Dave looked down and read the address on the card, looked up at the door in front of him, and looked back down at the card again. It appeared he'd come to the right place, at least.
Which I guess is a good thing...
Sighing, awkward and nervous all over, Dave knocked on the door.
"Come in." The voice was quiet, a little muffled, and Dave felt as though he should have recognized it. He took the door knob and turned it, and it swung open silently.
The man inside was small and blonde. He was also wearing a strange, leather mask that covered the top half of his face. Dave gulped, getting some uneasy vibes. Some serious S&M, freaky bondage vibes. Oh, crap. The blonde regarded him tiredly. "So, I suppose you've come to get your money's worth?"
"I, uh." Dave desperately searched for something to say. "Um, my name's Dave. I' I won a bet against Jeremy, I guess."
"I know who you are."
"...Okay." This wasn't going well at all. Dave wished himself a million miles away from the awkward situation. "Well, um, J-jeremy sent me here, but-" His voice gave way when the masked blonde approached him slowly. "Ah..."
"Hush." He stopped mere inches from Dave. "You don't need to explain yourself. I know everything." He sounded rueful, and again Dave was stuck by the familiarity in his voice. "I do this all the time."
Do this all the-
But then Dave's brain froze, because the blonde was kissing him hard and fast.
"H-hey!' Flustered and shocked, Dave pulled away like lightning. "You don't just, what the heck do you think you're doing?"
"Get the fuck off me!" He pushed him away.
"Hey! What's the fucking big idea, pal?" The blonde man glared at Dave with piercing blue eyes, and ripped the mask off his face in frustration. "You've got nothing to fucking complain about, you're not the one who has to... who has to... um, are you alright?"
Dave could only stare mutely, eyes wide, disbelieving, jaw unhinged almost to the point of falling to the floor. He tried to speak, tried to do anything, and managed only a series of weak croaks.
Oh my God...
"Hello? Hey, man? Are you okay?" Dave took a helpless step back, stumbling and almost falling to his knees.
Kurt frowned. "What? Did Jeremy tell you my name? That fuck, he knows I wanted to stay anonymous."
"Oh my God, Kurt..." But then Dave remembered something Siri had told him not long before. It's very rare for even the most in-love person to retain memories of his or her life for more than six months or so. And then he realized. Oh, Jesus. He doesn't remember me...
"What?" Kurt tilted his head, in that moment seeming and sounding so much like the Kurt he'd known. "What's the matter with you?"
"I..." Turning away, Dave wiped the stray tears from his eyes. "N-nothing's wrong, Kurt. Nothing." He turned back to the blonde, who was eying him with in that old, Kurt-ish way that he just had, and Dave found that he couldn't help himself. "Oh..." Moaning softly in the back of his throat, he reached forwards and pulled his old friend into a bone-crushing hug. Kurt uttered a small, choked exclamation of surprise, but reciprocated the hug, even if he was more than a little confused by Dave's bizarre behavior. Then, remembering what Dave was there for, he let his hands slide down his back and over his ass, and kissed his neck gingerly. Dave jumped with shock and make an undignified yelping noise. He squirmed out of Kurt's embrace.
"H-hey, no, wait. What are you doing?" Kurt drew back, looking almost as confused as Dave felt.
"Jeremy sent me in his place to settle his debt, as per always." He scowled blackly. "The shit. I'm supposed to let you fuck me for the whole month to get him out of his gamboling fuck-hole. And I'm sick to death of it!"
"Oh, no!" Dave exclaimed. "Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I don't want, I mean, I don't want to have sex with you!"
"Oh... well, why not?"
"Why don't you want to? What's wrong with me?" Dave's eyes widened and a blush spread over his cheeks as he struggled to explain.
"Oh, n-nothing. Nothing! I mean, I just, you know, you're not exactly a person who I'd wanna... I mean, don't be offended! You are, you're very, um, uh..."
"Oh! It's okay!" Kurt smiled with sudden understanding. "I get it." He laughed, and sat down on the bed, toying with his leather mask. "What a relief." Then he laid down, sighing, and glanced up at Dave. "But, but if you didn't want to... you know, then why did you take me for the month?"
"Well, actually..." He hesitated a little before sitting down on the bed. He felt strange being so close to Kurt after so long. "I didn't know what I was agreeing to. The truth of it is, I've only been dead a little over a week, now."
"Really?" Kurt was still Kurt; he still had the same old fascination with death. Dying himself hadn't seemed to lessen his interest. "How are you adjusting to it?"
Awful, I lost my wife and my daughters, and for some reason it hurts less and less with each passing hour. But he didn't say it, because as horrible as it was, it was far less painful to let it fade. "It's alright, I suppose. But there is this one guy I'm on the lookout for. A crazy guy in a leather mask who tried to shove his tongue down my throat." Kurt laughed, and chucked the mask aside. It hit the wall and fell down into some hidden space. For the next customer who came along? Who knew?
"Yeah. I'm sorry about that. But a lot of Jeremy's... associates, like that approach." A new light was forming in his eyes; Dave recognized it enough to guess what he was thinking. "How did you die?"
Oh, Kurt. How very tactful of you. I was thinking about your song. "It was a car crash. My fault. I got, ah, distracted."
"Car crash, huh?" Kurt looked away. "I shot myself. No idea why. I don't remember much about it."
But I do. Dave felt familiar pain in his heart. And I don't have any idea why, either. "D'you... do you remember anything about your life before that?" Kurt shook his head. Of course he doesn't. Dave scalded himself for daring to hope, and sighed.
"I miss my family," he murmured. He had no idea he was going to say it until the words were coming out of his mouth.
"I don't even know if I had a family or not," Kurt said in response, and caused Dave to realize something. This man looked and sounded exactly like the Kurt Cobain he'd known, but he was almost a completely different person to when he'd been alive.
He also knew that he was infinitely grateful to have any form of his friend back.
"So," Kurt eventually announced, glancing over at Dave again. "What are we going to do for a month, seeing as you don't want to..?"
"I don't know." Dave shrugged. "I don't even get why it's so important that we do this in the first place."
Kurt sat up, and rolled up his sleeve. "Here. I'll show you. He pointed out the little tattoo on the underside of his wrist, and Dave wasn't at all surprised to see it. "See, when you first get here and start mixing with other people, you're supposed to find someone you just click with, and then when you spend time with them, one of these tattoos will appear on your wrists. One for you, and one for your companion. Identical marks, unique to every couple." He grimaced. "Supposedly, your companion is the person you love above all others, but obviously, that doesn't happen all the time. Or even most of the time. And in extreme cases, like with Jeremy, for instance..." He trailed off, but Dave figured he had a fairly good idea of what Kurt was trying to say. There was something he still didn't understand, though, and voiced it.
"But why is it so important to find a friend, and have a tattoo on your wrist?"
"Because." Kurt looked at him solemnly and Dave felt the atmosphere cool a fair twenty degrees as they became tense. "If your tattoo ever fades, well, then She'll come for you."
"Who is she?"
"It doesn't matter. Not worth discussing." He stretched and hopped lightly off the bed, trying to dismiss his paranoia concerning Jeremy and fading tattoos. You don't love him. You don't love him. It's gonna fade. He pushed that away savagely. "No one's going to be coming for anyone any time soon, okay? You... you still have loads of time left."
But how much time do I have?
Kurt tried to slip into his room unnoticed, but of course, Jeremy was right there waiting for him. It made him seethe to think Jeremy had he nerve to ask him to do this, and then actually check up on his progress. "So. How was Dave?"
"Well." Kurt gave Jeremy a hard, calculated stare. And he decided to lie through his teeth. "Not so good, Jer." He sat down, pretending quite convincingly to wince with pain. "Dave's the dominant kind."
Jeremy raised an eyebrow. He looked disgruntled, much to Kurt's pleasure. "Dominant? Really?"
"Uh-huh." He suppressed a grin. In life, he'd been a fabulous liar. In death, he was no different. "He fucked me s-so damn hard, Jeremy. He wouldn't stop. T-the whole day, again and again. I, I bled fucking everywhere!" He sighed, and actually managed to work up a few crocodile tears. He was thoroughly enjoying himself. "Oh Jeremy, I don't know if I can do this for a whole month. I don't know if I'll be able to survive!" Jeremy actually looked a little concerned at this.
"Oh, hey, Kurt." He moved as if to touch him, but then Kurt moved away.
Now for the finishing touch, you sick bastard. "Sorry, Jer," he said mournfully. "But Dave doesn't want you to touch me as long as he's touching me. He says that he can smell you on me. He says you smell like shit." He smiled sympathetically, sweetly. "I don't think he likes you very much." Jeremy drew back, obviously fuming at Dave with no idea what to do about it. "Yeah." Wistfully, Kurt sighed. "If only you hadn't made that bet, huh? This never would have happened."
And he was having so much fun, he didn't even notice the itch crawling up the inside of his wrist.
Dave smiled to himself as he thought about Kurt. About how good it was to see him again. "Hey, Siri?" He called out, and just like that, she appeared out of nowhere and strolled towards him. Dave didn't even bat an eyelid. He doubted anything in the Afterlife could surprise him, now.
"What is it, Dave?"
"Guess who I saw today?" His eyes were shining, he was so full of enthusiasm, he just had to tell someone. And at the moment, Siri was the only someone that he knew.
"Let's see." Siri pressed a finger to her chin in mock-thought, and furrowed her brow. "I don't know. Could it have been... Kurt Cobain, perhaps?" Dave's eyes grew wide, and he pointed a finger at her in accusation.
"Oh my God," he declared, almost angrily. "You knew, didn't you? You knew all along!" She nodded.
"I know a lot about a lot. It's all part of the job description." Dave could have been annoyed at this, but he was too engrossed in his own thoughts. He'd started to smile again, dreamily. Thinking about Kurt. About seeing him again...
"He doesn't remember anything about me..."
"Yeah, but that's kind of a given, Dave. Kurt's been dead for what, fifteen years now? He's forgotten everything."
"I have a month with him." Dave was barely listening to her logic. "A whole month with him, you know? To get to know him all over again. For him to get to know me." Something in Dave's voice alerted Siri, and put her on guard. It was dangerous for him to be speaking in such a way, almost as if he believed...
She was as gentle and considerate as she could be. "Listen, Dave. You won't be able to make him remember. It's been too long. He's... different, now."
"I know, I know." But did he know? Siri didn't think so. Especially after what he had to say next. "It's just that I've missed him so much. And there's just something about him that gets me. There's something in there. Inside of him, still."
"How profound." And Dave couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic or sincere. "But be careful, okay? Or you might get yourself hurt."
"I won't, though. I'll be careful."
The next morning, Kurt answered his front door to see none other than his new friend Dave standing there. His smile was sunny and open, and contagious. Kurt immediately returned the smile. "Hi, Dave. Nice to see you, again."
"Who is it?" yelled a voice from inside the apartment, making Kurt grin devilishly at Dave.
"It's Dave, Jeremy," he responded, a reluctant tone creeping into his voice. "He's come to take me for the day, I suppose." As he spoke he made frantic hand gestures in Dave's direction, and the other man understood. He had a role to play in this. And, seeing that he'd pretty much disliked Jeremy on sight, he wasn't exactly dismayed to be doing it. He smothered his smirk as Jeremy entered the hallway and frowned at him. Jealousy crackled in the air like electricity, though it seemed to have more to do with card-playing skills than ownership over Kurt's soul. Which was odd, when you thought about it.
"Dave." Jeremy swallowed his bitterness, and tried hard to be civil. "Oh... hello."
"Good morning, Jeremy." Dave grinned charmingly, and almost snorted when he saw how much that offended the other man. Whoa, talk about sore loser. "I just came to pick up my Bitch. I'll be taking him back to my apartment, now." It may have been cruel, but torturing this guy was just too much fun to pass up.
"Yeah." Jeremy was hesitant. "Uh, listen man, do you think you could... go easy on Kurt today? I mean, you have him for a month, after all. You wouldn't want to wear him out now."
Yeah, how positively shitty would it be for you if he broke while he was still under warranty, and I demanded a refund, Dave sneered inside his head. It was official. Jeremy made him sick to the fucking stomach. Kurt stood so that Jeremy couldn't see his face, and winked craftily at Dave. And it was that wink more than anything that made him decide to go the whole hog. He seized Kurt by the upper arm and jerked him over, the blonde crying out in weak protest. "Sorry man," he said loftily from over the top of Kurt's head. "But a deal's a deal. I get to do whatever I want with him for a whole month. And if that includes ripping him a new asshole, then you'll just have to deal with it." The corner of Jeremy's mouth twitched, but somewhat wisely, he held his tongue. Dave, recognizing victory, offered Jeremy a departing grin before dragging Kurt out of the door and down the corridor.
He heard the door slam shut behind him, and released Kurt.
"Ow!" the blonde whined, rubbing his arm. "I mean, thanks for being convincing and all that, but did you have to be so fucking rough? Oh, and next time you call me your Bitch, I'll cut your fucking balls off, got it?" Dave gulped, but then Kurt grinned, and he knew it was alright.
Kurt pinched his arm teasingly. "Ha-ha. Gotcha, didn't I? I'm a pretty good actor, if I do say so myself." Dave smiled, but said nothing, and the silence between them turned suddenly stale and awkward. "...But yeah," Kurt continued, sounding more serious now. "I really want to thank
you for, you know, not being like the others. And thanks for getting me away from Jeremy, for awhile." Dave spied the fading bruises on the back of Kurt's neck. The dark circles beneath his eyes. Things he hadn't noticed before, that made him sad. And confused.
"Kurt, I don't understand. Yesterday, you said that everybody here has a friend, and that your friend is a person you love. So why? Why Jeremy, Kurt?" Kurt gazed up at him neutrally, but his eyes still held enough of that subconscious intensity to unnerve Dave. "I'm sorry." He apologized almost immediately. "Don't don't even worry about answering that. It's none of my business."
"It's okay." That startled Dave a little. By his standards, prying into the personal life of someone you've known for less than twenty-four hours was anything but okay. "You're right to point it out, actually. And, it's really hard to explain." He paused for a long moment to demonstrate this. "What you don't understand is, when I first got here, I felt so all alone. I didn't want to be here at all, I didn't want to be anywhere, you see? And when I was feeling like that, Jeremy was there. And now, he's all I've got." In a softer, more hesitant voice, he added, "Fuck, I don't expect you to understand loneliness like that."
"But I do." Dave was thinking of his wife, Jordyn. Violet and Harper. His band. All the people he'd left behind. "I miss my family." Kurt eyed him sympathetically. Dave was struck down bu how he could be so familiar yet so different at the same time.
"I know you do. But it will get easier. Trust me, it gets easier." Kurt smiled, but his smile was a little sad. "Call me crazy, but I'm getting the strangest feelings coming from you."
Dave was intrigued. "Strange like what?"
"I dunno... I guess what it is, or part of it, anyway, is the way you talk to me."
"Yeah. I guess it sounds like, like you already know me, or something. Not even Jeremy talks to me like that, and I've been living with him for the best part of fifteen years."
"Oh." Dave flushed a little, and felt very warm all of a sudden. Foolish. "Sorry about that."
"Don't be. It's... refreshing." Kurt chuckled. "Who knows? Maybe I'm just not used to people being kind for no apparent reason. It's a nice change from being screwed around all the time, I can tell you that much. But I swear, there's something about you Dave, that's almost familiar. But I guess that's just me being insane, right?" Before Dave could even think up a reasonable reply, Kurt gave himself a sort of mental shake, and decided a change of subject was in order. "Anyway, forget that. I was rambling. C'mon and let me show you around this place. It's not so bad, once you get used to it." Dave simply nodded, and allowed himself to be led away.
His head was buzzing, and he could feel the onset of real excitement fluttering down in the pit of his stomach.