Kurt tucked his shirt into his pants and sighed. "Hurry up, bud!" Kurt looked at himself one final time in the mirror before grabbing his bag and suitcases. His hand moved up to his hair, sweeping his bangs to the side and smiling tightly at himself. Turning away, he made his way out of his room, the door shutting behind him.
"Sorry. I'm ready to go."
"Come on. We really need to get going. Wouldn't want you being late to your first day at Dalton, would we?" Burt held the door open as Kurt walked out. He made his way over to the car, waiting for Burt to unlock the doors before slipping inside. His eyes flickered over to the house. He didn't know how long it would be until he'd get to come home again. Most kids, from what he'd heard, only came home for the holidays.
Kurt leaned his head up against the glass, staring at his house as it got smaller and smaller. He wasn't sure how he felt about this. He wouldn't know anyone at Dalton. It wasn't as if he had much of a choice. Burt seemed so proud at the thought of him going there and receiving a "proper" education that he hadn't had the heart to argue.
The drive there seemed shorter than he remembered from when he had visited, and he shuffled out of the car after they parked. "You're being awfully quiet," Burt said, setting a hand on his shoulder. He could see Carole from his other side, smiling down at him.
"Finn enjoyed Dalton, you know, and he's starting his job at the law firm next week," she said, trying to assure him. Kurt still wasn't entirely sure how Finn had managed to get that job. He couldn't imagine gawky, easily distracted Finn working a case.
Somehow Kurt suspected that it had to do with connections at Dalton. The school was practically built for lawyers and doctors. Still, Finn had never excelled academically. Kurt pushed the thought aside as he walked toward the building.
He paused for a moment, staring at it. It was taller and somehow more imposing despite the fact that it was a simple brick structure. Maybe it was the absolute lack of detail to it – as if someone had constructed a brick block and simply stuck a sign that said "Dalton Academy" on it – that made it like that. A date, 1811, was stuck underneath it.
"You coming?" Kurt looked up to see Burt and Carole walking towards it, looking at him expectantly. Kurt shook his head before scurrying forward.
The building buzzed with people deep in conversation. Some boys were catching up with each other, and others stood by their parents' side, looking nervously around. Kurt noted, his cheeks heating up slightly, that the second group seemed to consist mostly of kids several years younger than he was.
They made their way in. The halls lacked any natural light. Whoever had built the building seemed to be afraid of windows. Instead, strong fluorescent lights decorated the halls. Something about them made Kurt feel like he was in an interrogation room.
They walked into the presentation hall, making their way towards their section. The rows were divided into groups, former students sitting in order of class. They seemed to be early, and the rows were filled with gaps. Still, they sat down, and Kurt leafed through the program before looking at the front.
"Dalton Academy" was written across the glossy cover in a gothic font, the blue rimmed with red. The words "Rigor, Discipline, and Honor" were written underneath, presenting themselves like some sort of a mission statement. They sounded more like something out of Brave New World in Kurt'sopinion. He set it down and leaned back in his seat, his stomach churning.
"You okay?" Kurt's eyes opened as he looked over to Burt.
"Yeah. Just tired." Kurt smiled, hoping Burt would take the bait. The last thing he needed was for Burt to be up all night, worrying about him.
"Couldn't sleep last night?"
"Something like that."
"Hey, you'll fit right in. You're smart, Kurt, and you have a drive to succeed. These next two years will fly by so fast, and you'll be right out there with Finn in no time. Or, you know, doing something else. Point is, it'll be fine." He smiled broadly, and Kurt's smile eased into a genuine one.
"Burt's right. You'll just need a little time to adjust. It will be fine, sweetie, and if it isn't, we're only a phone call away." Carole smiled as well, and Kurt felt tears come to his eyes. He swallowed thickly, pushing them back. He wasn't about to cry.
"Excuse me." Someone paused, looking down at them and motioning to a few of the empty spaces past them. They all stood up, and the moment was broken. Burt's hand slid from his shoulders, and Carole's attention drifted up to the other couple and kid. The child, three or four years younger than Kurt, turned to him as he passed, his eyes wide and nervous. Kurt was sure that his own eyes reflected the same uncertainty and fear, but he quickly pulled his lips into a reassuring smile.
When they sat down, the lights in the presentation hall dimmed, and after a few coughs and sounds of people clearing their throat, the room went dark and the focus went to the back of the room. Everyone shifted so that they could see as a group of boys, Kurt's age or older, walked in, their steps uniform.
They marched forward, and Kurt's eyes scanned across them. They managed to keep their faces emotionless as they moved forward in a line. Kurt's eyes were caught by one boy who had to be around his age. His curls were obviously gelled down, and though he was shorter than the rest of the boys, he stood with his back straight.
An older man, Kurt assumed it was Mr. Grossman, the school headmaster, stepped forward on the stage as they approached it. The boys faced him for a moment, saluting, and then sitting down. Mr. Grossman waited until they had all completely situated themselves before clearing his throat and beginning. "Rigor. Discipline. Honor. Two hundred years ago, Dalton Academy was founded on these very words…"
Kurt sighed before letting his attention drift. The speech seemed to be the same pitch the website gave, and Kurt couldn't be bothered with listening too carefully. He'd already heard about the school history from Burt and Carole as well as reading up about it a little himself. Instead he glanced around the room.
He felt slightly out of place without the red and navy blazer that every student seemed to be wearing. Of course, he was going to get his today, and he was sure he would get sick of it soon enough. It wasn't exactly a fashion masterpiece. The grey pants clashed with the rest of the outfit.
The speech dragged on for another half an hour. Kurt's eyes struggled to stay open by the end. The only near-interesting thing that happened was that they announced a new English teacher, Mr. Kent. He was younger than the rest of the staff, and when he was presented, he stood up and beamed. Kurt couldn't help but think it stuck out among all those stuffy, straight-faced men.
When it ended, people filed out quickly, trying to get their children situated so they could leave as quickly as possible. "I'll go grab my bags from the car," Kurt said, and Burt nodded, offering the key to the car.
"We can go with you if you want…"
"I'll be fine." Kurt felt a twist in his stomach as his eyes dropped down to the ground. He made his way across the room, sliding past people. He had only made it to the courtyard, though, when he heard a voice.
"Kurt! Kurt Hummel!" Kurt spun around to find himself face-to-face with the same curly-haired boy he'd spotted earlier. "Blaine Anderson." He stuck out his hand, offering a light smile. The name sounded vaguely familiar, and Kurt paused, staring at him, as if somehow that would get him to remember. "I'm going to be your roommate."
"Oh! Kurt Hummel, though I guess you already knew that." Kurt nodded, shaking his hand as he kept on walking. Blaine followed after him, slipping his hands into his pockets and cocking his head to the side. "Nice to meet you," Kurt mumbled out, a little late.
"You know the school's that way?" Blaine motioned behind him.
"That big building that says Dalton Academy? I'd never guess. I just need to grab some bags out of my trunk." Kurt continued walking, looking down again at the road as he stepped into the parking lot. Using the key, he unlocked the car and he reached for the trunk, pulling out two suitcases and a bag. When he looked over, Blaine was leaning against the car, looking at Kurt with his brow furrowed.
"The name Hummel sounds familiar."
"My brother went here. Finn."
"Oh, right, the to-be lawyer. I'm pretty sure my dad's mentioned him once or twice."
"Right." Kurt wasn't sure what he was supposed to say to that. He instead locked the door and started walking back towards Dalton.
"You're not very talkative, are you?"
"I don't know."
"How can you not know?"
"I just don't." Kurt pursed his lips, feeling mildly annoyed. The feeling faded, of course, when he looked over to see Blaine smiling fondly at him.
"Relax. I don't bite."
"Good to know. I was worried about living with a vampire roommate." Kurt couldn't help the sarcastic comment, but luckily Blaine didn't seem to take offense to it. Instead, he laughed, nudging Kurt lightly. His mouth opened to say something, but before he could, a blond boy called out Blaine's name from several feet away. Blaine turned to Kurt and sighed.
"Got to go. See you later, though." Kurt nodded, watching him scamper off towards the other boy and pulling him into a one-armed hug.
Kurt made his way over to where he'd left Burt and Carole, finding them standing, talking amongst themselves. They pulled apart, smiling at Kurt. "Got everything?" Burt asked. Kurt nodded. "C'mon. Let's get you settled down, then." Burt reached out, grabbing the bag from Kurt's shoulders.
"I have it. Really, it's fine, Dad," Kurt tried, but Burt wouldn't listen. He took it, throwing it over one shoulder. They made their way up the stairs.
"I saw you talking to one of the boys. Already making friends?" Carole asked as they pulled into Kurt's hall. Kurt fished into his pocket, grabbing the key to the room he'd been given.
"That was Blaine, the boy I'm going to room with."
"Ah, he seems nice," Carole offered.
"I suppose. I didn't really get a chance to talk to him, though." Kurt cleared his throat before unlocking his door and peering inside the room. Blaine obviously hadn't come yet. Only a handful of students were on the hall already, and Kurt stepped inside.
Each side had a bed, a desk, and a dresser. The blankets were neatly folded on the bed, and the desk was cleaned off. A mirror hung on the left dresser door, and Kurt sighed. This was going to be home for the next two years. Kurt set his stuff down on the bed to the left side. It had a window above it. He heard the light thump of Burt setting his bag down, and he turned around.
Burt and Carole stood, leaning up against each other, hand in hand. They wore proud smiles, looking at Kurt. Kurt looked up at both of them for a moment before taking a shaky breath. For the second time that day, he felt tears rise in his eyes. "I'm going to miss you," he admitted, moving forward and wrapping his arms around Burt. He turned to Carole too, and she put an arm around him.
"We'll see you in no time. Thanksgiving's in just under three months." Burt squeezed him tightly before pulling back.
"I know," Kurt said, feeling somewhat hopeless. He'd always lived at home. This place, neat and trimmed, wasn't home. Kurt sighed. Maybe with time…
"We should probably leave you. I think most of the parents, have gone." Kurt nodded and cleared his throat, stepping back.
"Yeah. I'll see you later, okay?"
"See you soon," Burt said, letting his hand linger for a moment longer on Kurt's shoulder. Carole stepped forward and was about to hug him when she suddenly stopped, her eyes widening.
"Oh, wait!" She fumbled with her purse, pulling out a large, plastic bag. It was filled with cookies, and though they were partially squished, Kurt couldn't help but feel a gracious heat spread through him. "They're your favorite kind of chocolate chip cookies. I couldn't keep them warm, but…" She handed them to Kurt who took them.
"Thank you." He pulled her into a final, quick hug and sighed as they stepped backwards. There was a moment where they all fumbled with their hands, and then Burt and Carole turned, slowly pulling out of the room.
"Bye." They waved at each other before Burt and Carole ducked fully out of the room. Kurt watched them leave and the door shut behind them before falling to the bed. He stared upwards at the ceiling, his hands folding across his stomach. He could start putting his clothes together later.
As soon as his eyes closed, though, he heard another key in the lock. The door creaked open, and he heard Blaine's voice, exasperated. "Yes, I know, Dad."
"I don't want you wasting time with that LGBT club or the glee club."
"But Dad, I –"
"It'll distract you. You need to focus entirely on school if you want to be successful. You're a junior, Blaine. You need to start taking things seriously now."
"I am. I took two summer classes, didn't I? I've finished all my science credits. Besides, at least let me join the glee club. The Warblers are relying on me. I can't just –"
"You aren't going to talk back to me." Mr. Anderson's voice became suddenly stern, dropping lower. "You're not joining the glee club this year, and that's that. Do you understand?" There was a pause before Blaine's father repeated, his voice sharper. "Do you understand, Blaine?"
Kurt's cheeks were flushed by now. He had no doubt that neither Blaine nor his father wanted him to overhear that conversation. He carefully let out a light cough, and he saw Blaine and his father move from the hall into the room. "I'm sorry," Kurt squeaked out, noting the annoyed expression on Mr. Anderson's face.
"I'm guessing that you're Blaine's new roommate," Mr. Anderson said, his eyes not leaving Kurt. Despite the fact that Blaine's father was just a few inches taller than Blaine, Blaine seemed significantly smaller than he had in the presentation hall. He moved inside, slowly unlocking his bags.
"Kurt Hummel," Kurt said, pulling himself up and glancing downwards. He stretched out a hand, and Mr. Anderson took it.
"Hummel? As in Finn Hummel?"
"I'm his brother." Kurt shuffled before offering him a polite smile. Apparently Blaine wasn't joking when he said that he looked up to him as an idol because Mr. Anderson's expression relaxed.
"Your brother's a fine boy."
"I suppose so," Kurt said, and he sucked in his lips, kneading his lower one between his teeth. He could feel Blaine's gaze fixed on him, and he wanted to shrink away from the attention. Mr. Anderson must have noticed that Kurt wasn't entirely comfortable because he cleared his throat, gave Kurt a curt nod, and turned back to Blaine.
"Maybe having a Hummel as a roommate will actually do you good. I'll see you for Thanksgiving."
"Yes, sir." Blaine's voice was smaller yet, and he watched as his dad moved out. Unlike with Burt and Carole, there were no hugs or goodbyes. Mr. Anderson simply slammed the door behind him, walking away with a purpose.
As soon as he was gone, Blaine collapsed backwards on his bed, groaning. His head fell in his hands for a moment before he looked up at Kurt. "I'm really, really sorry," he said, his head tilting back against the headboard of the bed.
"Why would you be sorry?"
"You had to deal with my dad acting like that and hear his close-minded…" Blaine trailed off, mumbling something else, though it wasn't distinguishable. Kurt simply moved over so that he sat beside Blaine.
He felt odd; he barely knew the boy. Yet he'd had to deal with people forcing him around in his old school. He'd been lucky enough to have supportive parents. It seemed like Blaine was in the same situation as him, only the roles were reversed. From what he'd seen, he knew Blaine at least had a few friends, but his father seemed less than supportive. And his mother had been nowhere in sight.
"It's not your fault." Kurt reached out, his chest tightening slightly as he took Blaine's hand in his.
Blaine seemed surprised, and his eyes widened, dropping to their hands. Still, he didn't pull back. Kurt gave his hand a light squeeze before pulling back himself, feeling an uncomfortable prickle as their arms nudged together. Their hands were sweatier than he'd thought, and the feel of them pressed together was somehow more intimate than Kurt would have liked.
He turned around, focusing himself on his suitcase, undoing the zipper and pulling out some clothes. He carefully set them in piles on his clothes. Blaine sighed before stretching himself out on the bed. Kurt could feel Blaine's gaze set on him, and he wished that Blaine would focus on unpacking as well. He wasn't used to someone staring at him like that.
"So, what about you?"
"What about me?" Kurt said, his voice coming out slightly clipped.
"What do you want to do with your life? I'm guessing you have some big shoes to fill after Finn."
"So everyone keeps on telling me." Kurt slammed the main compartment of his suitcase shut and moved over to the dresser, setting his shirts neatly in one drawer, organizing by pattern: stripes, one-colored, graphic shirts, and miscellaneous.
"Hey, that's cool if you don't want to be that."
"No, I don't." Part of Kurt was telling him that he was being hot and cold. Just a few seconds ago, he was reassuringly grabbing Blaine's hand. Yet it seemed everyone he'd met compared him to Finn. Moving to Dalton, he thought he'd at least have a break from that.
"Then, what do you want to do?"
"I want to sing too! I guess you probably got that with the whole Glee club, though," Blaine said, and the bed creaked as he shifted. Kurt turned around to see him lying down, his elbow propped up and his cheek resting against the palm of his hand as he smiled warmly at Kurt. Kurt paused, fiddling with the pants he had in his hands.
"Musical theater?" Kurt asked.
"Nah. I want to write my own music. I don't know. Not that musical theater wouldn't be fun… I don't know. A lawyer just seems too stuffy. But singing…" Blaine smiled broadly, and for a moment his eyes glazed over as if he was staring at something else.
"I know what you mean," Kurt said, his lips tugging upwards again into a smile.
Yet again, before they could get further in their conversation, they were interrupted. There was a knock on the door, and less than a second later, it slammed open.
"Blaine!" A slender, black boy walked into the room, jumping carelessly onto the bed and slinging an arm around Blaine. Kurt looked over to see several other boys, including the blond one Blaine had been talking to earlier, walk in as well.
"David!" Blaine laughed, his previous apprehension melting away. He moved over, grabbing David's head and giving him a noogie. Kurt scowled before turning back to his clothes.
"How has your summer been? Jeff was telling me that your dad forced you to practically live at school over the summer."
"Yeah, not so exciting. Yours?"
"I went to New York City. Not nearly as exciting as Nick and Jeff."
"So I heard," Blaine said. "Germany, right?"
"And Italy," one of the boys standing from the door added. He had dark brown hair, and he was leaning slightly against the blond boy. Kurt sighed, feeling invisible, as he muttered apologies, scooted past the other boys blocking his path, and opened his closet door.
"Oh, right, Kurt!"
Kurt turned around to face Blaine. Blaine motioned around. "Yeah?"
"I forgot to introduce you. Kurt, this is David," he pointed to the black boy next to him. "Wes." He motioned over to an Asian who simply arched an eyebrow. "Trent." He pointed to a slightly stouter boy who nodded. "And Nick and Jeff." He motioned to the blond and the brunet. Kurt wasn't entirely sure which was which.
"I'm Nick," the brunet said, pointing to himself as if realizing his confusion.
"And I'm Jeff."
"Nice to meet you," Kurt said, offering a small smile and glancing around.
"Did I miss much of the party, boys?" All of their head turned around as another boy swung around, leaning against the doorframe and smirking. He was taller, and his eyes immediately fell to Kurt, shamelessly scanning him up and down. Kurt felt his cheeks heat up as he turned around, grabbing several hangers and starting to put his pants on them.
"Sebastian!" Blaine sounded excited. "I've missed you, dude."
"Who's the new guy?" Sebastian asked.
"Kurt," Blaine introduced, and Kurt pulled at the jeans he was currently hanging up, trying to align the seam.
"Anyway, are we still up for hanging out tonight? I don't know if you got my text, but…" Sebastian asked.
"It's kind of hard to miss a text that says 'Orgy in the common room,'" David said with a snort. Kurt's eyes widened.
"What did you want me to say? Study group? Boring. Besides, we usually end up talking far more than studying."
"Hey, I know you want us, Sebby, but…" Kurt turned around to see Jeff striking a pose. Sebastian just snorted and shoved him.
With Blaine things had been easier. At least then Blaine had seemed subdued. Sure, Kurt had experience around these kinds of people. Finn's best friend, Noah Puckerman, had been the class clown much to Burt and Carole's displeasure. His favorite hobby seemed to be cracking dirty jokes. Yet Blaine had somehow seemed above that all. Maybe he'd been wrong. Kurt groaned. It was going to be a long year.
"Are Thad and Flint coming?" Sebastian asked.
"Yeah, they're just settling down in their room still. But they're gonna be there," Wes explained.
"Cool, well, I have to get unpacked myself. I'll see you boys in a little bit, then." He let out a low click on his tongue before disappearing.
"We should head out too," Nick said, and he pulled out, Jeff following behind him.
"Agreed," Trent muttered. That left just David and Wes in the room, and David patted Blaine's back one more time before getting up.
"I snatched some stuff from the kitchen for tonight," David said, moving over to Wes. Wes backed out, and David hung onto the doorframe for a minute, starting to shut the door.
"Sounds good," Blaine started. "See you later." The door clicked shut, and Blaine sighed happily. "You'll get to know all of them better, I'm sure."
"I'm thrilled," Kurt muttered. Blaine must not have noticed the sarcasm or simply chose to ignore it because he just smiled.
"So much stuff to unpack." Blaine pulled himself up and stared at his bags and suitcase.
"Yup." Kurt moved to his bag, unzipping it and pulling out some books, setting them on the desk.
"I'm actually going to deal with it later. I need to go talk to Trent about something." Swinging himself up, Blaine started to move towards the door.
"See you later, then." Kurt felt as if there was something caught in his throat as his chest constricted. The door creaked open. Everyone was already friends here. How was he supposed to find a place?
"You know," Blaine started, pausing at the door and turning back, his smile wide. "You could always join us?"
"Yeah. You can get to know the boys. They're all cool, I promise. I know they come on a bit strong."
"I'm good," Kurt mumbled, and he sat down at the edge of his bed. "I mean, they're your friends. I don't know how much they'd like it if I intruded." Part of him wanted to say yes, but the thought of hanging out with all of those boys was intimidating. Besides, they probably didn't want him there.
"You're not intruding on anything. Trent was the new kid last year. Really, it's fun. Promise."
"I think I'm going to bed. I'm tired. Thanks for the offer, though." Kurt forced a smile before setting his bag down. He could deal with the rest tomorrow. He didn't feel like sorting through it at the moment anyway. Blaine paused, his mouth opening for a moment as if he was going to argue, but then he simply shrugged his shoulders.
"Suit yourself. The offer's open anytime, though. Night!"
With that, the door clicked shut, and Kurt was left alone in the room yet again. He looked to the desk, pulling out the chair and sitting down. After a moment, he pulled over the bag with the cookies. Eying it for a moment, he finally decided to pull one out, biting lightly on the edge. He missed home already.
Tell me what you think.