Author : DHKnightly
Title : Cough Syrup
Notes : Please be nice, it's the first story I've posted in like, six years.
Forgive me if the story's a bit boring, I just had this compulsion to write it.
Warnings - Triggers, suicide, slurs, the f-word.
Life's too short to even care at all
I'm losing my mind, losing my mind, losing control
'It's just your imagination.'
'They're not all staring at you.
'Stop imagining things, Dave.'
All of these thoughts rushed through his head as Dave Karofsky made his way to the men's locker rooms for football practice after school. He couldn't help but feel eyes piercing through his skin as he walked, conversations quieting as he passed couples and groups congregating at open lockers. He calmed himself by softly humming a tune, one of the songs he remembered performing with the Glee club back at McKinley for half time. 'Heads Will Roll', if he remembered correctly. Still hearing the slight whispers, he couldn't help but feel slightly nervous.
'They're not talking about you.'
'What are they looking at?'
'They're not looking at you.'
As he entered the locker room, he instantly pushed the odd feelings out of his mind, and a smile flickered to his face. It was nice to be accepted and popular, all without bullying students and pushing around his peers that didn't deserve it. He ceased his humming as he entered, and his eyes flicked around to his fellow team mates, taking in their faces. He felt the smile drop from his face as he made his way around to his locker, inconveniently located at the back of the room.
'What's with that smile?'
'Why is he covering himself like that?'
'Why are they laughing?'
He couldn't help the impending feeling of dread that suddenly overcame him as he turned the corner, his eyes finally placing themselves on his gym locker. His locker, which had been bestowed upon him by the football coach just earlier that year. His locker, the locker his team mates had decorated for his birthday not a month ago with streamers and balloons. His locker, that was the embodiment of the acceptance he had striven for, and finally found, no violence needed.
Three pink letters, crudely drawn and standing out amongst the metal pastel of the lockers. Three letters that he never thought he would ever see aimed at him. Three letters that he never thought would pierce his heart as harshly as they did right now.
His breathing sped up, shoulders tensing. His peers, his team mates, his BEST FRIENDS, finally spoke up, spewing hateful and homophobic slurs at his back. He could feel the telltale sting of tears threatening to fill his eyes as he turned, his eyes darting from face to face in the crowded space.
"That's terrible." His team mate Nick's voice was heard from across the room, smirk evident, and it was suddenly very clear who the culprit was.
'They hate you.'
His eyes fell to the ground so as not to meet the hateful glares of his once-team mates and friends. He was choosing to leave as gracefully as he possibly could, not allowing the tears of shame and self-hate to overflow.
It was this action that caused him not to see the brick wall of the quarterback that chose that moment to swerve his beefy body in his direction, his large, stone figure grazing Dave's shoulder and giving a harsh shove. Pain erupted through his body as his right shoulder connected with cold metal. He couldn't help but flash back to when the roles were reversed, and it was a delicate, porcelain figure that was meeting the lockers with such violence.
Nick's face was suddenly all he could see, flames burning in the blonde teenager's eyes as he widened his stance, confrontation clear in his body language.
"You wanna go?" Was barked harshly in his face, small speckles of spit landing on Dave's face in the delivery. Dave couldn't help but flinch, turning away as his eyes stumbled from face to hateful face.
Is this what having a panic attack felt like? His breath was short, his throat constricted, though his heart was beating a mile a minute. His vision swam as he managed to stumble his way to the swinging door that led to the hallway, taunts and vicious laughter echoing in his ears as he finally made it to the freedom outside the locker room.
"… Wonder if he's ever looked at me…"
"… Bet he's the bitch of the relationship…"
"… Going to hell…"
"… Sick freak…"
Outside was no better than inside, the reality of which caused his heartbeat to speed up tenfold and sweat to bead on his forehead. They WERE talking about him. They WERE looking at him. He hadn't been imagining it. They knew. They ALL KNEW.
Desperately, he clutched the strap to his hockey bag, as though it was the only thing grounding him to earth. At this moment, that statement was almost ninety-five percent true.
'Just get to your locker.'
'Get your things.'
Summoning up all his courage, he managed to stumble his way down the hallway, his classmates piercing stares blaringly obvious now that he was aware of the situation. As he neared his locker, he spied his best friend, Richard, his back to Dave, blocking his final destination.
"Rich…" He managed to croak out his best friend's name, relief washing over him at finally being able to see a friendly face amongst all this madness, "Rich, man, you'll never believe what just happened…"
It was then he noticed the sharpie in his friend's hand, and the black smudges on the metal of HIS LOCKER. Black smudges that were being made by his BEST FRIEND, Richard. He couldn't quite make out the exact words that were being written, and he wasn't sure he wanted to strain himself to find out.
"R-Rich?" He questioned, and only at the questioning statement did his friend finally turn around, his eyes flashing and his sneer evident. Dave's heart went cold as he took in the unfamiliar, hateful look on his friend's face, and he involuntarily took a step backwards, his eyes widening with shock, "Rich, what's going on?"
"What's going on? Really, Dave? WHAT'S GOING ON?" Rich was the captain of the hockey team, and always managed to command the attention of a crowd when he bothered to try. Apparently his goal was to attract a crowd now, as his voice reached higher-than-normal volume and he slammed his first harshly on the locker in front of him. The loud clang of fist hitting metal caused Dave to flinch, and he took another step backward, his breath once again speeding up, this time in fear.
His gaze flickered towards his friend's fist, clenched so hard it was shaking, still touching the cool metal of the locker. He took in the back marks under his friend's fist, a strange roaring starting in his ears as he read the message loud and clear.
'GO DIE, HOMO.'
"DON'T you dare say my name, you sick fucking freak!" The volume of his voice caused Dave to flinch again, but he stood his ground, eyes stinging as he struggled to remain standing. He opened his mouth to reply, only to be cut off once again by his … former… best friend, "How many times did you check me out during our friendship, huh? What, did you think you could infest me with your sick ways? People like you deserve to die. How dare you walk around like you're just like us normal people. Who do you think you are?"
Dave chose not to respond, feeling the lump in his throat grow to the size of a baseball. He feared that if he tried to speak, he would lose it. Hysteria was creeping in on him from all angles, and he could hear the whispers in the halls, could see their eyes scrutinizing him, judging him.
'Get your things.'
He moved to the padlock of his locker, eyes down, away from the hateful message that sprawled across it. In the process, he was forced to push past his once-friend, his shoulder grazing the other teen's chest as he slipped sideways past him.
He barely blinked and his face was pressed harshly against grated metal, his hands pinned behind him, his knees bent at an awkward angle. He couldn't see behind him, but he figured the prosecutor was most likely Richard, who had been the only one within a close enough distance to put him in a hold that fast. Dave closed his eyes, willing his tears to not fall.
'It'll be worse if you cry.'
'Just because you're gay doesn't mean you're a sissy.'
'Suck it up.'
"Listen, homo." Richard's voice was like knives as his words pierced his brain, "You come near me again, I will fucking END you. I don't ever want to see your faggy face again."
He was released, then, and Richard was off down the hallway, taking most of the crowd with him, though some remained, gawking, whispering, and glaring to their heart's content. He hurriedly gathered his things and shut his locker, eyes once again avoiding the black words standing out against the paint, a beacon of bigotry. He headed hurriedly towards the doors, his mind on nothing more but getting home, getting to a safe place, getting away, getting out.
The fresh air hitting his skin as he emerged through the double doors was like a new beginning for Dave, and he breathed deeply, ignoring the shuddering exhale he gave as he struggled to control his tears.
He closed his eyes, allowing the soft February breeze to waft over his skin as he tried to calm himself down, knowing that he would never be able to drive in his current state. He vaguely heard tires approaching, but paid them no mind, clutching the strap of his hockey bag as he took deep, shaky breaths.
And then it hit him. Literally.
The smell overtook him before the reality of the situation did, and he was so dumbfounded that he allowed himself to become a sitting duck - the perfect target. After the first, another liquid-filled balloon smashed against his forehead, causing him to sputter, his gag reflex kicking in, as he fell to his knees, unable to stop his legs from collapsing from beneath him.
Pee balloons. It had seemed so funny, so original, so clever when they had been throwing them at Kurt. Now as urine dripped down his face, his arms, his… everything, he no longer found the humor. Disgust and shame filled him, and he couldn't even help the whimper that escaped his lips, allowing some of the urine to drip onto his tongue. He gagged again, his eyes closed, his ears picking up the sounds of a vehicle approaching once again.
'I can't do this.'
'What the hell?'
He heard the vehicle slow down, and flinched, expecting the impact of more balloons.
"Do everyone a favor and just fucking kill yourself!" Shouted a voice he was familiar with, but couldn't put a face on. He clenched his eyes shut tighter, willing all of this to just go away.
Home. He had to get home.
With shaking hands, he managed to wipe his eyes, enough so that he could see.
Somehow, with two almost-nervous-breakdowns and three near-accidents, Dave finally made it home. His eyes were stinging, both from tears and leftover filth from the balloon attack, and he was forced to drive with his windows open due to the smell, but he made it.
His heart practically stopped when he saw both his mother and father's cars in the driveway. Both were usually at work until around five o'clock in the evening, leaving Dave to ponder halfheartedly why they were home. Pondering that allowed him to forget what had just taken place. Pondering anything else was good.
As he entered his house, alarm bells went off in his head. His father's jacket was thrown half-hazard on the stair banister, his mother's purse sitting carelessly on the ground next to the front door.
He quietly closed the door behind him, intent on sneaking to his room to change before dealing with his parents. Paul Karofsky, clearly, had other ideas.
"DAVE? Is that you? Can you come into the kitchen, please?"
'Don't do it.'
'What, no question about why you're home?'
'Something's definitely wrong.'
Despite his thoughts, his feet carried him to the kitchen, stopping only by the laundry room to change his shirt, though it did nothing to hide the smell. He finally made it to the kitchen, where his appearance ( and smell ) was met by gasps from both his father and mother. His father jumped up from where he had been seated at the kitchen table, hurrying over to him in a flurry of movement. Dave's eyes flickered to his mother, who seemed to be hugging the family bible to her chest, her own eyes meeting his sorrowfully.
"I-It's nothing, dad… j-just a joke from the guys…" He tried to reason, tried to calm down his father, though the stutter in his voice was hard to control. His parents couldn't know. They couldn't know. "They're just kidding, they're such p-pranksters those guy-"
His mother's voice, weak and tearful, interrupted his badly-delivered excuses. Her knuckles were white as she continued to clutch the bible to her chest, and she finally stood, looking about as haggard and defeated as Dave felt.
Her footsteps were light as she made her way over to him, and stared up at him. She allowed one of her hands to unfold from her vice grip on the book she carried, and she grasped her son's hand fiercely, her gaze never leaving his. Dave's eyes filled with tears, though they refused to fall, his breath short as he waited for his mother to continue talking.
'I am so tired.'
'I need a hug.'
'Make it better, mommy.'
"Dave, we can fix this." His mother's shaking voice interrupted his thoughts, her hand practically cutting off the circulation of his own, "We can fix you."
Immediately, Dave felt his defenses slide up, and his shoulders once again tensed as they had in the locker room. His gaze flickered to his father, who was looking at him with a sort of sympathy that Dave did not appreciate.
"W-what? Fix me? What are you talking ab-"
"Your disease, David. We know. The whole town knows. Your whole school knows." His mother allowed her other hand, the one holding the bible, to rest against Dave's other arm, bracing herself against her son as she gazed sorrowfully into his eyes, "You're sick, Davey. But we can fix you. We can help you get over this sickness…"
Dave's mouth fell open, and he glanced once again at his father, who had averted his eyes from the two of them, for what reason, Dave wasn't sure.
"Mom… What do you mean, 'sick'?" He questioned, though he was pretty sure he already knew the answer. His mother answered by letting go of him, much to his relief, and instead opening her bible. It was then he noticed colorful bookmarks scattered in several places throughout the book, and small passages on several pages were highlighted in bright pink highlighter.
"Davey, Leviticus 18:22, it's right here, 'you shall not lie with a male as those who lie with female' -"
Dave took a step backwards from his mother, hands immediately flying up in defense as she began to read. Of course he was familiar with Leviticus 18:22. And Leviticus 20:13. And Romans 126... I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:9... Although he had been steadily growing more accepting, he was, at first, a self-hating gay, of course he'd heard of all of these. Of course he'd read them. He knew now exactly what his mother was trying to say.
Without saying a word, Dave turned, fleeing to his only place of solitude - his bedroom. His father's calls for him to stop and talk to them were lost in the sound of his pounding heart, which somehow seemed to be in his ears as they roared from disbelief.
His mother thought that being gay was a disease… his mother thought he was sick. That he could get better from being gay. His mother thought he was SICK.
His father… his father just stood there… just watched as his mother called him diseased for who he loved.
He fumbled for his phone, flipping it open. He needed to talk to someone, he needed help… he needed help.
Scrolling through his contacts, his eyes fell on one name, and one name only.
Pressing 'call', he slid down his bedroom door, uncaring that he was sitting, knees to his chest, on his less-than-clean floor.
'Of course he wouldn't answer.'
'After all you've done to him?'
'He doesn't care about you.'
'He hates you just as much as everyone else.'
"No," He surprised himself by saying the word out loud, as though that somehow made it more true. Kurt did care about him. He said he wanted to be friends…
Maybe he could find him on face book. Not to friend him or anything, just to send him a message. He felt a small bit lighter as he thought of talking to Kurt. Talking to Kurt somehow always made him feel better, despite all of the awful things he had done to the other boy. Talking to Kurt reminded him of forgiveness, of new beginnings. Kurt reminded him that there was somebody in the world who could look past everything he hated in himself, and like him anyway.
Lastly, Kurt reminded him of love.
Logging into face book, his eyes widened.
Notifications - 86
Clicking tentatively on the alert, his eyes were assaulted by his wall, no longer a myriad of pleasantries from his friends and updates about his life. Such innocence was corrupted by hateful expletives, words, and threats, as well as multiple damnations and suggestions he kill himself, lest he want the job done for him.
All thoughts of contacting Kurt erased, he slammed his laptop closed, his vision blurred by tears. Unable to contain his rage, he threw his computer off of his desk, watching as it smashed into several pieces on the floor of his room.
Frustrated, he moved to his bed, laying down facing the ceiling. Thoughts rushed through his head, often tainted by the words of his classmates, team mates, his mother, hell, even that douche bag from the bar.
"You're going to hell."
"You're sick, David…"
"Don't fucking come near me again."
"You might as well just stay in the closet."
"Why don't you just do the world a favor and kill yourself?"
His eyes clenched closed as he finally felt the tears he had been holding back for so long escape, drifting down his cheeks and onto his pillow. He opened his eyes to gaze at the small model plane hanging from his ceiling. He watched it drift lazily in the air, suspended by a string. He vaguely remembered making that model plane with his father. He couldn't have been older than ten.
Life was so simple then… so simple…
Thinking of such simpler times, wishing for such innocence again, caused a sob to rip from Dave's throat. He quickly muffled it with his hand, only to find it harder than expected when the chain reaction of sobbing began.
What was he going to do? He couldn't go back to school… his friends all hated him. He couldn't go back to McKinley… everyone except Kurt hated him. He couldn't go to his parents, they thought he was diseased. They probably hated him, too. What was he going to do? WHAT was he going to do?
In a desperate act, he picked up his phone, once again pressing 'Call' when he reached the name 'Kurt Hummel'.
'I just want to hear his voice… I just need to hear his voice. If he tells me everything will be okay, I'll believe him.'
Never before in his life had Dave Karofsky felt so unbelievably alone. He never knew it was possible for his heart to hurt, emotionally, when there was nothing physically wrong. His entire body was wracked with grief and sorrow, and he felt one-hundred-percent defeated, with no way out of this hell he'd somehow found himself in.
'Just do the world a favor and kill yourself.'
'Do the world a favor'
'Just do it.'
He took in a quivering breath and thought it through. What did he have to live for? Hatred… his disease… his sick lifestyle…
He was a horrible person… he had nothing to live for. He deserved to die.
Staring up at the home-made noose he had made in his closet, a drip of fear coursed through him. The hour he had spent sobbing into his suit jacket that he had carefully ironed and donned as though it was the finest garments had given him perspective. He no longer feared death - he had to do this.
He had nothing to live for.
'Everyone hates you.'
'You're a disgusting freak.'
'You're filthy homo.'
'You're a sick faggot.'
He deserved to die. He was doing everyone a favor.
He couldn't help but think that Kurt would approve of his attire.
He knew that it was bad… he knew he shouldn't.
He just wanted to hear his voice one more time.
With shaking fingers, he pressed the 'call' button, one final time. So many things he wanted to say to Kurt. How beautiful he looked when the sunlight caught his hair, how he thought he sang like an angel, how he loved those skinny jeans he wore. How night and day he dreamed of blue-green eyes and his sunny smile…
Dave's lip trembled slightly at the thought he wouldn't get to say goodbye to the one person who might have actually cared he was gone. He closed his phone, throwing it to the side, and got up onto the chair, fastening the belt around his neck securely.
Briefly he wondered if he should try to call Kurt again… he just wanted to hear his voice again… he might care to say goodbye…
'If he cared, he would have answered.'
'He doesn't care about you.'
'Nobody cares about you.'
Without hesitation, he kicked the chair out from under his feet.
Life's too short to even care at all
I'm losing my mind, losing my mind, losing control