With Artie's help, Blaine managed to finish most of the assignment before the bell; and with a promise of later tutoring Blaine packed up his things and left the class.
"So, who's Kurt?" Blaine asked, walking slowly beside Artie as he rolled along.
"Oh, he's our other friend." Artie answered, seemingly occupied with another thought. Then, without warning, Artie sped up, rolled to a stop facing Blaine, and stopped him in his tracks. "Are you homophobic?" he asked with a very serious expression on his face.
Blaine completely froze. That was the first time in his life anyone had ever asked him if he was homophobic. The idea was almost absurd to Blaine; but in a school with a uniform where no one really cared, Blaine supposed no one had picked up on it yet.
"N- No!" Blaine forced out, "of course not!"
Artie studied him for brief, awkward, second before spinning around and continuing down the hall.
"You'd better not be." He threatened, Blaine was suddenly nervous, "because I actually like you, and it would be a shame to watch you get beat up on your first day of school."
"Wait, what?" Blaine asked incredulously, "I'd get beat up for being a homophobe?" He shook his head, wondering what kind of school he'd enrolled at; because right now it sounded like a heaven. "That's definitely new."
"Oh, no," Artie corrected, "You'd probably get a pat on the back for being homophobic. Kurt just doesn't take to ignorance too kindly anymore."
"Yep, he was bullied real badly at our old school, and I guess he snapped." Shrugging it away, Artie's face lifted into a smile, "Actually, Puck used to be one of Kurt's biggest bullies," He laughed, "but then Kurt broke Puck's nose and got his respect."
"Oh." Blaine stated simply. He still wasn't sure how he felt about Puck, but now he knew the boy was at least a little twisted. "So, I guess Kurt's… gay?" He asked tentatively, a tiny bubble of hope rising in his chest.
Artie started to say something else, but they were just dead words in Blaine's ears; because down the hallway sitting on one of the plush couches with a book in his lap was the blue-eyed boy.
Blaine stared. He couldn't help it. The boy's profile was gorgeous; a little pointed nose leading down to full lips, framed by a flawless pale skin. Blaine almost wished he would look up so they could lock gazes again; just so Blaine could see those magnificent eyes. But the boy's attention stayed studiously on his book.
"…And don't say the 'F' word around him either."
Blaine was snapped back by Artie's words, "I'm sorry?" He said, missing out on what Artie was talking about.
Artie, although a few feet below him, seemed to look down at Blaine, "You know that real nasty word that homophobes like to use?" He asked, looking at Blaine over his glasses, "the one that starts with 'F'?" Blaine nodded, all too aware, "Don't use it."
"Uh, why?" Blaine asked, choosing that moment to look up at the boy again, who was still reading. A bulky teenager with dark skin was laughing loudly as they passed the boy.
"'Sup, fag?" he greeted, nodding at the beautiful boy. The boy smiled a tight lipped, dangerous smile and placed a marker in the book he was reading.
What happened next was all a blur.
Before Artie could answer, or before Blaine could even blink, the boy jumped up on the table in front of him, and launched himself at the other kid, locking him in a headlock from behind. There were shouts of protest from the group and a small crowd was already gathering.
"Call me a fag one more time." The boy snarled in voice Blaine definitely wasn't expecting, "I dare you, Azimio."
"Get him off me!" The kid yelled, but then the boy released him. Azimio stood up straight and backed away from the boy's wild expression. "Fuckin' twink!" he spat, but it was the worst thing he could do in that situation.
There was a shout of pain, and then Azimio was staggering back against the wall. It took Blaine a second to realize that the boy had lunged again, punching the kid square in the face. The others in the group started to rally, closing in on the boy but then, from out of seemingly nowhere, Puck barrelled at them, sending one flying into the wall and another sprawling on the ground.
From somewhere around Blaine's hip, Artie whooped, but Blaine couldn't even move. The scary Principal was stomping down the hall, shouting at students to get out her way. By this point Puck had backed someone into a corner, continuously ramming his fist into the kid's stomach, while the blue-eyed boy had Azimio in another headlock.
Principal Beiste grabbed the back of the boy's collar and hauled him away from Azimio, keeping him at an arm's length away while she grabbed for Puck as well.
"Everyone get back to class!" She shouted at the gathered students. As soon as the command was out, the boys scattered in all different directions while she dragged Puck and the other boy down the hallway. Both of them pulled free from her grasp, and behind the Principal's back, they shared a high five.
Blaine could have passed for a statue at this point. Other students walked around him, giving him strange looks, but beside him Artie was laughing hysterically.
"That was great!" He laughed, "Haven't seen Kurt let loose like that in weeks!"
"What, what?" Blaine shrieked. He looked back at the retreating figures, specifically the tall, slender one, "that's Kurt?"
"Yea," Artie sighed, wiping a tear away, "and that's why you don't ever use that word."
Blaine flinched as obnoxious, boisterous laughter echoed behind him. The cafeteria was loud. Paper balls were flying over his head and everyone was talking over top of each other, escalating in volume as they were drowned out by another group. Blaine's classes had passed in a blur and with neither Artie nor Puck in either class; Blaine had spent both huddled in the back corner. But now it was lunch, and beside him Artie was eating, completely ignoring the chaos around him.
"Is it always like this?" Blaine asked; ducking as a paper ball flew over his head. Artie looked up from his horribly unhealthy school-bought lunch and fixed Blaine with a patronizing stare.
"What were you expecting?"
Blaine was about to answer with something along the lines of a little more civilized when Puck arrived at the table, slamming down his tray and sitting between Blaine and Artie.
"Shouldn't you be in detention?" Artie asked, reaching for the fries on Puck's plate.
"Nah," Puck said as he smacked Artie's hands away, "I played the 'I was just helping my friend' card," Puck laughed as he shovelled food into his mouth, "Kurt's pissed though. Sounds like a week's detention for him."
As if right on cue, another tray slammed down on the table. Blaine jumped and looked up into the most stunning face he'd ever seen.
"You're an asshole." Kurt snarled at Puck as he braced himself on the table. His voice was amazing. Even dripping with anger his voice was melodic and beautiful. But his blue eyes were alight with rage- Blaine couldn't look away. He was so close. Blaine could reach out and touch if he wanted to- which he definitely did; but given what he saw in the hallway earlier in the day he figured doing such a thing would be signing his death warrant.
"C'mon, babe," Puck purred, "you know you love me."
Kurt sat down and stared at Puck. He lifted his hand and started ticking off his fingers, "No I don't. Don't call me that. And you're still an asshole." He spat.
He looked down briefly and licked his lips before dragging his head back to look at Blaine; who suddenly felt incredibly exposed under Kurt's steely blue gaze. Kurt gave him a once over, then turned his eyes to Artie.
"What's with the stray dog?"
Artie straightened and smiled widely, "Can we keep him?" he asked while Puck snorted into his burger. Kurt's eyes returned to Blaine before he laughed and broke the stare.
"I don't care," he said as he waved a dismissive hand and captured Blaine's eyes yet again. "So do you have a name, or am I going to have to check your collar?"
Blaine gaped momentarily while Puck kept laughing. Artie picked up a cherry tomato out of his salad and threw it at Kurt; who caught it singlehandedly and plopped it in his mouth. "Be nice," Artie scolded. Kurt rolled his eyes.
"Yes mother," He said around the tomato. He looked back at Blaine with an eyebrow raised. "Name?"
"Oh… um…." Blaine stuttered. Kurt's other eyebrow raised as Blaine continued to make a fool of himself. "Blaine." He finished lamely. Kurt looked mildly amused at this point. He swallowed the tomato.
Blaine blushed furiously as Kurt picked up his fork and stabbed at his salad. Beside Blaine, Puck balled up his napkin and threw it behind him, laughing when he heard a shout of protest. He placed both his palms on the table and leaned forward. "Santana's having a party tonight." He said, his eyes lighting up with excitement.
"Dope," Artie nodded, waving his hands, "I'm in."
Kurt nodded and sucked at his teeth. "Me too." He said. Then he smiled mischievously and looked at Blaine, "So, Blaine," He twisted Blaine's name, playing with it. His eyes melted and smouldered, daring Blaine to look away. He was so entranced he almost missed Kurt's next words.
"Wanna come play with the big boys?"
Shh just love me.