to Hummel again, some meaning to that look that Dave doesn't pick up on. "You know he would, Kurt. He'd understand. He just worries about you."
"Shut up!" Hummel stalks forward and shoves at Finn, but as big as his anger makes him seem it's still like a reed smacking against the trunk of a tree in a breeze.
Finn shakes his head. "Leave him alone, I've told you. You're going too far, and Dave's my friend."
God, Dave's going to owe Finn the most embarrassing hug later on.
Hummel throws his hands up. "Fine! Whatever, protect the giant fairy." He turns on his heel and glowers at Dave. "They won't always be around, Queerofsky."
Dave swallows but meets his eyes – he's not brave, not really, but Finn and Puck are right here, and Hummel won't try anything.
Hummel stalks towards him, and when he passes he reaches out, same as always, and plants his palm in Dave's chest to shove him back against the locker.
For a moment, between his glare and the smirk that follows, there's another look on his face. Something...pinched, desperate. Something else.
Hummel moves down the hall, finally, those dragging footsteps fading into silence.
Dave swallows and faces Finn and Puck. "Thanks," he says quietly.
"Whatever. You really ought to just punch him," Puck answers with his usual careless thuggery. "We could give you some lessons if you want. Nobody who meets the Pucklet here ever comes back for more," he adds, wagging a fist and grinning.
"Hey, so," Finn says suddenly, his gaze focusing on Dave suddenly. "Rachel wants to talk to you during lunch."
"Yeah?" Relief makes him keep pace with Finn and Puck as they head down the hall. Dave wants to roll his eyes to express his reaction to a conversation with Rachel properly, but it's hard to tell from one minute to the next if Finn loves Rachel or hates her. He doesn't want to risk annoying Finn after that rescue.
"Yeah, she's got some crazy idea about learning what that group from Dalton's going to do for Sectionals. I'll let her tell you, but it involves you and a stolen uniform."
Dave laughs, mostly relief but there is some genuine humor to be found in Rachel's machinations. "You realize she's insane, right?"
"Hey, it'll get you in the same room as a hundred private school guys. That's hot, isn't it?" Puck elbows him. "If it were girls I'd think it was hot, so."
Dave considers that, and addresses what he feels is the most pertinent part of what Puck has said in the last few minutes. "Pucklet? You named your fist? Honestly?"
"Hell yeah. I got a name for every appendage. You wanna know what I call my-"
"No," Dave and Finn say together, loud and firm. Dave shoots Finn a grin from behind Puck.
Finn smiles back, but it's small and tight, and Dave thinks his mind is still on Hummel. Finn is a good guy to be worried about that psychopath.
Dave wonders briefly what Finn meant when he told Hummel that his dad would understand if he had to tell him anything.