Disclaimer: Glee belongs to Ryan Murphy and Fox, not me.

Blaine was not pleased with Dalton Reform Academy.

Not pleased at all.

He had been presented with a uniform- a navy blazer trimmed in red, gray trousers, white button up shirt, navy and red tie- all of it well-worn, out of fashion, and ill-fitting. Apparently they were left from the days when Dalton had been a posh private school for rich boys.

The sort of school I should be at, he thought unhappily as he leaned against the back wall of the school and took a long, satisfying drag on his cigarette.

The classes weren't much to speak of either. The youngest boys- Dylan told him they ranged between eight and twelve- were shuffled off to their own section of the school building, while the older boys, thirteen to seventeen years old, traveled from class to class. All the basic subjects were taught- reading, writing, arithmetic, Latin, French, music, physics- but taught poorly, with old textbooks, meager supplies, and disjointed instruction. Clearly the teachers were more preoccupied with keeping their unruly students in line than actually teaching.

That music teacher, though…Mr. Schuester, or Schue, or whatever. He seemed better than most of them. At least he tried. He had that earnest look in his eyes, like a puppy waiting for a consolatory pat. It didn't matter, though. Blaine had seen it often enough- starting out bright and shiny and hopeful like a new penny, but ending up worn out and tarnished under somebody's shoe.

After all, wasn't that what happened to him?

"Mind if I steal a drag?"

He glanced back to see Kurt standing there, one hand on his hip, the late afternoon sun glinting off his soft brown hair and touching it with brilliant red-gold lights. Wordlessly Blaine handed it over; Kurt took it easily, balancing the rolled paper between slender, callused fingers, and drew a long steady puff.

"You have the good stuff, I see," Kurt said, glancing at the glowing end of the cigarette.

"I smuggled a few of my father's packs out in my shoes," Blaine said casually.

Usually the spoiled boys at his boarding school would exclaim over his cleverness at this point, but Kurt seemed unimpressed. "The only person around here who can scrounge up a decent fag is Puck, and he seems to prefer quantity over quality," he said. His eyes flicked over Blaine, with his hair neatly combed and his shoes still polished. "I assume you don't know how dreadful poor quality can be."

"I'm learning," Blaine sighed, taking the cigarette back. His stomach unexpectedly flipflopped as Kurt's fingertips brushed against his hand. He hadn't felt like that since…well, in a long time. And he preferred not to think about it.

"So how'd your first day at Dalton go, new boy?" Kurt inquired, locking his hands behind his back as they gazed across the backyard, watching the younger boys run around with a sad excuse for a football.

Blaine shrugged. "It went," he said.

Kurt glanced at him, arcing an eyebrow. "I don't suppose you have a name, do you?" he inquired.

Blaine transferred the cigarette to his left hand and extended his right. "I'm Blaine," he said.

"Kurt," the brunet replied.

Kurt's hand was thin and cool and surprisingly soft in his, despite the rough spots marking his palm and fingertips. He gripped tightly- a man's handshake- but his skin felt delicate and silky. "It's a pleasure to meet you," he said, oddly polite, his voice still strangely sweet in contrast to his rough appearance. "So what brings you here?"

Blaine dropped Kurt's hand and drew his cigarette back up to his lips. "Let's just say that I'm not the perfect son that dear old Dad intended," he said. "I managed to get myself kicked out of boarding school in New York and he had me sent here instead."

Kurt's lips quirked in a mirthless smile. "Your father, hm?" he said. "How…nice of him."

Blaine shrugged and blew a thin steady stream of smoke between his lips. "I just can't wait for my sister to find out what he did," he said. "She'll kick his ass when she comes back from Europe. Get me out of this place."

Kurt's lips twisted further. "A father in New York, a sister in Europe," he said. "Let me guess…a mother in a summer home somewhere?"

Blaine looked at him sharply, raising an eyebrow. "We have a winner," he said.

"It's a gift," Kurt said.

Blaine flicked cigarette ash onto the dirt below. "So you know where I came from," he said. "What about you?"

Kurt stared across the yard, clasping his hands behind his back again. "Busted for prostitution in Cincinnati," he said lightly. "A cop picked me up on a street corner and the next thing I know I was here.."

Blaine blinked. "I thought you killed a man with a belt buckle and a fountain pen," he said.

Kurt plucked the cigarette out of Blaine's hand, took a long smooth drag, and blew it out lazily. "Maybe I did," he said. He handed the cigarette back and sauntered away, humming to himself.

Blaine felt the slight burn of the cigarette butt against his fingers and dropped it hastily to the ground. He stamped it out with the heel of his shoe, but his eyes were still trained on Kurt as he walked away.

"Cigarettes aren't allowed on campus, you know," he heard a voice say.

Blaine jammed his hands in his pockets as Nick strolled up to him, Jeff following eagerly at his heels. "So?" he said.

Nick smiled. "So the other boys are going to find out you have contraband and follow you until they can get some," he said. "That's how it works at Dalton."

"Nick doesn't smoke, though," Jeff said. "Neither do I."

Blaine looked down at the sad remains of his cigarette. "I shouldn't do it," he said. "It's a filthy habit."

"So why do it?" Nick asked gently.

Blaine hunched his shoulders and leaned against the broad brick wall. "It's a habit," he said.

Nick leaned against the wall beside Blaine, his dark eyes flicking back and forth over the poor excuse for a football game going on in front of them. "We'd better get inside," he said. "It's nearly time for dinner, and I know you won't pass it up tonight," he said. "I'm sure you're hungry by now."

Blaine, who had eaten his breakfast but turned up his nose at lunch, was most definitely hungry, but at least his stomach didn't destroy his pride by growling loud enough for Nick to here. "Maybe," he said.

"You'll want to eat," Nick said. "Tomorrow is our work day." He pointed towards the south lawn. "See that garden? You'll probably be working there."

Blaine stared, dismayed, at the sea of weed-choked plants in the distance. Nick smiled and clapped him lightly on the shoulder. "You'll adjust soon enough," he said. "Just think of it as a new habit."

Blaine was starting to get the feeling that Nick was usually right about things. It was infuriating. And slightly embarrassing.

He had been dragged out of bed before the sun was even peeking up, handed a pair of trousers and a shirt so old and threadbare he felt he would be better off naked, and shuffled off to the gardens with a slice of toast in his hand to serve as breakfast. When he had tried to say something to the teacher handing them dirt-caked work gloves, he was told that "idle hands are the devil's handiwork" and dismissed abruptly.

Now the sun was high overhead, pounding down on his obviously sunburned neck. His curls were damp with sweat and plastered to his forehead and his shirt clung to his wet skin. Dirt caked thickly over his knuckles and under his fingernails. He was disgusting.

Beside him Jeff worked quickly, his fingers practiced and nimble as he dug weeds out from under the sprouting potato plants and tossed them into a sloppy pile at the end of the row. Blaine rocked back on his heels and wiped at his forehead with the back of his hand, doubtless smearing dirt across his skin. "Aren't you tired of this?" he asked, exasperated.

"No," Jeff said. "I don't mind it."

Blaine sighed heavily and squinted as he scrabbled helplessly at another weed. Jeff might not mind it, but he certainly did.

The blond whistled, light and surprisingly melodic, but it grated on Blaine's already frayed nerves. "Can't you stop that?" he said impatiently.

Jeff blinked, his hands halting in mid-grab. "Stop what?" he asked.

"Never mind," Blaine mumbled.

He turned back to the weeds and yanked a handful out viciously, showering himself in dirt. Jeff laughed, not unkindly, but Blaine huffed in irritation.

"A wee bit frustrated, are we?"

Blaine shielded his eyes and looked up. Kurt loomed above him with a smirk playing on his lips and a fence rail slung across his shoulder.

His decidedly bare shoulder.

He'd seen some of the boys strip their shirts off, mostly the older ones sent to repair the fence around the horse pasture or work on the new well. Somehow he hadn't thought that Kurt would be one of them.

Nevertheless, there he was. The waistband of his trousers drooped around his narrow waist and the bare skin of his smooth chest was pink and gold and freckled in the summer sun. He wasn't muscular like the older, bigger boys, but the lines of his chest and stomach were firm and clear.

Kurt grinned. "If your mouth stays open any longer, the flies'll get in," he said.

Blaine clamped his mouth shut. "How do you people put up with this?" he asked.

Kurt shifted his weight from one leg to the other; the waistband of his trousers dipped further, shamelessly hanging around the cuts of his hips. "Put up with what?" he inquired.

"This," Blaine said, gesturing broadly. "The sun, the dirt, the godawful food. Why do you put up with it?"

Kurt crouched in front of him, his elbows resting on his bent knees. He was so close that Blaine could see the sun glinting off his lashes and the light flecks of freckles across the bridge of his nose. "Because some of us, Mister Anderson, weren't given a damn choice in the matter," he said sweetly.

Blaine blinked. Kurt straightened, still balancing the fence rail across his smooth shoulders, and walked away, his slender bare feet leaving light footprints in the soft dirt of the garden.

"Stop staring, Anderson, get back to work."

He glanced up, squinting in the sun. A tall boy, the oldest student he's seen yet, stood above him grinning as he leaned on a shovel. "Get back to work," the tall boy repeated, his wide smile easing the pain of being ordered around by a stranger. "We're not keeping you to lollygag."

Blaine opened his mouth to argue, but stopped when he noticed the boy's pinned-up sleeve. He stared for a second. The boy- he didn't seem like a boy, though, he had to be in his late teens- caught his glance but didn't react. "Jeff, my jo, you nearly done?" he asked, his voice lilting in an out-of-place accent.

Jeff flashed that same vague smile. "Nearly," he said, holding up another handful of weeds.

"The dinner break'll be here soon, boys," the one-handed young man said, hefting his shovel and heading back down the rows.

Blaine leaned over to Jeff. "Who's that?" he asked.

"That's Terence," Jeff said cheerfully. "He's been here since forever. Like Kurt. Except that Terence came from a big orphanage in Chicago where they couldn't keep him. And nobody knows where Kurt came from."

"What happened to his…" Blaine's voice trailed off and he just helplessly wiggled his fingers.

Jeff tilted his head till realization dawned. "Oh, he hasn't got one," he said. "He told me there was an accident when he was a baby. But that's why they sent him here. Nobody wanted to adopt him. And then he got too old to stay here, so Dr. Trevelyan kept him on as his assistant, because he couldn't find a job. Most people want a boy with two hands, see."

Blaine tried to picture growing up at Dalton, spending Christmas and birthdays and summer holidays on its musty campus. He tried to imagine what it would be like to be trapped here, unable to leave because there was no place left in the real world for him.

I want to go home, he thought, and hot childish tears burned behind his eyes. He managed to bite them back before they fell, though.

He was Blaine Anderson, and he had an image of ill-repute to maintain.

So far the little town church had proved to be an excellent place to take a nap unnoticed.

Westerville Baptist Church was like any other- white walls, maple pews, polished floors with a worn red aisle runner. The glossy cross stood at the front, lovingly illuminated by creamy candles while midmorning sunlight gleamed through the rows of narrow windows and the preacher spoke in his dull soothing voice.

Blaine, however, did not appreciate his surroundings nearly as much as he appreciated tipping his head forward in an attitude of prayer and falling into exhausted sleep.

He woke up to Nick's sharp elbow in his side as the congregation rose for the final hymn and benediction and hastily fumbled to his feet. The Dalton boys filled the back rows of pews, away from the pious eyes of the other parishioners, as if the sight of their worn navy blazers and ill-fitting gray trousers might offend them.

They shared hymnals down the rows, three or four boys to a book, some singing, most not. Nick sang in a warm bright tenor, broken at the verses by stifled coughs. Jeff sang too, happily disregarding rhythm. Blaine chose to gaze up and down the rows at the other students- Noah Puckerman glaring at the preacher with his arms across his chest and his lips clamped shut, Sam Evans holding the hymnal where his small brother could follow along, Dave Karofsky staring blankly down at the floor.

He caught sight of Kurt at the end of his row, hands folded meekly but his blue eyes narrowed. Kurt didn't sing either. For a moment Blaine tried to catch his eye, but Kurt merely looked straight ahead, clearly bored and disinterested.

The preacher pronounced the benediction and the church scattered- small children bolting out the doors with pent-up energy, teenagers migrating towards each other, women gathering in clusters to discuss Sunday dinners and new dresses and what their little ones were up to. Blaine lingered in his pew, sliding his hands into his pockets as the Dalton boys idled by the back doors.

A bevy of what might have been butterflies or flowers or perhaps just pretty girls brushed past them, seemingly unconcerned by the Dalton boys staring at them. Blaine watched them idly. He had never much concerned himself with girls. A few times when he was younger he had tried picturing himself courting a girl, marrying her, coming home to her and their collection of small children. It always ended with an image of himself looking entirely too much like his father and a faceless woman turning towards him, and needless to say it was not very pleasant.

Of course, in the time since then he had gone off to the first of many boarding schools and met…

…well, he preferred not to think about that.

One of the girls, a tall cool blonde in a lavender muslin dress, hurried past them quickly as if she was afraid to be too near them, but her companion stopped. She was a little slip of a thing, dressed in white eyelet with her red-gold hair pulled back neatly in a ribbon, and she held out her arms to little Stevie Evans. The boy wriggled away from his big brother and ran to be embraced. Soon the girl was surrounded by the smallest Dalton boys, all of them clamoring for her attention, and she laughed.

Nick leaned over to Blaine. "That's Louisa Trevelyan, Dr. Trevelyan's daughter," he explained.

"She's the swamp angel," Jeff reported.

Blaine did a doubletake. "She's a what?" he said.

"She likes to spend her time in the Limberlost swamp," Nick said. "She catches moths and butterflies and studies them. Terence took to calling her the swamp angel a few years back, and it just stuck."

Jeff bounced on the toes of his scuffed shoes. "Sometimes Dr. Trevelyan asks some of the boys to go with her in the swamp so she'll be safe," he said. "Terence always goes."

Nick smiled. "That he does," he said.

Blaine watched as the redheaded girl chatted brightly with the boys clustered around her, as if she was at a party surrounded by eligible suitors instead of the back of a church with juvenile delinquents. I think my sister would like her, he thought.

The redheaded girl moved towards his row and Blaine straightened out of habit, but she walked straight over to Kurt. The two of them spoke quietly, and a shy smile played across Kurt's lips. Blaine stared. It changed Kurt's expression completely. He seemed different, warm and sweet instead of sharp and icy. The girl took his hand in both of hers and squeezed tightly, earning another genuine smile from Kurt. Blaine stared, transfixed.

Jeff leaned across the top of the pew. "Lucy!" he called. "Lucy, hullo!"

She looked up and crossed to Jeff. "Good morning, darling," she said, patting his cheek. "How are you?"

"I'm good," he said. "And Nick is good too."

Lucy turned to Nick, one eyebrow raised expectantly, and the dark-haired boy smiled. "I'm a little better, I think," he said.

"Good," she said, pressing his hand warmly. "Tell my father if you're not well again, all right?"

Jeff tugged impatiently on her sleeve. "Lucy, we've a new boy," he said. "He's only been here two days."

She turned towards him and he straightened his tie. "My name is Blaine Anderson," he said. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"You may call me Lucy, if you'd like," she said, her blue eyes dancing. "My, but you've got nice manners. What brings you to Dalton?"

He shrugged. The offhanded, carefully crafted stories of rebellion he'd offered the other boys suddenly seemed too inappropriate. "My father sent me," he said lamely.

"Well, I hope things go well for you," Lucy said.

A pretty woman with light hair and a toddler in her arms paused by their row. "Louisa, darling, it's time to go," she said.

"Coming, Mother," Lucy said. She flashed one last smile at them. "It's lovely to meet you, Blaine. I'll see you later, fellows."

She turned lightly on her toes, stopping only long enough to pat Kurt lightly on the arm as she left. The soft look in Kurt's eyes lingered for a moment but faded quickly, so fast that Blaine wondered if he imagined it.

"She's a little forward, but she's a good girl," Nick said quietly. "I've heard her father's letting her take suitors. Whoever'll marry her will be a lucky man."

Suddenly the soft look in Kurt's eyes made sense and Blaine's stomach twisted. "I suppose half the school's in love with her," he said, trying to sound flippant and failing. "Even Kurt."

"Oh, Kurt doesn't love Lucy, not like that," Jeff said. "Kurt likes boys."

Nick whipped around. "Jeff, don't talk about that," he scolded. Jeff frowned like a kicked puppy.

"He…he what?" Blaine stammered.

Nick sighed. "It's a poorly kept secret at Dalton, but Kurt…is not interested in girls," he said, clearly trying to stay tactful. "It's gotten him in trouble before."

Blaine stared at Kurt, his stomach still tightening. Memories flooded back to him, memories of hiding in empty classrooms and dark hallways for stolen kisses and soft loving words that he wasn't supposed to have.

I thought I was the only one, he thought.

He followed the other Dalton boys out of the church, his mind still tumbling through his disorganized thoughts. Ahead of him he saw Kurt push at Noah Puckerman to get out of his way; Puck shot back some kind of argument and Kurt bared his teeth. His eyes were hard and glassy again, his jaw jutting out like an angry dog's.

Blaine thought back to the softness of Kurt's expression just a few minutes earlier, and for a moment he entertained the notion of being the one to bring the soft light in those blue eyes back.

Author's Notes:


Okay. Anyways.


And Kurt. Kurt is so fun to write right now. He's acting all mysterious and stuff. And also innocently sexy, strutting around with his shirt off.

A lot of this story is turning out to be influenced by Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter. I seriously doubt any of you all have ever heard of her, much less read her books, which depresses me. But I'm borrowing from her liberally.

Also, Nick and Jeff. NICK AND JEFF. I need to take them home with me. (No, there won't be Neff in this story, though.)

And Sam and Stevie being adorbs. And Noah being pissed about being in a Protestant church when he's Jewish. And Mr. Schue still being a terribly inept teacher, even in the 1910s.


Also, hopefully chapter three will be up tomorrow. If people actually like this story. It's so weird! But I am having so much fun with it...

...but it's going to get sad and klsdjfldsjl I don't want to write the sad bits.

In the meantime I will just listen to the six and a half hour playlist I've created and write about Kurt and Blaine being bad boys full of unspoken sexual tension.