Before You Met Me, I Was Alright
Kurt wasn't sure what he was doing here. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, he'd been so angry, so hurt, so fucking pissed off by what Artie and Puck had said, by how the rest of the guys had just sat there and watched. So he'd thought, Fine, if they wanted him to 'make himself useful' by spying on the competition he would do just that. He'd cobbled together a reasonable facsimile of the Dalton uniform, and hopped in the Nav. Now he was actually at Dalton Academy however, he was starting to regret it; the place was a lot bigger than McKinley, and while the students didn't have the aggressive look of the jocks he was used to, there were a lot of them, and some of them were intimidatingly big.
He turned down another identical hallway, then froze as he heard a voice calling over the low background murmur of teenage boys. "Kurt! Kurt Hummel! Wait up!." He hesitated for a moment before turning on his heel to face the speaker, probably about his age, a little shorter and a little chubby, with brown hair and an expressive face. He looked familiar, but Kurt couldn't pin down where from. The as yet unknown male navigated through the tides of teenagers to stand at Kurt's side, a warm smile lighting his face, making his eyes sparkle. "I thought it was you, Kurt." He paused for a second, taking in the strained smile on Kurt's face, then continued. "We didn't have any classes together, so I don't expect you remember me, I went to McKinley last year. My name's Trent."
"Hello then, I won't introduce myself since you already know who I am. Hell, I think everyone at McKinley knows who I am. How'd you end up at Dalton?"
"My parents came into some money over the summer, an distant relative left us some in his will, and Dalton has a much better academic track record than any of the public schools in Allen County, in Ohio even. I transferred for the start of Junior year, and I don't regret it, I hated McKinley."
Kurt smiled bitterly at this, and was caught of guard by the other boy's next question.
"What brings you to Dalton Kurt? Thinking of transferring?"
Kurt shifted uncomfortably, before deciding that honesty was probably the best policy at this point.
"I was kinda sent here to spy on your show choir, the Warblers. They're in our competition bracket for Sectionals this year, and well, it was this or try and sneak into an old people's home to spy on the Hipsters."
Trent glanced up and down the corridor before leaning in to whisper to Kurt.
"I joined the Warblers about a month ago, we're putting on an impromptu performance today in the Senior commons. It's not a number we're doing for Sectionals so I can't see any harm in you coming along, but I'll have to leave you in the hallway outside so none of the other guys notice you're not in uniform, would lead to a lot of awkward questions."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, afterwards we can grab a drink in the Junior refectory and I'll introduce you to some of the other Warblers."
He gestured for Kurt to follow him and led him along identical hallways and up staircases, until they reached a room that had a crowd of Dalton students around the open door. Looking through it Kurt could see more students in a ring around the edges of the room, leaving an open space in the middle in which a group of around fifteen guys were conferring quietly. Trent led Kurt to a quiet corner where he could see everything without being seen, then gave him a nod and pushed through the crowd of students until he was stood with the rest of the Warblers.
The Warblers formed into a line and opened their mouths, and started a perfect acapella backing track of one of the most over-played pop songs in recent months, though they managed to make it sound fresh and new; it was when a curly-haired midget stepped out from between his much taller teammates to pick up the lead vocals that Kurt realised that New Directions might be in trouble. This guy had a level of showmanship and charisma that Kurt had only ever seen matched by Rachel Berry and Jesse St Spysalot. His voice was an acceptable tenor, though not a patch on Artie in Kurt's opinion, but he owned the room, keeping the audience spellbound.
After his ears had stopped being assaulted by Katy Perry lyrics, Kurt watched as the Warblers exchanged 'bro hugs' and broke up into groups, the crowd dissipating now that the performance was over. Trent strolled over to Kurt's corner and gave him a warm smile, "Some of the guys are gonna catch us up in the refectory, let's go grab that drink."
The Dalton refectory made the best coffee Kurt had ever tasted, and it was all he could do to keep from moaning as he took his first sip. His companion grinned at him, "It got me that way too, makes every cup you've ever had taste like crap, right?"
Both boys looked up as Trent's name was shouted from across the room, a tall, broad-shouldered brunette who Kurt remembered as having performed the role of a beatboxing machine for the Warblers raised a hand in greeting, and headed their way followed by a lean platinum blonde and a shorter, smiling dark haired boy who were walking hand-in-hand.
Trent smiled up at the three of them as they stopped by their table, and made introductions, "Kurt, this is Tristan, he's my roommate, and this is Jeff and Nick, they've been together for over a year now and are still sickeningly sappy with each other." The three boys nodded greetings at Kurt, and sat down, Nick in Jeff's lap; Kurt risked a glance round the room and noticed that no-one seemed to notice or care that two boys were sitting in a couple-y manner, and he wondered if he'd somehow left Ohio without realising it.
Jeff noticed Kurt's shocked expression and smiled at him. "We have an enforced zero-tolerance bullying policy here, even if people did have an issue with us, they can't do anything without being kicked out."
Kurt's jaw dropped at the very thought of that, and he gave a wan smile. "If they tried to implement a policy like that at McKinley the jocks would revolt and burn the school down; but it would never happen, the administration are happy to overlook everything that happens in order to save money wherever they can."
Nick's jaw set at those words, and he nodded, "I used to go to a public school, and the bullying was everywhere, the teachers did what they could, but they couldn't be everywhere at once, and the bullies were good at cornering people when there were no adults around. It was mostly verbal, the administration would expel anyone who physically assaulted another student, but even so, the words stay with you."
Kurt chuckled bitterly, "If it were just words I'd be in paradise, at first it was just a slushy to the face, or being tossed in the dumpster, they damaged clothing, and hurt my pride, but didn't cause real injury. But recently, it's been escalating, there's this one neanderthal who's been making my life hell, and he just seems to be everywhere, I can't walk down a hallway without being tripped, or shoved into the lockers hard enough to bruise. This morning it was both, he tripped me then shoved me as I fell." Here Kurt hesitantly raised his shirt, displaying a sickening large bruise on his side.
Tristan, who had remained silent until now, released a low growl that made Kurt stare at him with alarm, noting that the bigger boy's hands were clenching and unclenching. Trent laid a calming hand on his roommates's forearm, and he slowly relaxed, shooting an apologetic smile at Kurt.
Jeff leaned forward with an interrogative smile, "When you say he's a neanderthal, what exactly do you mean?"
"He's on the football team, used to be a puckhead. He calls his fist 'The Fury' and thinks he can solve all his problems by punching them. He takes personal offense to my homosexuality, and has apparently decided he can beat the gay out of me. You might remember him, Trent, Dave Karofsky."
The former McKinley student nodded, eyes hardening, "I remember that douchebag, he was the one that used to make 'oink oink' noises at me in the cafeteria, never mind that he wasn't exactly svelte himself. I watched him slushy Becky Jackson once, she just stood there, didn't know what to do, until Brittany came up and took her to clean up. He always used to go for the humiliation though, rather than violence, I guess he really does have serious homophobic issues."
Jeff locked eyes with Tristan as Trent finished talking, and the taller warbler nodded, a grim smile playing round his lips. Jeff's own face twisted into a feral smirk as he addressed Kurt, "Tristan here is on the Dalton wrestling team, they went to State last year and came in second. If you're willing, he can help get this neanderthal off your back."
Kurt raised a speculative eyebrow, and Tristan took up the conversation, "I'm straight, but I have no problem pretending to be gay. If you're willing, I'd pretend to be your boyfriend, and come pick you up from McKinley, let this 'phobe get a good look at us, I bet he'll make a scene, and I can turn him into a smear on the floor."
Kurt looked back and forth between Tristan and Jeff for several seconds, before his eyes narrowed, "You've done this before."
"It was how we kept Nick safe long enough for his transfer papers to go through after he came for a look round Dalton. The bullying for him was starting to build towards violence despite the threat of expulsion, and we'd sort of adopted him from the minute we saw him."
Jeff grinned, "He had this little lost puppy-dog look around him, we just had to take care of him." Nick mock-scowled at his boyfriend and playfully slapped his arm.
Kurt felt overwhelmed, his voice trembled as he spoke up, "Why would you do this? I came here to spy on you, any other school would have beaten me up, not bought me coffee and offered to help with my bullying problem."
Nick smiled, "Trent likes you, and he doesn't like many people from that hellhole he transferred from, so that counts in your favour. And yeah, you came to spy, but you made a half-assed job of it, your outfit makes you stick out like a sore thumb, it's a miracle you weren't spotted before Trent did. Besides, there are a number of performances by New Directions on YouTube, filmed by some guy who calls himself JBI, so as far as we're concerned this is just evening out the playing field."
Kurt blinked rapidly, eyes shimmering with unshed tears. "Thank you."
All four Dalton students smiled warmly at him, Tristan pulled his cellphone out of his pocket, and the others followed suit, and soon they had all exchanged numbers, and arranged for Tristan to pick Kurt up at McKinley for their 'date' the next day, when neither football nor Glee had practice, so Karofsky and Kurt would be leaving at approximately the same time.
Trent walked Kurt back through the halls of Dalton to the parking lot, and watched him drive off with a wave. Then he pulled his cellphone out of his pocket, and placed a call to one of his few friends from McKinley, Lauren Zizes. The McKinley wrestling team had beaten Dalton at State the previous year, but Lauren and Tristan had developed a grudging respect for each other, and Trent wanted his friend to have backup in case Karofsky turned out to be more trouble than they thought, or the other jocks weighed in on his side.
Kurt finished putting the last of his books away in his locker, and, after checking his reflection in the mirror (fabulous as always), headed for the parking lot. He had caught a ride in with Finn that morning, as Tristan was picking him up from McKinley, and he had received a text that the Warbler was outside waiting for him. He hadn't had any encounters with Karofsky that day, but knew the jock was at school as they shared a lunch period.
He had told his dad that he was going out for coffee with friends after school, which was technically true, and kept him from fretting, he had arranged for Mercedes to meet him and Tristan at the coffee shop after he had told her all about his experiences the previous day, his sassy friend wanting to meet his 'boyfriend' to thank him herself for helping Kurt in a way she couldn't.
As he exited the main doors he saw a brand new Jeep Liberty sat in a space near to the front, several curious students lingering about to see who the driver of the stylish vehicle was waiting for. Tristan leaned against the driver's side door, he was out of uniform, wearing boot-cut jeans with a plain cream shirt that made his warm brown eyes seem to glow, with sturdy brown boots on his feet. He looked good, and for a second Kurt wished this was a real date; well, at least it was going to look good, he saw Karofsky lurking by the dumpsters and set his hips to maximum sway as he sashayed over to the Jeep.
Tristan straightened up as Kurt approached, a broad smile splitting his face. He took Kurt's messenger bag and put it in the back of the Jeep, before wrapping his arms around Kurt and planting a chaste but convincing kiss on his lips. Kurt arched his back slightly, making it look as though he was pressing his body against Tristan's, and the taller boys hands slid down his back to squeeze his ass briefly. Kurt moaned against Tristan's lips, and they broke apart with feigned reluctance, Kurt becoming aware that they had drawn a crowd, and that judging from the noise level people were already gossiping.
A second later, he had no time to look around, as a large hand grabbed his arm and pushed him to the ground. Looking up he saw Karofsky take a swing at Tristan, who dodged and brought one booted foot up into the jock's stomach, causing him to double over. He brought a hand down on the back of Karofsky's neck as it presented himself, and 'The Fury' crumpled to the floor, groaning.
Tristan glared down at him, and spat out "Leave Kurt alone from now on, or next time I won't go easy on you."
A slow clapping from behind them caused them both to spin around, where they saw a grinning Lauren Zizes and a smirking Coach Sylvester. They also saw Azimio on the ground, looking like he wished he was dead, and Tristan gave an acknowledging nod to Zizes, recognising her from last year's State wrestling championships, where she had flattened him without mercy. Coach Sylvester gave Tristan an appraising look, then turned sharply to Kurt, "Porcelain, you and Prep School get out of here. I'll clear this trash off the sidewalk for you. For what it's worth, if I'd known things had gotten this bad I'd have shipped them off to the Siberian gulags a long time ago. Putin still owes me for the Litvinenko job."
Kurt gave his former coach a small smile and a nod of thanks, and turned to Tristan, who held the door of the Jeep open for him with unexpected chivalry. Kurt accepted a hand up into the vehicle, then settled back with a sigh as his companion got in the driver's side and started the engine, peeling out of the parking lot and heading for the Lima Bean. It might not be a 'date' date, but it was another guy willingly spending time with him outside school or Glee club, it was a start.
Tristan meanwhile was trying to think of a way to breach the subject that despite his earlier assertion he wasn't 100% straight, and very much wanted this to be a 'date' date. Maybe he could ask this friend of Kurt's for advice at the coffee shop. With that thought in mind, he put his foot down, he had a Diva to beg for help wooing her best friend.