"Please! Open the front door, Dave!"
"Fuck off, Kurt. I don't want to see you right now." Kurt leaned up against Dave's front door, frustrated tears in his eyes.
"Please... David." Try as he might, he couldn't keep the desperation out of his voice. "I, I'm so sorry. Please, forgive me. I can't stand it when you're angry at me." His plea was met by more hostile silence, and he hated it more than anything. Taking a deep, composing breath, he tried again. Tried so hard. "Listen... I've been doing some thinking, Dave. I don't want to ruin my life with drugs. I don't want to die anymore, Dave... I don't want to make you watch me die. Please, Dave. God. Just open the door for me, please!" The wall of silence continued, and Kurt held his breath, trembling all over.
And then -
"Kurt." The door opened just the slightest bit, and Dave peered out at him. Kurt's heart leaped up just to hear Dave utter his name, that one, little syllable.
"Hello, Dave." Kurt's voice was soft. He tried to smile. "Will you talk to me?"
"Are you clean?"
Kurt was a little taken aback, but not put off. This was the longest time he'd spent in Dave's company for four days, now. He wasn't about to fuck it up. "I'm, well..." He decided to answer truthfully. "I'm sober."
"That's hardly the same thing, Kurt."
"Will you talk to me?" Kurt simply repeated his question, being as patient as he possibly could be. The drummer hesitated for a long moment, then quietly offered an answer.
"Okay, then." He sighed, opened the door further, and stepped aside to clear the doorway. "I suppose you'd better come in." Kurt finally got a look at his young friend, and was shocked at how pale and drawn he appeared to be. He couldn't help but wonder how much of that was his fault.
"Thanks." Kurt shuffled into Dave's apartment, and although their eyes didn't meet, they shared a small smile. And maybe it wasn't so hopeless, after all. "Thank you, Dave. I won't forget this." Dave turned away, awkwardly.
"Just come in, already. And sit down."
The night club flickered with lights every color of the spectrum, and some Dave had never seen before. The music was so loud it seemed to have it's own pulse, it's own heart beat, and people everywhere (as Dave was beginning to suspect they always did) were gamboling and drinking and having a shitload of fun. But, unlike that first night at the card table, Dave felt absolutely no desire to join in. Last time he'd done that, he'd ended up accidentally buying someone's soul.
Then again, he thought, glancing at the blonde beside him. Maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.
Kurt caught his glance, and smiled back at him, but he seemed very tired all of a sudden. Dave looked into his tired, bloodshot eyes, and for reasons he didn't understand, was forcibly reminded of the family he'd left behind. He felt a stab of guilty pain, and then alarm at how quickly the pain was fading, like an old, yellow bruise on the skin. Even the alarm was beginning to fade. Next, he would lose his memories. Everything.
Oh Jordyn. Violet. Harper. I love you all. I'm sorry.
But he knew he would forget, and soon after that, forget that he'd forgotten. It was eerie, but at least he wasn't alone. It would have been a billion times worse had he been alone. And he knew, as long as Kurt was with him, he would never, ever lose his memories of his friend. Those were branded in his mind like, well...
Like a tattoo, for instance.
"Kurt," he muttered, and his friend gazed back at him blearily. "Are you alright, Kurt?"
"Oh, yeah. I'm fine." Kurt smiled again, but his weariness was more obvious now. His mask may have been enough to fool another man into believing he was alright. But it wasn't enough to fool Dave. "I just had a bit of a rough night."
"Dreams again?" Dave guessed straight to the point, and Kurt nodded. "About me?" He nodded a second time.
"Hope it doesn't creep you out."
"Not at all." But in truth, it kind of did. Not because of the fact Kurt dreamed about him, heck, Dave had dreamed about Kurt so many times that he'd lost count, but rather because he believed Kurt's dreams were actually memories. And that, of course, wasn't possible.
Plus, Kurt's hand kept moving to his tattooed wrist and rubbing it in a way that Dave didn't like. He remembered then what Siri had told him, and decided to speak up. "Hey, Kurt..?" But that was as far as Dave got on the subject.
At that exact moment, all the lights went out. Simultaneously, all the music stopped. Concerned murmurs and shrieks burst out from all directions of the crowded club. Dave peered into the darkness, blind, disoriented from the sudden lack of light and resulting claustrophobia. His old, intense fear of closed-in spaces returned with a vengeance, and he was suddenly riddled with images of stuck elevators and coffins nailed shut. He moaned quietly, and found himself automatically nudging closer to Kurt. He could hear his friend's fast paced, shallow breathing, and wondered if he too was experiencing the overwhelming sense of claustrophobia.
"Kurt," he gasped in a strangled voice. "What's happening?"
"Oh God. Fuck." Kurt pressed against him, and to Dave, it sounded like he was drowning in blackness. "It's Her! She's come!"
"Who Kurt?" Dave felt the first hinting of panic inside him. "Who?"
"F-fuck!" Dave lurched forward, crying out harshly as bolts of pain rippled up and down the right side of his body. His head felt like it was gushing blood, but when he touched tentatively with his fingertips, they came away dry. "Kurt! W-what's happening!?"
Kurt whimpered through his pain and clutched at his head. It felt like there was a bullet lodged in his brain. No, make that two bullets. One for Jeremy, and one for himself. "It's H-her. S-she does this. Comes... and you feel the pain of how you died. Your pain and, a-and your friend's pain. Oh God, m-my fucking HEAD!" But despite the agony, Kurt still felt bitter relief. He could still feel Jeremy's pain. His death. They were still connected. Which meant, for the time being, Iris couldn't take him.
"Kurt!" Dave could feel it, could feel the truck slamming into the side of his car.
'Smells Like Teen Spirit' was playing on the radio.
It was Kurt's song.
He could feel metal passing through his body, tearing him limb from limb, turning his bones to jelly. He felt it all. And in that moment, he wanted to die all over again. "Kurt! Oh, K-kurt! Please... help me!"
"D-dave!" They huddled together, clinging in pain and darkness, taking small comfort in the closeness. Thousands of other couples in the club did the same thing, calling out desperately for their partners, rushing to meet in the darkness, embracing furiously, feeling the holes in their hearts slowly begin to mend. Kurt and Dave, who had no such connection, could not heal, and had to make do with holding one another, trembling and waiting for it to be over.
Now, hideous flashes of even darker, more sinister darkness was passing across their vision, or lack thereof. Dave smelled something terrible; a mixture of dry, rotting leaves and spoiled fruit, and he knew that if he saw the source of what was making that smell, he would go completely mad. It was Iris, She had come. Someone was Alone. And Iris had come to claim what was rightfully Hers.
Eventually, She found Her prey. A woman calling out more desperately than any of the others, calling for a friend she no longer had. She was screaming, and crying. She must have known, Dave realized. She must have known who, or rather what, was coming for her. Her tattoo had faded. She was Alone.
"No, no, please! Give me a chance! Give me another chance!!" But there was no chance to be given. All others in the room felt Iris approaching, and shied away, groaning, groping for their partners.
"Jeremy," Dave heard Kurt moan sickly, and he could only hold him tighter.
There was an almighty scream, whether from Iris or the poor doomed woman, no one could tell. The whole room screamed back in echo, in fear, in terror, and fell to the floor.
Then the atmosphere settled, and lights flickered back on. Iris, and the woman, were nowhere to be found. All that remained were three drops of crimson blood, staining the floor in the center of the room. Three drops. No more.
"Oh, thank God and Jesus Christ. She's gone...."
All across the room, people were picking themselves up off the floor, holding their loved ones securely, murmuring words of comfort and vowing to always be together, always, that they would never ever end up like her. And each person deliberately averted their gaze from the blood on the floor.
"Oh my God!" Dave fell against his seat. He felt sick to the stomach. "What... the fuck.. was that? That woman! She... she..."
"Iris. She-" Kurt went to say more, but found that he couldn't speak. He shivered all over, pale and clammy, before slumping forward onto the table. Dave exclaimed, and moved over to him.
"Je...re...my..." he muttered brokenly, twitching, and Dave felt fear burning his throat like acid.
"What? D-do you need Jeremy? Do you need to be with Jeremy now?" Dave was beginning to understand just how deep the concept of companionship in the Afterlife actually ran. "Kurt. Are you going to be okay?"
"Yes." His voice was without strength, he wasn't even able to lift his head up to look at Dave. "...Be okay. Just, just need to, rest." He took several deep, labored breaths, and was able to speak more normally. "Just do me a favor, okay?"
And among the thousands of people huddled on the floor, crying and comforting and murmuring, Kurt and Dave held each other.
It was the best they could do.
"I'm sorry about tonight." Kurt walked up and down the corridors, leaning on Dave's arm for support, trying to get his strength back. "About earlier. I"m so, so sorry you had to see that."
"It's... okay." Dave shuddered. "But I don't think I can talk about it just yet."
"Of course. I understand."
"There's just one question, I have to ask. H-how ofter does, does that happen?"
"I've only ever seen it twice in my time here." Kurt was weak, very solemn. Sad. "Tonight was the second time."
"I think I understand now," Dave murmured. "About the importance of finding a friend."
"Everybody has somebody. Never fade away." Kurt rubbed his wrist self-consciously. "Oh, Dave. I'm so afraid of what's going to happen, between this month and the next."
"I'm sorry. This is all my fucking fault." And Dave's apology was so heart felt that Kurt almost melted. There were tears in Dave's eyes, that made him look innocent, like a child.
"No. Don't apologize. It's not your fault, you weren't to know. Don't worry, really. It will be okay." His eyes lit up then, as inspiration struck him. I've never told anyone... but Dave deserves to know. "Hey, listen. I think I know a way to get our minds off of all this... if you wanted to."
Dave was curious. "Of course I do, but how?" Kurt's face was worn and weary, but it brightened so much when he smiled.
"Let me show you."
Dave stood at the edge of the balcony, looking up into the night sky, weaved through with misty clouds. He sighed a little. The view was gorgeous.
"Trust me. Just step up." Kurt's words were low and hypnotic, impossible to resist. "Trust me." Dave trusted, and gripped Kurt's arm for balance, more than just a little confused. He stepped precariously over the railing, and balanced on the thin ledge on the far side.
"Don't you dare let me fall, Kurt!"
"Don't worry. You're not going to fall." Then the blonde was stepping lightly over the railing beside him, and there wasn't anywhere near enough room, and Dave felt himself lose his balance.
"You're not going to fall." Kurt grasped Dave's waist lightly, and Dave shivered, a cool touch against warm skin. Kurt kept a hold of him until he was sure Dave had regained balance, and then let go and leaned back a little, tugging his shirt up and over his head, and letting it drop carelessly from the balcony. It fell forever, and Dave felt sick watching it. He shrank back against the smaller man, and brushed inadvertently against the smooth, bare skin of Kurt's chest. The warmth radiated through Dave's back, and suddenly, he forgot about being sick, forgot about falling, about Iris, about... about everything, really.
Then Kurt's arms were back around him, and Dave found that he didn't mind a bit.
"Do you trust me?" Kurt's voice was a whisper.
"Yes." Dave was mesmerized by it. "Of course."
"Then close your eyes." He silently obeyed, and shut his eyes against the endless expanse of midnight sky. He was no longer scared. Until... "Dave..." Kurt help him close. "Step off the balcony."
"It's okay." Dave's breathing became a little faster when he realized Kurt was being serious. "Trust me. It'll be okay. I'll look after you." He breathed into Dave's neck. Dave shivered. "Trust me. Step off the balcony, Dave, just step off."
"Don't... don't drop me."
The blonde arched his back, smoothly. "You know I would never do that. Don't open your eyes."
"K-kurt." Trembling with suppressed fear and adrenaline, Dave pressed himself securely into his friend's arms.
And he stepped off of the ledge.
"Oh my God!!" he screamed, and then laughed out loud as his stomach dropped, because all of a sudden, he was in the air, and they weren't falling, they were going up. Dave looked down, and screamed again when he saw the balcony below them, looking so tiny and so far away, and he clutched to Kurt so hard his knuckles turned white. "Kurt! Oh, oh fuck! What the fucking hell?!"
"It's okay! It's okay!" Kurt laughed into his ear, holding him up as they ascended. "I've got you, Dave!"
"K-kurt!" Dave glanced up at him, and cried out for a third time. "Jesus! Kurt!"
Protruding from Kurt's back was a pair of giant, silver wings, beating with a strong and steady rhythm. Dave felt faint, his head was spinning. And just when he'd though nothing else in the Afterlife could surprise him. This is just... crazy. It's crazy. He can't be... he can't have...
"Are you okay, Dave?"
"You're... you're an angel!" Kurt laughed again, and swooped, and Dave gurgled and whimpered. "A, a Goddamn real as fuck angel! How the heck did that happen? W-when did this happen?" Cold wind flew into Dave's face and whipped through his dark, tangles hair, pulled at his clothes, bit and stung his skin. But Kurt's hands were still there, the comforting constant, there to save him.
"I'm not an angel. What kind of romantic bullshit is that?" He grinned cockily. "I'm just lucky, I guess." Dave giggled, giddy, dizzy, and they hung suspended in mid-air. Holding on very tightly to one another, now.
"You sure you're alright?" Kurt surveyed Dave's flushed face and wild, bright eyes. He looked like a junkie after his first high. A virgin after his first orgasm. Something along those lines.
Dave gaped at Kurt's shimmering wings. "They're beautiful," he breathed, in awe.
"Yeah." Kurt agreed absently, and made them plummet suddenly.
Dave screamed with delight all the way down.