It was a hallway, in the end, that signaled the greatest change in Kurt Hummel's life. Not an auditorium, with the notes of 'Don't Stop Believing' clinging to the musty air, not a Broadway stage with heel marks pressed into the wood over the years, as much as he'd like to believe it, and not even the dingy apartment with the peeling mint wallpaper in New York that was his ('ours, Kurt, forever') for the very first time, the one that meant the start of the rest of his life. No, it was a hallway, and probably a stage with ridiculous lighting. Oh and a t-shirt, he supposed.

Definitely a t-shirt.

Carmel's auditorium was suddenly stifling to Kurt as he stared blankly at the stage, willing himself to wake up, anything to not believe what he had just seen. Mr Schuester's voice echoed in his head, something about this choir not having the talent they did, but it all seemed ridiculous now. The audience was bathed in darkness, most of them screaming, clapping, and standing as they praised the performance, a couple of parents on the front row discreetly wiping tears from their eyes. It was too much, and Kurt couldn't bear to look around him at the faces of his friends as they too took in the excited reactions of the audience and the horrified look on their usually optimistic teacher's face. Even Mr Schue had given up, Kurt could see, as he registered the dropped mouth, the raised eyebrows, the slight tremble in his hands as he clutched the sheet of paper in his hand. It was too much, and so Kurt edged along the row and up the aisle of the auditorium, reaching the wooden door in the dark just before the lights once again illuminated the stage and the show choir already in position on it.

Pacing back and forth in the hall of the large building, Kurt kept his eyes to the floor, head reeling at the performance he had just witnessed. Tina was right, the New Directions were doomed. Going up against Vocal Adrenaline was show choir suicide, and even the sympathy they'd probably gain from being a group of hapless misfits wouldn't be enough to disguise their general lack of form and experience. The other team had moved in tandem, swayed across the stage, drawing the eye with ease as they effortlessly pulled off the choreography as if they had been born to do it. And their voices! Harmonizing perfectly, working together with the rhythm, hypnotizing the audience in seconds-

Yeah, they were doomed. There was no way any audience could stare deep into Berry's 'Broadway eyes' and not see the crazy there. Plus the chances of getting them to dance in sync was about as likely as the Cheerios ditching their reputation and flouncing into the choir room on Monday. Kurt sighed in frustration. There was no way the glee club could continue, not after this, and along with the club went his friends. Tina, Mercedes, even Artie; they'd head back to their own groups and classes, blending into the background as much as Kurt did, ducking their heads as jocks passed and spending lunch breaks in the library, as secluded and safe a space as they would ever find.

Safe. A word he had only let himself dream about previously. The Glee club was that; safety. He had let himself believe, let himself hope that if they were good enough, maybe he would be. But that was also gone. Maybe before this moment he had had the chance of friends, a group of his own, people who would love him for who he was and to share secrets with (just one secret) and to laugh when he did and understand him, or at least try to.

Hopeless. That's what it was. Had he ever really been naïve enough to think the word 'safe'?

'Hey, uh, I get if you're deep in thought or whatever, but could you move? I have to get outside…' A smooth voice interrupted Kurt from his thoughts, causing his brow to tighten as he turned to meet the person who had broken the silence of the hallway. His eyes met a black tee reading 'Carmel' in bold letters across it, a faded school crest stretched across another boy's chest. He looked up slightly to see green eyes flecked with gold, partly obscured by strands of sandy hair falling across his tanned forehead.

'Yeah, sorry, I was, um, sorry.' He replied, swiftly stepping to one side and cursing the way his mouth had gone suddenly inexplicably dry.

'Don't worry about it; I just kinda wanted to get out of here before the vultures leave the stage.' As he spoke the eyebrows of the other boy rose, and his mouth cracked into a smile. Kurt vaguely noticed the silver flash of braces before he seemed to catch himself and close his mouth quickly.

'Are they that bad?' He queried, wondering if the cheerful faces he saw waltzing across the stage can really be the "vultures" this strange boy appeared to think they were.

'Yeah, they pretty much use me as their slave, ever since I auditioned for the damn club…' The taller boy replied, rolling his eyes as his sentence trailed off. Kurt considered the information in his head, and secretly wondered if the boy had a voice as nice as his face, then quickly pushed that thought to the back of his mind, speaking again.

'You auditioned?'

'Yeah, but I got turned down. You ever heard of Dakota Stanley?' Kurt shook his head slowly, feeling as if he should know the name from the expectant look the other boy gave him.

'Well he's VA's choreographer, but he also basically decides who gets in and who doesn't. He said I was too gangly.' The boy explained, gesturing to his long arms and legs as he spoke. Kurt briskly looked him up and down, and swiftly decided that whoever Dakota Stanley was, he was decidedly wrong about some things.

'He sounds charming.' The Carmel boy smiled again as Kurt let sarcasm bleed into his words, a flash of silver peeking out before he self-consciously closed his mouth again.

'Yeah he's a real bastard. Look, it's been nice talking but I really do have to go; if they see me they might make me wipe the sweat from under their arms again, and I don't think I can do it without gagging this time.' He grimaced as he finished speaking, obviously remembering a particularly horrific afternoon. Kurt made a face and spoke quickly, not wanting to keep the boy any longer.

'Yes, sorry, I'll, um, see you around I guess.' And there went his voice again, hitting the slightly higher pitch it did when he was nervous or excited. The boy didn't seem to notice, the corners of his mouth pulling into a slight smile as he brushed through the doorway. He turned back at the last second, catching the door on his heel and shivering slightly in the cold air, appearing to remember something as an afterthought.

'What's your name?'

'Kurt. Um, Kurt Hummel.' As Kurt replied his cheeks grew slightly warmer, the air suddenly feeling less bitter. The boy's mouth stretched into a smile again.

'Well "Um Kurt Hummel", I'm Sebastian Smythe.' And Kurt really blushed then, internally kicking himself as the boy- Sebastian –mocked his nervous speech.

'And I'll definitely see you around.'

A/N: First chapter up! I've posted this on my account on Tumblr, but I figured it can't hurt to put it on here too, especially because I don't think I've used this account in…ever… so might as well put it to good use. Enjoy!