Title: The Lonely Warbler
R (for smut in later chapters)
Bullying; Violent Bullying in later chapters

Summary: At the beginning of Kurt's senior year at McKinley High, he skips class to avoid a bully and ends up meeting the most interesting boy he's ever laid eyes on.

Note: This story is a fill for a prompt at the Glee Kink Meme on livejournal

Chapter One

Kurt was skipping his afternoon classes. It wasn't something he normally did. He was actually a good student with some of the highest grades of his class. He always handed his assignments in on time, he was well-liked by all his teachers (well, except for the homophobic ones), and he was quiet and attentive in class. Skipping school wasn't even on his radar... normally.

Senior year had gotten off to a rough start. He had hoped that being in the oldest class would mean that he would have a smaller percentage of the school to fear.

It was a naive hope.

A new transfer student named Brandon had taken a personal interest in Kurt. He didn't just join in on the bullying, though -he led it. Kurt's regular tormentors were quick to fall under Brandon's leadership, suddenly acting as his thugs instead of by their own bullying free-will. Brandon was cruel and relentless... and sneaky as hell.

It started almost immediately after Brandon had met Kurt the first day of the school year. On the morning of the second day of school, Kurt found himself face first in a toilet getting a swirly –something he hadn't dealt with since he was a freshman. There were still the locker slams, the name-calling and the slushies that he had dealt with his entire highschool career, but since Brandon arrived, the dumpster dives , bathroom swirlies, and embarrassing games of 'keep-away' with his belongings had been added back into the equation.

To make matters worse, most of the teachers thought of Brandon as a sweet and thoughtful boy, a genuinely good kid. He was on the football team but also the debate team, he did well in his classes and was polite to all the staff at McKinley. He was nice to all his fellow classmates within the classroom –even Kurt. So, because of Brandon's 'good guy' persona, Kurt knew no one would believe him if he reported Brandon for the bullying.

It was only the third week of senior year and Kurt was skipping classes to avoid Brandon. The day was warm, but the air had a cool, autumn edge to it. Kurt stepped out of his black Navigator and hitched his shiny leather messenger bag over his shoulder before shutting the door and locking the vehicle. He stepped up onto the sidewalk and pushed open the front door of the local music store. The bell dinged above his head as the door opened making him feel nostalgic for a time he never lived in.

"Kurt," called out the elderly man at the counter. "Shouldn't you be in class?"

"Free period," lied Kurt in reply, returning the man's bright smile.

"Ah, yes," answered the man with a nod and a wink. "Do they ever teach you anything in school these days?"

"Nothing worth remembering, Richard," called Kurt teasingly as he walked through the CD aisle.

He didn't have much interest in CDs since getting an account on iTunes and Richard never had a very large selection to begin with, but Kurt still liked to thumb through the CDs just the same. The store was a mini superstore of everything music, with one section being CDs and DVDs, another being instruments, and the third being sheet music and the like. Richard even gave piano lessons on the grand piano that stood on display in the front of the store.

The elderly man went back to what he had been working on at the counter ('probably a crossword puzzle', mused Kurt), leaving Kurt to browse around his favorite Lima haunt in silence. After looking over the CDs and finding nothing new, Kurt walked over to the sheet music section, idly thinking about the current assignment in Glee club.

It was then that Kurt noticed him; a boy about his age with an uncomfortably 'proper' stance and dark hair that was shellacked into a 1950s hairstyle. He was wearing an expensive-looking long black peacoat with a high collar topped off with a white scarf looped at his throat.

Kurt inched his way toward the stranger, pretending to look through the music as he tried to watch him discreetly. The young man's face was drawn in concentration, his thick, dark eyebrows furrowed adorably. He was looking through the piano books.

Kurt considered approaching him. It was obvious that he was nothing like the rest of the teen population of Lima, if his appearance was anything to go by. Pressing his lips together, Kurt worked at mentally constructing an opening line –he didn't want to approach the guy unprepared.

Kurt closed his eyes, mentally repeating the words he had chosen in greeting over and over in his head like a mantra. Finally, when he had decided that they sounded right and that he had said them internally enough that he wouldn't stumble over them when saying them out-loud, he opened his eyes and took a deep breath. The boy wasn't there anymore.

Brow furrowed, Kurt turned his head to try to locate the stranger. The dark-haired boy was already at the counter. Berating himself for allowing his ridiculousness to keep him from greeting the fascinating boy, Kurt watched from behind a stand of music books. The stranger seemed nervous but friendly, his stance still stiff but his face open as he laughed at something Richard said. He paid for the book and tucked it in his bag before leaving the store.

Once the stranger was gone, Kurt gingerly approached the counter. Richard was already giving him a pointed look coupled with a knowing smirk.

"What?" snapped Kurt, hiding his nerves behind a wry smile.

"You wanna know who that was, don't you," asked the elderly man as grin spread across his face.

"I haven't seen him before," replied Kurt, wincing at his own admission of interest.

"Blaine," said Richard simply.

"He's not in school?" asked Kurt, knowing he was risking Richard's incessant teasing by asking further about the boy but couldn't help his curiosity.

"He homeschools," came Richard's answer.

"He comes here often. Eats lunch across the way," explained Richard, nodding towards the large front window that showed a cafe across the road as he spoke. "Then hangs out here for a while before heading off elsewhere."

"Huh," was Kurt's only response as he rubbed his finger against his chin thoughtfully.

"He's a nice kid," said Richard with a shrug. "Kind of nervous of other people, though."

It was Wednesday when Kurt had first taken the plunge into the world of delinquency, skipping his Biology class. Now, it was Friday and Kurt had Biology. So, he found himself stepping into Richard's music store yet again. At the sight of the interesting boy with the preppy 1950s hairstyle, Kurt did an internal fist-pump which was at odds with the calm demeanour he struggled to maintain.

It was warm that day and though Kurt, who was practically infamous for his many layers, wasn't even wearing a sweater, the boy was dressed in his long, black peacoat again. Kurt felt empathetically overheated just by looking at the heavy material of the coat.

The boy was looking through the piano books again, picking one up and flipping through it every so often. Kurt wondered what it was he could be looking for. He shrugged to himself and decided not to make the same mistake twice; he was going to introduce himself to the boy before he could escape again. Nervously, Kurt made his way toward the boy, trying not to seem too obvious about it.

"Play the piano?" asked Kurt, feeling stupid for asking such a ridiculous question but at least it was an icebreaker.

Startling at Kurt's sudden presence, the boy's head snapped up in surprise. His eyes were wide, giving Kurt a chance to see their beautiful kaleidoscope of colours. Kurt smiled sheepishly at him.

"Hi... I... yeah," stammered the stranger, smiling and laughing lightly at himself. "Sorry, yes. I'm still learning, though."

"Isn't a person always still learning when it comes to music?" asked Kurt, putting on his best charming smile and hoping it came out that way and not as something ridiculous.

"Definitely," replied the boy, his smile turning less startled and more genuine. "I just meant that I'm still quite new at it. I'm loving it, though. Do you play?"

"A little," answered Kurt with a nod. "I mostly sing."

"I bet you sound amazing," said the boy.

Kurt raised his eyebrow, giving him a look that was partially critical but mostly confused and a touch pleased.

"Err... your speaking voice is very... you sound," stammered the boy, backpedaling and flushing. "I just mean that, judging from your speaking voice, it sounds like you would have a lovely singing voice.

Kurt laughed.

"Thank you?" he replied in question form.

"I'm Blaine, by the way," the boy said, thrusting his hand toward Kurt.

"Kurt," replied Kurt, taking Blaine's hand and shaking it.

Somehow, even between Blaine's nervousness and Kurt's usual antisocial behavior, they managed to find themselves sitting together in a coffee shop just down the street from Richard's. Kurt was sipping his non-fat café mocha and smiling with gentle amusement as he watched Blaine gesture avidly while he talked about John Coltrane, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis and a long list of other names Kurt wasn't as familiar with.

"Sorry," Blaine suddenly said with a sheepish smile.

He let his hands drop from the air to wrap around his coffee cup instead. Kurt cocked his head to the side in silent askance.

"I just realized that I've been talking... a lot," explained Blaine, laughing and shaking his head at himself. "Sorry, you probably aren't even interested in all this jazz and blues nonsense. I just... once I get going... well."

"It's not nonsense if you're passionate about it," replied Kurt with a small smile and a shrug.

A comfortable silence stretched between them after Kurt spoke, the warmth of his words still lingering in the air between them. Blaine smiled to himself and took a few drinks of his Medium Drip coffee. Kurt watched him from under his eyelashes as he nursed his own drink.

"Is that why you relentlessly gel your hair into submission?" asked Kurt a little later, lifting his left hand to wave it in Blaine's direction.

Blaine threw his head back and laughed. The sound of his laugh warmed Kurt from the inside and he couldn't help but grin. Blaine shook his head, letting his outburst of laughter quiet into a small chuckle as he looked down at his hands. He almost looked bashful, but Kurt didn't want to get ahead of himself.

"I have really curly hair," supplied Blaine. "I look pretty silly with my frizzy, fluffy clown hair without 'gelling my hair into submission' as you so nicely put it."

"I have a hard time believing it is that bad," laughed Kurt, reaching across the table and patting Blaine's hand, a gesture completely out of ordinary for him.

He smiled at Blaine who smiled back.

"Maybe more like a hobbit than a clown," added Kurt, his smile turning mischievous.

"Hey!" laughed Blaine, trying to shoot Kurt a glare but failing at looking affronted.

Kurt let out a chuckle that sounded more like a low giggle. Were they flirting? He took a long swig of his mocha, silently berating himself for being so... so... so unKurtlike, telling himself that he probably looked and sounded absolutely ridiculous right then. Blaine reached into his open peacoat and pulled out a silver pocket watch. After glancing at it, he returned it to the inside pocket of his coat.

"So, look," said Blaine, looking across the table at Kurt. "I have to get going, but it was really nice to meet you, Kurt. Perhaps we could meet for coffee again sometime."

"I'd like that," replied Kurt with a nod and a smile.

Blaine tilted his head back and drained the rest of his coffee before standing up from the table. He pulled his bag over his shoulder with his free hand and pushed the chair in with his hip. Kurt took one last drink of his own drink before standing to follow. Something caught his eye as Blaine stepped away from the table.

"Oh, wait," called out Kurt, stepping forward to grab at the item that had drifted to the floor. "You dropped something."

Kurt's eyebrows furrowed when he realized the item he was reaching for was a grey and brown feather. Blaine stopped and turned around to see what Kurt was talking about. Picking up the feather, Kurt held it out to Blaine with a confused look on his face. The colour in Blaine's face immediately drained away, leaving him pale. A look of shock and fear flashed across his face before he could school it into nonchalance. It had only been momentary, but Kurt had caught the expression.

"Huh," breathed out Blaine, shrugging the shoulder not weighed down with his bag. "Must have been stuck to my coat or something."

Kurt nodded but pursed his lips, wondering at Blaine's initial reaction.

"Do you want it?" asked Kurt. "It's quite beautiful. The colours and the markings really are unique."

A small smirk pulled at the corners of Blaine's mouth but he shook his head.

"You keep it," he answered.