Spoilers: AU. Only certain pairings still exist.
Summary: Young and fresh college graduate Kurt Hummel decides to head out onto the open waters of the world for a culture experience that he'll never forget.
Graham was certainly not the character that Kurt had expected him to be or the person that he had hoped the man to be. The man was an absolute enigma as he stood to the side so he could observe Kurt with a twinkling smile and amused eyes. He had stayed in his standing position next to his bed ever since Sue had left them there with a snort at the silence that had befallen them. She had only barked out "This is Kurt. He's marooned here like us." followed by a few minutes of hushed conversation between the two.
Within the time that Sue had left, Kurt had somehow become more comfortable. He didn't know if it was the seemingly amused nature that Graham had, but it was something. He now had one leg crossing the other and his arms crossed over his chest while he let his eyes observe the room. He had looked back at Graham several times, but with each time he found his gaze locked with the observant eyes they'd enter into a staring contest until the corner of Graham's mouth turned up into a smile.
The small house around him was quite small, apparently built around the trees as they were in the dirt floor and the small windows had a tree going through half of it. Other than that, the room only has one of the mattresses from their crashed ship and a small trunk tucked away at the head of it and in the corner. The chair that Kurt sat in couldn't even be included in the room since it wasn't a chair, but a tree stump that Sue had pulled from the nearby patch of trees before leading Kurt in. Even though it was cramped, the small room had a homely feeling that made him feel extremely comfortable, although that could also be applied to the person that he had been introduced to. Kurt chuckles at the idea that an actual person could be a source of comfort as he's never experienced or found someone like that.
The chuckle causes the first movement that Kurt had seen in quite some time. Graham is full on grinning as he slides to his side and flops down on his bed, his feet quickly going under him as he sits Indian style. He leans forward with a wide grin and licks his bottom lip as he watches Kurt.
"How are you feeling?"
Kurt's entire face drops at the question, going completely jaw-slack because that was one thing that he would never expect from anyone for a while; let alone their first time meeting him. He had been expected a life story, or a question about his brief and disastrous voyage, but not this. He first recognizes the thick accent and his ears perk up at the foreignness. This was the bit of culture that he was hoping to experience in his voyage; extremely happy that he's at least getting some culture apart from being marooned. Kurt can't help as the question sets in that a snort rips itself from his body.
Graham grins wider as Kurt brings his hand to cover his mouth and nose at the habit that he didn't like of himself. "Are you serious?" Kurt asks through his grin. "That's your actual question? No joke?"
"No joke." Graham nods as the small smile on his face turns into a smirk. "Why does that surprise you?"
"Because I didn't expect such a normal question over one that would be much more interesting to you." Kurt chuckles.
"I find it quite interesting in how you are feeling." The man smiles. "That shows what kind of person you are. Especially after the, as you call it, interesting part."
Kurt smiles at the quick wit of the man, feeling more comfortable by the minute. "Okay." Kurt decides to ask his own questions first. "What I'm interested in now is where you're from? You're accent is too thick to have come from a Midwestern state. So where?"
"Where is a relative term that does not apply to your situation." Graham states with a smile before he cocks his head slightly. "But to answer your question, I am not from the Midwest. I was recruited by Sue and her school to be a consultant and translator during their trip. Not that they needed a translator, but I was able to provide insight into many cultures that they would have encountered in their travels." Graham chuckles. "To be honest, I still don't understand what their trip was about. I've never met a school that would let children travel without any point to it apart from one small singing competition. Seems a bit strange."
"Well have you met Sue?" Kurt chuckles before he sighs. "Although you didn't answer my question, I like what I got from you."
"Now what do I get from you?" Graham asks as he leans forward, his eyes narrowing slightly with interest.
Kurt sighs before settling back in the chair, suddenly tired of the back and forth and feeling slightly disturbed. "Okay. I . . . I am feeling content. I've accepted my situation, and I know I can't really do anything about it, so I'm content. I'm still a bit fearful of what might happen when people . . . when people know of me, but I seem to have a small support system so far from the people I've met. That's helpful I guess. I'm not used to this kind of support." Kurt glances up to Graham and gives him a weak smile. "I'm sorry. This wasn't meant to be a counseling session, but . . ." Kurt stops when Graham's smile quivers slightly. "Is that how you intended things to go?"
"I was curious." Graham answers with a shrug. "It is intriguing. I know almost everything about everyone on this island. Only a few things that people have kept well-covered have escaped me, but . . . for all intents and purposes I am someone to talk to. People need to talk, especially for grief and acceptance."
Kurt slowly nods. "Was this your career where you were before all of this?"
Graham smiles. "Are you nervous about meeting everyone? This will be quite an endeavor for you to go through."
"I'm sure I can handle it." Kurt's confident voice leaves no room for question. "Not that you need to know, but I've had plenty in my life that I've been able to overcome and handle. I'm not some weakling, despite appearances."
"And I would never insinuate anything as such." Graham smiles. "But I am glad that you have confidence. That will help you here."
Kurt smiles briefly before his thoughts drift back to the only person that might cause him a problem here. "You said you know everyone, correct?"
Graham slowly bows his head at the question. "As much as one can know them when the society of their containment will allow."
Kurt's eyes go out of focus for a second as his curiosity rises at the wording, but he shrugs it off and brings the blonde person to the front of his mind. "On our way over here, Sue had to stop and make this blonde girl go away."
Graham seems very intrigued as he sits forward and lets his tongue run across the top set of his teeth in a thoughtful matter. "Well there are a few blondes, but only one could cause trouble that I can think of. Who was next to you?"
"Puck." Kurt quickly answers.
Graham takes in a quick breath of air as he sits back, his thoughts being confirmed by Kurt. "That would be our lovely resident Quinn. I guess I should warn you about her in advance. She has quite a temper. And several control issues." Graham adds in an afterthought. "Sue and I were always sure that she was the one to instigate trouble or to manipulate things, but we were never able to prove it." He glances to Kurt at this point. "This stays between us. Sue will kill me if our speculations were to reach anyone."
"Mum's the word." Kurt mutters as he sits forward.
Graham gives Kurt a half-nod before his eyes drift away and he returns to his thoughts. "Quinn . . . she is a very difficult person. Like I said, she likes to manipulate. And she doesn't like to as she calls them, her possessions, to be touched. Unfortunately she includes Puck in that category. Even though she doesn't know who you are, I expect that you'll be getting an earful from her sooner or later. Puck is her prized possession."
"Why?" Kurt inquires. "Are they . . . you know. Together?"
Graham snorts. "God no. That boy won't even go near here." Graham grins as he looks to Kurt. "From what I've been told, they knew each other in high school. Both popular, both got everything that they wanted . . . except she didn't get him. All I know is that she plays up being his friend in the hopes that one day love will blossom in his heart."
Kurt looks confused for a second. "That sounds sweet, but it also sounds unstable."
Graham chuckles and nods. "I know Puck has no feelings for her. He doesn't have feelings for anyone here."
"What about Beth?" Kurt asks.
Graham's eyes widen as he pulls a double-take at Kurt. "How do you know about her?"
"I kind of met her this morning." Kurt admits.
Graham smirks. "That girl is clever, but yes. She is the only one that Puck loves. It's his daughter after all. Quinn will try to act like her mother, but I don't even think Beth likes her." He snaps his head to look at Kurt. "Why are we even talking of this? What's with the questions about Puck?"
Kurt sits back, feeling like he had just stepped on someone's toes. "I'm sorry. He's just the only decent human being that I've met and-" Kurt stops and shakes his head. "Not the only . . . decent human being. But I've actually held several conversations with him since meeting. One with Sam, Sue, and now you. I'm just trying to say that he's . . . I don't know. He's talked to me. He's been nice."
"He's being human." Graham mutters as his eyes move down in thought, but he quickly clears his throat. "Just beware of Quinn. Sue and I can run interference with her, but she's a slippery one. I'll let Puck know as well. We shouldn't try to endanger you anymore than you already are with everything. It's going to be a big adjustment for you now that we want to integrate you here."
"What would you do if I didn't want to be integrated?" Kurt asks quickly.
"We'd leave you out there to die." Graham shrugs with his quick response. "As much as we know what you're going through and we want to help, we won't force. This is part of our values as we try to retain our human characteristics instead of devolving into cannibalistic nature. We are simply a unit of people trying to stay human. This is why we have laws, get along. If we are to allow chaos, we let ourselves slip out of human nature and into abomination."
Kurt raises his eyebrows, impressed at the choice words, but he has his own thoughts. "Psych major."
"It was one of my studies." Graham smiles. "You're quick-witted. I like that."
"It's self-defense." Kurt boasts with pride. "I wouldn't be able to survive with out it."
"Then adapt it to here." Graham states firmly. "Who know? Maybe you'll be the one that manages to get us all off of this wasteland."
Kurt cracks a smile. "That'd be nice. Almost like a dream, which is what I had hoped this would be until I woke up today."
"Dream or not . . . blend in. This will make people accept you easier rather than treat you like a creep." Graham sits forward, his posture and tone becoming serious. "This is new for everyone, but like we have for all these years, we adapt. I'm sure you will too."
Kurt gives the man a weak smile before he looks out the front door and into the forest, wanting to talk about something new. "So why here? Why not be closer to everyone?"
"I was never one for interaction. I keep to myself. I've lived a life of solitude long before I met anyone here." Graham keeps his tone soft. "I do interact, but they come here. To me, I am safest here. I'm surrounded on all sighs with natural shields. It's also hard to find me unless you know where to look. They all know I'm out here, but very few know where."
"Okay." Kurt says slowly as he tries to think of some questions to pass time. "So what kind of . . . what kind of society is there here? I assume there's not a jail, so how do you deal with people?"
"Exile." Graham shrugs.
Kurt looks back with wide eyes, but finds Graham grinning. Kurt isn't sure if he's enjoying the mans personality or questioning it from the sudden switches. There's certainly a story there that he's dying to find out. That's been one of his problems. To avoid people that wanted him for money or to torture, for the lack of a better word, he had had plenty of time to observe. Just on those observations he had become a small detective when it came to personalities. This grew, however, over time because he loved learning. From the way that Graham is becoming distant and lost in his own thoughts to smiling and laughing made Kurt think that the man was either hiding something or knew something. At least it'd give him something to do here until he could figure out his place.
"But mainly chores." Graham continues on. "We've never had anyone try to do anything too severe. Our crime rate is low. I would like to think that it's all thanks to Sue, but, and don't let her know I said this, but it's those high school kids. Well not high school anymore, but them in general. They all knew each other before this so there was a sense of camaraderie. They may have disliked one another then, but that knowledge of who everyone was I think helped. I mean we have a few people such as myself that came to the ship for reasons other than a high schools way of fun, but the idea is still there for the most part."
"Where you ever afraid of them?" Kurt asks softly.
Graham shrugs and looks back to Kurt. "That doesn't matter. I know what I am now and being afraid has nothing to do with it." He suddenly breaks out of the eerie look about him and smiles at Kurt. "You know, you're very good at distracting me. You really should stop that."
"I'm just getting a feel for my surroundings." Kurt defends himself with a smile.
"You-" Graham stops and looks to his door. "Come in, Puck."
Kurt turns his head to find Puck slowly moving into the small home, his eyes averted from the two men. "Sue said that Kurt can come back to my place for a bit. We're going to have a celebration tonight. She wants to know if you want to come." He asks Graham.
Graham smiles as he stands up, a smile growing on his face as he moves slowly towards Puck. "I believe I shall."
"Be there at sunset then." Kurt frowns at the nervous smile that Puck gives Graham, confused by it. "Come on then, Kurt."
The smile is back, making Kurt eve more flummoxed as he stands up. "Thank you." He turns to Graham. "You've been very insightful."
"Good luck, Mr. Hummel." Graham mock bows at Kurt as he pats both Kurt and Puck on the shoulders at the same time. "I'm sure you've been told this by this man here and Sue, but do come to me if you're having any problems. This is a unique circumstance and I don't want to see it tampered with."
"Thank you." Kurt smiles to the man. "I'll try and come back up here once in a while. I'm sure we'll be having some unique-" Graham chuckles at Kurt's repeat of his word. "Conversations."
"Until then." Graham bows his head one last time before he removes his hands from the two men in front of him and steps back.
Kurt looks to Puck to find the boy motioning for Kurt to go out first. Kurt nods before he steps out, wincing slightly at the sudden spike of heat. He only goes a few steps before Puck is back at his side like the night before, a protective vibe resonating from him.
"So . . . how'd you like Graham?" Puck asks as they step out of the slim opening of the trees to be on the path back to their society.
Kurt licks his lips, trying to think of the best way to describe it. "I wouldn't say awkward, but there was definitely some of that there. I know he didn't act like he was surprised and dumbfounded that I had miraculously crashed here, but I'm sure he was."
"He's very good at hiding things like that." Puck comments before he glances down at Kurt. "Sorry for pushing you onto him. I would have let you come back to my place sooner, but Sue thought it would be a good idea to have you with Graham first." Puck explains. "She trusts him. I mean she trusts me, but he's better at reading people. I'm only good at analyzing certain things about people."
Kurt nods, returning to his thoughts. He's still waiting for something bad to happen to him after all of the luck he's had so far. It's just logic for something bad to happen. Something about nature. And now he has all of this information within such a short amount of time, and he's not sure what to do with it. He can't even go back to his room to think, or to sleep. He can't do that here. He has to adapt, as he's been told.
Kurt breaks from his thoughts and looks to Puck. "So what next?"
Sorry for the late chapter. Had a bit of a plot point that I had to fix with this chapter. Let me know what you thought of it. :)