scarletjedi: (cubby)
[personal profile] scarletjedi
Title: Lemon Bars
Rating: pg-13
Pairing: pre-Kurtofsky
disclaimer: not mine.
Summary: National Coming Out Day at McKinley High, and Dave has as secret
Notes: proxydialoge and raving_liberal are the BEST. and LOOK AT THE AWESOME USERPIC RAV MADE ME!!!!




The first slushie happened a lot later than Dave was expecting; it was halfway through October, just as Dave was beginning to think they might escape slushie-free. The GSA was gearing up for the day. Today, Tuesday, was National Coming Out Day, and the club had managed to secure time this afternoon for an assembly on the club, about why it was necessary and the benefits of the club down the line. The teachers had been given stacks of stickers to pass out in homeroom, that read “Today, I am coming out as:” with a space afterword to write in whatever they wanted. Personally, Dave thought that was inviting trouble, but the club thought it was a good idea, so...

Dave was at his locker, putting his books away. He heard the distinctive click of Kurt’s boots, turned to say hello as he closed his locker, saw--just for an instant--the look of shock on Kurt’s face, then he couldn’t see anything and his eyes were burning and there was sticky ice sliding down his face, up his nose and into his mouth.

Blue raspberry. Fuck. He hated blue raspberry.

He heard laughter, cruel and unfamiliar. Not football, then. He reached up to wipe slush from his eyes, breathing heavy as he tried to stay calm.

Hands, strong and soft, grabbed his wrists. “Don’t,” Kurt said. “You’ll just rub it in. Come on.” Blind and stumbling, Dave let Kurt lead him into the boys bathroom.

“Your shirt is ruined,” Kurt said, helping Dave take his Letterman off. “Take it off, we’ll use it to help get the worst of it off.”

“What?” Dave said.

“I blocked the door,” Kurt said. “No one’s going to come in.”

“It’s my only shirt,” Dave said. He couldn’t take his shirt off in front of Kurt, not when Dave was all hairy and chubby and not Kurt’s type.

Kurt sighed. “The longer we argue, the bluer you’ll stain. Take it off, or I’ll do it for you.” When Dave still hesitated, Kurt said, “It was supposed to be a surprise, but I do have another shirt for you to wear. Now--”

Dave felt Kurt’s hands at his waist, and he jumped back, pressed against the sink. He could just feel the way Kurt was tensing, confused and just a bit hurt, and there was no good way out of this. Dave pulled his shirt off in one go, trying to wipe as much slush from his face as possible. He dropped the shirt into a sink (he hoped--he still hadn’t opened his eyes) and stood, waiting for instructions.

“Kurt?” He asked.

“Here,” Kurt said, sound a little strained, but then there were damp paper towels wiping him clean, almost caressing, ruffling the hair on his chest and Dave shivered.

Suddenly, there was a chair behind Dave’s knees, and Kurt said, “sit,” in that strange almost-breathy voice. Dave sat, and let himself be pushed back so his head was in the sink. Kurt turned on the water, and it ran warm through Dave’s hair, and over his face, and Dave wasn’t sure he’d ever felt something that good. He amended that a moment later when Kurt started running his fingers through Dave’s hair, massaging in something that must have been shampoo because it smelled like Kurt and this was the best thing Dave had ever felt.

“You know,” Kurt said. “You should really stop wearing those polo shirts--or at least wear some that fit you properly. The ones you have do nothing for you.”

“What?” Dave asked, coming out of his daze.

“Your shirts,” Kurt said, “They’re too baggy. They make you look like you’re carrying extra weight, and--um--you’re really not.”

Dave breathed for a moment. “You don’t have to lie to me to make me feel better, Fancy.”

“I’m not!” Kurt protested. “You have an impressive, um, upper-you. I mean your biceps alone--you should show it off.”

Dave snorted. “Yeah. I’m a real catch.”

“Don’t fish, Dave,” Kurt said. “Just accept the compliment. So no, you don’t have Mike’s abs, or Puck and Sam’s--”

“Yean,” Dave said.

“But you have power, Dave. You look like a man. It’s sexy.”

“You think I’m sexy?” It was out before Dave could think, and as soon as he said it, he backtracked. “Sorry, I--shit--forget I said that, I--”

“Yes,” Kurt said. “I do.”

Dave froze. “What?”

Kurt shut the water off. “You can open your eyes, now,” He said, and Dave blinked at him. Kurt handed Dave some more paper towels. “Pat, don’t rub.”

“Kurt,” Dave said.

“Don’t, Dave,” Kurt said, equally quiet. “I know what it’s like to be called unattractive, and deny it all you want, but your self-image issues nearly dyed you blue.”

Dave ran a hand over his hair. It was soft. He wondered if Kurt’s was as soft.

“So you lied to me to make it better?”

“So I told the truth as I see it now, with my friend and not the bully who tormented me for months.”

Dave nodded, “friend” echoing in his ears. Sexy, sure. But still not Kurt’s type.

“Thank you,” He said.

“You’re welcome,” Kurt said. He dug into his bag and pulled out a black tee shirt. It had white lettering that read “National Coming Out Day, October 11, 2011” on the left breast. “I have one, too,” Kurt said. “I thought we could wear them during the assembly. They’re even black for extra slushie protection.”

Dave snorted, and pulled the shirt over his head. It was tighter than Dave was used to, but Kurt nodded his approval.

“Perfect fit,” Kurt said. He gathered his things and just before he unlocked the door, Dave grabbed his arm.

“I don’t know who said you were unattractive,” Dave said. “But they were either jealous or blind.”

Kurt blushed. “Thank you, Dave,”

“It’s the truth,” Dave said, and let Kurt go. Kurt smiled shyly at him and left the bathroom. Dave let out a gusty sigh.

Fuck me.”

***

Dave dropped heavily into his seat in homeroom, lowered his head to the desk, and seriously considered banging his head until he lost the memory of this morning.

Someone kicked his chair and Dave grunted.

“Why so blue, Cubby?” Santana prodded him with a manicured finger. Dave--well, Dave gowled. “Did you just fucking growl at me?” Dave picked up his head enough to glare at Santana with one eye.

While Dave wouldn’t necessarily say that they were friends--if pressed, Dave would say Santana’s only real friend was Brittany--they had gotten to the point where Dave was pretty sure she was serious when she asked how he was. He wouldn’t bet money, but then again, Dave never really was one for risk.

“Seriously, Cubby. You’re--tinted.”

“Kurt thought they were basketball players,” Dave said quietly. “I’m taking it as a plus that it wasn’t my team.” He sighed. “But I don’t really see them getting back in my defense, either.”

Santana snorted and Dave sat up fully. She was wearing her Cheerios uniform, and had placed her Coming Out Day sticker daringly above her left breast.

“You know,” Dave said. “‘Bitch,’ isn’t really coming out when you’re you, Santana. You already tell everyone who’ll listen.”

“Whatever,” Santana said. “I got nothing else.” She looked away and Dave knew what she meant. Nothing else she could put on a sticker.

Dave had considered, for a brief moment, actually coming out--writing “Gay” and letting the rest take care of itself. But--it was too soon; he still had so much time in the locker room and--really--this was so much bigger than a sticker. He’d also, briefly, considered writing “Cubby” and letting the world wonder what it meant. But, people would ask and Dave still wasn’t sure he could lie, well, and not feel like shit afterwards. He really didn’t want to lie.

Dave pulled his sticker out of his backpack and wrote “A Baker.” There. Something he hadn’t wanted people to know (because it was “too gay”), but could actually talk about (because it was the truth that a dude baking wasn’t inherently gay). Dave stuck the sticker on his shirt and mentally prepared himself for a day full of semantic gymnastics.

***

By sixth period, Dave was doing pretty good. Nobody had really looked at him twice, and he had been thankfully slushie free. Az had given him a look when he saw the sticker.

“What?” Dave had said.

“Not sharing your grandma’s pie, I get, man. They’re your grandma’s and baked and given with love. But not sharing pie you made? Man that’s just greedy.” Az had shaken his head.

“Really?” Dave had said, shaking his head. “That’s why you’re looking at me like that? Because I didn’t give you a pie weeks ago?”

“I’ve had that pie before, man. That is some damn good pie.”

“You are so strange.”

“I’m not strange,” Az said. “You’re the one in cookie-denial.”

Dave just shook his head. This was not how he had expected this to go at all. Especially when Az stopped him after class to make a freakin’ request for his lemon bars, because “Man, that shit is da bomb.”

“Nobody says “da bomb” anymore.”

“Fuck you, yes they do. It’s retro or some shit.”

“No, Az.”

“Aw, fuck you twice. Just--you making those bars or not?”

Dave considered. It had been a while. “Yeah, sure. I’ll bring you some tomorrow.”

“Fuckin’ sweet.”

That conversation seemed to set the precedence for the day. People were surprised, yeah. Who’d expect David Karofsky to bake, but mostly, people were impressed.

It was Brett, of all people, who summed it up best.

“It’s like,” he said, words dragging through the air as they waited in the wings for the GSA assembly to start. Kurt was somewhere, finalizing the details while Dave watched the auditorium fill and slowly panicked. When Brett didn’t continue, Dave looked at him.

“Like what?” He prompted.

“Like, you looked and saw there were no cookies, and said ‘This Shall Not Stand!’ and behold, you made cookies with science.” Brett paused. “That’s some Frankenstein shit, right there.”

Dave stared. That was almost wise. Almost.

“Brett, how stoned are you?”

“What?” Brett asked, sniffing.

“Nevermind,” Dave muttered.

Mercedes appeared next to Dave. “A baker, huh?” She asked. Dave shrugged. It’s what it said on the tag.

“I’m already making lemon bars for, like, three people,” Dave said. “You want some, too?”

Mercedes blinked, like that hadn’t been what she was about to ask. “Uh, yeah. Thanks.”

Dave shrugged again. Tripling a batch was just as easy as doubling it, after all.

“Anyway,” she said. “Kurt’s freaking out. You might want to go calm him down.”

Dave raised an eyebrow, asking why come to me? but he nodded, and went to find Kurt.

The assembly was simple enough, though Dave could understand why Kurt would be nervous. Most of it was video; a series of It Gets Better videos that tell coming out stories, interspersed with various GSA members reading information cards to the audience, about why the GSA exists, what it really does, and the importance of information when dealing with prejudice. The last video was from the Postsecret website, and would end with Ms. P telling the students about the Postsecret board, and urging them to contribute. Finally, the Glee Club would end the assembly with a reprisal of Born This Way, this time for an audience, and with the Cheerios dancing in the background. During the last chorus, anyone in the club was invited to join them on stage, and a few of the underclassmen had approached Ms. P for shirts.

“Dave,” Kurt said, sighing with relief. “There you are. I have something for you,” Kurt paused. “Again.”

“Another shirt?” Dave asked, eyebrow raised, and had to laugh when Kurt stared at him, dumbfounded.

“How did you know?” Kurt asked.

“Uh,” Dave said, brow furrowing. “I guessed?” He shrugged. “Wait, you really got me another shirt?”

“Well,” Kurt said. “You don’t have to wear it, but. If you wanted to join us, at the end. I know how much you liked dancing at the half-time show, Dave. And I’ve heard Shue talk about it with Coach Beiste, mostly how you need to get over some stage fright.”

Dave shifted. It wasn’t stage fright, exactly. He didn’t know what to call it, but--it wasn’t that.

“So, you know, originally, the idea was to put something on the shirt that people have used to put you down, something that you have either embraced,” Kurt waved to himself and Dave remembered that shirt clearly, “or rose above.” Kurt stepped closer and lowered his voice. “I didn’t want to presume and put something to out you on a shirt, but, well, this is something you’ve risen above.” Kurt shoved a white shirt into Dave’s hands, and Dave shook it out to look at it. In black letters, was written “Hamhock.”

“You’re so much more than that, Dave,” Kurt said. “And it is so good to see that.”

Dave looked down, lips pressed tight together. He wasn’t about to cry; it was dusty backstage. “Thank you,” he said, voice surprisingly hoarse.

“Of course,” Kurt said, teasing. “It’s not too late to make another one, ‘Cubby.’”

Dave huffed a laugh. “I thought about,” he said, just as quiet as Kurt had been. “But--not yet. I think, after Hockey’s over. When I don’t have to worry about the locker room anymore.”

Kurt nodded, a small smile on his lips. “Whenever you’re ready,” Kurt said. “Maybe I’ll make it for you, and hold onto it until then.” He grinned. Dave shook his head, but he was smiling.

Just then the microphone on stage turned on, and both boys winced at the feedback. Figgins was on stage, tapping at the mic, and quieting the auditorium. Kurt found Dave’s hand and squeezed once before letting go.

“Break a leg,” Kurt muttered, and led the way onto the stage.

Dave swallowed down his nerves, and followed.

“Thank you all for coming,” Kurt said. “I know most of you are here to get out of class, but I hope you learn something anyway.” Dave ducked his head to hide a smile. He loved it when Kurt got snippy. “As you may or may not know, Dave and I are the founders of the McKinley High Gay-Straight Alliance. There are many misconceptions about what that means, so we’re here to dispel rumors, and share the true spirit of National Coming Out Day with you.”

Dave cleared his throat and stepped up to the microphone. Here goes. “The first thing to understand, is that the GSA is not just for gay kids. It’s for everybody and anybody who wants to see an end to discrimination based on sex, sexuality, gender, and everything inbetween. That includes straight kids; hence  Gay-Straight Alliance.”

Dave stepped back, drawing in a shaky breath, and letting Kurt take the mic. There. The first part was over. He had more to say, but--he had said something and the world hadn’t ended. It was a good feeling.

“Some of you are thinking, Why bother with the club? There’s only one gay kid, and he’s standing on stage. Well, it’s true that I’m the only one out, but statistically, I am not the only gay student here at McKinley. This club was started to make this school a safe place for everyone to be exactly who they are. The closet is not a fun place to be. Take it from someone who knows. Even though my closet was pretty transparent, I can tell you there is a big different between everyone correctly assuming, and declaring it to the world.”

“Secrets are poison,” Dave said. “And these secrets, closet secrets, are some of the worst. It’s a denial of who you are. But, it’s a sad fact, that sometimes, especially at this school, the closet is the safest place to be. Let’s face it, we don’t exactly have the greatest track record for acceptance. And it’s because of places like this, where being different is a socially punishable offence, that  LGBTQ youth have the highest rate of self-harm and suicide. And its because of a lack of education that those attitudes LGBTQ people around.”

“Which is why, today, we are attempting to educate, and offer hope to those of you who may be too scared to join. What follows will be a series of videos from the It Gets Better campaign, and information delivered to you by your classmates,” Kurt said. “A little knowledge never hurt anybody.”

Kurt backed away from the mic and Dave picked it up, carrying it offstage as the lights dimmed and the first video started.

“Nothing thrown,” Kurt said. “Nothing yelled. All in all, a promising start.”

Surprisingly, the rest of the assembly went off without a hitch. Dave hoped it was because people were moved by the videos, but he was pretty sure that most of it was just getting out of class. Even when New Directions took the stage at the end, Kurt out front and all of them provocative in their shirts, the audience seemed more responsive than not. Dave watched from the wings as one by one the New Directions opened their shirts, showing themselves to the world. He knew what they looked like from the front, remembered it clearly. He watched as Santana opened her jacket to reveal “Lebanese,” knew what she was saying without saying it, and looked at his backpack where the shirt was waiting.

When New Directions hit their last verse, and the bolder members of the GSA went out on stage in shirts of their own, Dave was right there with them. And when the music stopped, and everybody froze, and the audience started to cheer, Dave’s face was aching from the smile on his face.

***

There was no formal agenda for the GSA meeting after school that day. Instead, the club gathered to celebrate their first successful assembly in the Health room. Beiste pulled out a cake from somewhere, and Ms. P provided sparkling cider, of all things, and passed it around in paper cups.

“Classy,” Kurt muttered, and Dave offered him his cup to toast. Kurt smirked, but they “clinked” cups anyway.

Budem,” Dave muttered, mimicking his grandfather. Papa Karofsky had never, actually, set foot in Russia, being born in New York to Russian immigrants who had decided before he was born that they were Americans, now, and that their son would be an American. Thus, he had never learned Russian, formally. However, some things, like swears and the way they would toast, was passed down. Dave wasn’t sure exactly what it meant, but he got the gist.

Kurt eyed Dave as he drank, and Dave looked back, warily. “What?” he asked.

“You wore the shirt,” Kurt said. Dave shrugged.

“You looked good out there,” Dave said, instead, and noticed the way the tips of Kurt’s ears went pink.

“Of course I did,” Kurt said. “I’m a showstopper.”

“Oh, you’re something, alright,” Dave said. Kurt shoved at him, playfully, and Dave laughed. Santana looked across the room from where she was standing with Brittany, and when Dave caught her eye, he raised his cup to her. She raised hers in return, and nodded at him.

“So,” Kurt said. “What’s this I’ve been hearing about lemon bars?”

Dave sighed. It was just as easy to quadruple a recipe.

***

Gram waved Dave in with a smile. “Goodness, that’s a large bag. What are you making?”

“Lemon bars,” Dave said. “Quadruple batch.”

“Well,” she said. “You best get started.”

Dave followed Gram into the kitchen, and started unpacking the bag as she pulled out the mixing bowl and baking pans. Paul had bought them a kitchen radio las Christmas, and Gram turned it on now, and Nina Simone starting to sing that she was feeling good. Gram pulled out her cookbook, and they began to work, measuring and mixing, pouring and spreading. Once the filling was setting in the ‘fridge, and the crust was baking in the oven, Gram asked about school.

“It was good,” Dave said. “Everyone found out I was baking the snacks, hence the lemon bars.” Dave smiled softly, an edge of nervousness building in his chest as he spoke. “Today’s National Coming Out Day, and I put “Baker” on my sticker.”

Gram laughed, and Dave felt the edge sharpen, and he said: “Gram, I’m gay.”

He pressed his lips together, eyes wide. He hadn’t meant to say that, but of course he had. That’s why he had brought it up, hadn’t he? Why he felt nervous. Why he had made the excuse of the lemon bars in the first place, and oh, God, why wasn’t she saying anything, and-

Gram stood from her stool, face oddly tense, as if she was holding back some emotion. She stepped forward, and wrapped her arms around Dave in a tight hug. Dave’s breath left in a huff, and he hugged her back, relief cooling his chest.

“I’m so proud of you, Davey,” Gram whispered in his ear. “I love you, and I always will, and I’m so proud.” She pulled back and looked at Dave. Her eyes were shining, tears just held at bay, and Dave knew his were no better. Well, he thought, Now I know where I get it from. She cupped his face in her hands, and pressed a kiss to his forehead.

“Who else knows?” Gram asked gently. Dave shrugged.

“Kurt,” he said, softly. “Santana. Coach Beiste.” He paused. “I’ve been thinking about telling Dad. But I don’t know how Mom would react, so I haven’t--” He sniffed. “Everyone keeps saying that this needs to happen at my speed, but sometimes, I just wish this part was over.”

Gram nodded. “I can see the appeal of that,” she said. “Do you want me to tell Papa, or do you want to?”

“He doesn’t have to,” Papa said from the doorway, and Dave spun, startled. “I heard.” He tapped his ear. “Got new hearing aids. I’m like the Six Million Dollar Man, now.”

“Who?” Dave asked, trying to keep his heart from racing. Papa shook his head.

“You’re so young,” Papa sighed. He entered the kitchen, and gripped Dave by the shoulders, the same way he always had. “I’m proud of you, too, you know,” he said. “It won’t be easy for you, and for only that reason would I wish otherwise. But you are my grandson, and my family. And your Gram is right. We love you, no matter what.”

Dave was crying now, tears slipping quietly from his eyes, and he saw Papa try not to do the same. Papa pulled him in, and Dave hugged him tightly.

“I love you guys,” Dave said. Papa squeezed him, and backed away.

“So,” he said, clapping his hands, “Did somebody say lemon bars?”

David started to laugh, even as Gram shook her head at her husband. “Yeah, Papa. I’ll save you some lemon bars.”


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