He had always wanted to be a hero, though he figured that wasn’t so uncommon amongst boys. Men were heroes and women were princesses, that’s how it was. His entire life, he had longed to be like the heroes in the movies and comic books; he wanted to save people, help them. He wanted to be the one people looked up to and admired, not averted their eyes and cowered from. No, he never wanted to be feared. Not until he feared himself.
Each day he would assure himself that he could be a hero and he could be the person he wanted to be. Once he reached high school, the days grew longer and more trying. Soon, he abandoned his dream as his self-doubt and then self-fear set in and engulfed his mind. He no longer wasted time on his silly fantasy, deciding to just live as a lowly peasant and fight for some standing amongst the simpletons.
He grew heavier as time passed; spirit weighed down as his tattered dream dragged behind him, gathering the debris of his struggles as he tried to rid himself of it. It plagued him. He would lie awake at night thinking of it and how he had strayed far from the path he had meant to take. He hurt others, he hindered their strides forward, and people feared him. At times, these thoughts would bring tears to his eyes as a war waged on in his chest.
Yes, he had even wanted to save a damsel in distress and whisk her away into the sunset. The notion only brought on further resentment. He couldn’t save anyone. Even if he could save a damsel, what then? There would be no sunset for them, no happily ever after. A proclamation of gratitude and he would leave the damsel to find her prince as he went on alone.
It took him until his senior year to realize something of great importance. He didn’t need to save a damsel, he needed saving. And though heroes don’t normally save other heroes, he finally knew it was possible. He needed saving as much as he needed to save another.
He, Dave Karofsky, would be a hero.
He had already trudged through a thick mass of panic, doubt, and self-hatred to reach a better lit path and now he was helping others and keeping them safe, he even saw less fear in those around him. His dream was being polished and drawn closer.
There wasn’t much he was sure about still, but he had a lighter heart and a more eased mind. He didn’t know how to save someone nor did he know how they were to save him, but he carried on with a watchful eye. Everyone needed a bit of saving, Dave found, and he wouldn’t deny anyone the chance to be a hero.
Over time, he found him: his hero, his prince. It was a surprise when he actually realized this, but he embraced it. It was a slow process, this mutual saving, nothing like storming the castle and defeating the evil villain. Nonetheless, they were rescued and soon found themselves at the point where they ought to ride off into the setting sun. Dave braved up and strode forward to assert this. To his surprise, and joy, his prince embraced him.
His prince had been someone unexpected, but then again he supposed that was another common occurrence in these tales. He had barely talked to the boy before, he had even been a part of his torment, but the day he stopped others from harassing him was the day they formed a tentative connection. This connection grew stronger and more solid as their friendship grew and soon the rescue mission was in effect.
His hero, Artie Abrams, had helped him reel in his dream and shape it into a cloak which he wore with humble pride. He had brought him to a better understanding of himself and allowed him to be just Dave.
Finally, Dave was a hero, he was a hero with his own hero and he found a peace settle over him.
He was a hero.