Kurt looked down at the sheet of paper he held in his hands, and then looked up at the building he was standing in front of. "Home sweet home," he muttered, motioning to his father to follow him, a pile of boxes on a rental hand truck in tow. It was warm in southern California – not too warm as to where he was suffocating, but it was warm enough to make him slightly miserable. He'd have to scope out the shower situation once he got settled, as well as finding some place good to shop for more suitable clothing. Getting his room scoped out and having his father back on the road to the airport though would be his first two priorities.

As his father pulled the hand truck through the hallways, Kurt glanced around, taking in the different people that were milling about. There were definitely a good variety of people that would be living in close proximity to him – all sizes and shapes and hair colors, probably sexualities as well. Back home, there wasn't a lot in the way of diversity – and somehow, everyone who would be considered "diverse" in Lima terms ended up in glee club with him at some point during high school. He gave a wane smile to a girl with a purple Mohawk, and continued searching for room 526.

"Here we are," his father said, brushing sweat off his forehead. "You did say this was your room number, right?"

The little placard on the wall next to the door, blue with white lettering, read 526. "This would be the right place," Kurt said, pushing open the door with his palm. "Anyone there?"

"We're right in here, being busy little worker bees!" a blonde woman said, tearing through a cardboard box, possessed by a desire to search for…something. "Come, come right in!"

Kurt raised an eyebrow, and his father nudged him forward. Leaning against the desk on the opposite side of the room was a tall man – he presumed it was his roommate's father, and sitting on one of the beds was a boy about his age. This must be the new roommate. He did an once-over. Not bad looking, but could definitely use a makeover. Hopefully he wasn't too attached to that tie he was wearing, because if he had anything to say about it, the next time that tie would be seen in public would be at a funeral.

"I'm Marshall," the boy said, sticking out his hand. "And you're…"

"Kurt," Kurt said, shaking his hand. This was definitely going to be an interesting semester. His roommate wore ties, shook hands, and looked like a lost boy from a boarding school. No matter. He had tolerated Rachel Berry all through school – he could tolerate living with this Marshall person for one school year.

After the parents left a few hours later, Kurt flopped back onto his bed, groaning at the lumpy mattress – he was going to have to learn to adjust. Marshall's mother – who had introduced herself as Alice – had insisted on making both Marshall and Kurt's beds for them, much as Kurt had protested. He had been making his own bed for as long as he could remember, but there was something about having her offer it that weakened his defenses, until finally he had agreed. She seemed a little too thrilled about it, which Kurt chalked up to anxiety. Marshall was sitting on his bed – he got the bed with the window, due to the simple fact that the early bird gets the worm, and Marshall had gotten there before Kurt.

"So, you said you're from Ohio?" Marshall said, looking up from the course catalog.

"Yeah, town called Lima, no one's ever heard of it before," Kurt said, fluffing his pillow below his head. "Not much to say about it, really."

"Yeah," Marshall replied, turning the page over and dashing his highlighter across the page. "I know that feeling. Kansas, myself."


The room was silent as Marshall flicked through the catalog, highlighting courses to look at, and Kurt closed his eyes to block out the glare of Marshall's desk light. "Your mother seemed nice."

"She's normally not like that, I promise."

"I didn't have a mother growing up," Kurt said sharply, under his breath. Marshall didn't react – Kurt wasn't sure if he had even heard him or not. Turning over and facing the wall, he allowed his fatigue to take over, and fell asleep before he realized he was asleep.

In the excitement of starting college and the freedom that it entailed – especially for Marshall and Kurt, being far from home – the freshmen orientation passed in a blur of forced group activities. Through it, Kurt learned that Marshall was an aspiring filmmaker, and Marshall learned that Kurt didn't have any plans in particular, major-wise, except that he would be auditioning for Voces, the college's choral group. The first common ground, other than how far they both were from all of their loved ones, had been found.

The second common ground came a few days later, as they sat on their beds with fajitas from a nearby Mexican takeout restaurant, poring over their class schedules. "Did you end up in 19th Century American History with Meijer?" Marshall asked, taking a bite out of his fajita and dabbing at his chin with a napkin as he felt sauce dribble down.

"No, I'm not taking history this semester," Kurt said, sipping his mineral water and tracing his finger down the page. "What about Short Stories with Werner?"

"On Tuesdays and Thursdays?"


"I guess," Marshall said after pausing for a moment to allow another bite of fajita to be swallowed. "We're classmates."

"This," a wiry older man with glasses said, walking across the room and pointing at the blackboard at the same time, "is Short Stories. I'm Professor Werner, and you are my captive audience until December." Most of the class let out a chorus of nervous laughter, Marshall instead nibbled on the tip of his eraser.

As the professor launched into a long-winded spiel about which stories they'd be analyzing over the course of the semester, Kurt cast a glance to Marshall, who was hunched over his notebook and scrawling notes in the margins of his syllabus. He had been planning to make a quip about the professor and his elocution style, but it seemed as though Marshall was one of those people who was perfectly content to sit back and respect the professors. Opportunity missed.

He settled down into his chair, scrawling notes of his own. But instead of addendums on the grading scale or the adjusted office hours, the notes were more aimed at how to live with someone who was, although they were sliding closer and closer together on the commonality scale, nearly his polar opposite. Or so he thought.

-to be continued-