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Glowing in the Dark

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Kurt Hummel had ulterior motives when he applied to be an Orientation Leader for his college. Sure, he was glad to welcome the entire new freshman onto campus during their orientations and then also for the several days they had there before the rest of the students showed up for the beginning of fall semester. Mostly he was just in it for the extra time spent on campus. His freshman year had gone great, but he needed all the time he could get in the practice rooms of the music building if he wanted to be completely prepared for the coming year and everything beyond. He was a commodity, he knew, but that just meant he had to push himself even more to make sure he lived up to everything that was expected of him as the lone countertenor on campus.

New Student Weekend (well it was more than a weekend, considering that all the freshman had gotten there on Wednesday) had been going well so far. That was why he thought it would be fine for him to sneak off instead of spend his break chatting it up with the other Orientation Leaders. There was only so much of them he could take before he had to make a conscious effort not to roll his eyes every ten seconds. He wasn’t the biggest stickler for all the rules, but if he heard one more plan to get a bunch of freshman drunk within their first few nights there, he seriously thought he might turn them in. It just seemed wrong. At least let them get through their first week of college, because then they would actually need to be drunk.

He made his way across the quad and into the music building. Spending his break warming up and working on a few songs that he knew would probably be coming up in his lessons, that was a much better use of his time than sitting around with people he didn’t even really like. He’d slung his official, Orientation Leader mandated messenger bag over his shoulder and started up the stairs from the lobby, heading for the second floor where all the practice rooms were, when he stopped.

There was someone playing the piano in the auditorium. Kurt backtracked down the stairs, carefully taking them one at a time, as opposed to the two at a time bound he’d been doing as he went up. He knew it wasn’t likely whoever it was would hear him, but he still didn’t want to disturb them. He knew how easily sound carried into the auditorium – it was a constant annoyance of his when he actually had the opportunity to use the stage. As quietly as he could, he opened one of the doors and slipped into the back, closing it behind him before turning to look up at the stage and stopping in his tracks.

He’d been expecting an upperclassman, or maybe a teacher, but definitely not the smaller, unfamiliar person bent over the keyboard of the grand piano, playing a Rachmaninoff prelude like it was as natural as breathing. Kurt had heard many people play such incredible pieces in his time there in the music department, through the recital attendance requirements, and he’d heard passionate performances and boring ones. The boy on the stage, he was giving one of the best ones Kurt had ever heard.

Kurt moved his way up the aisle, not wanting to give him cause to stop but wanting to see if he recognized him at all. The first thing he noticed was his clothes, mostly because he looked like he was from a different era. Kurt knew that he himself dressed on the fashionably rebellious side normally, when he didn’t have to wear his khakis and polo shirt and talk to incoming freshmen about how great college life was, but the piano player was different. Cuffed trousers and sweater vests and bow ties. Apparently despite the fact that it was August, long pants and layers were acceptable. Kurt could appreciate that, as he tended to subscribe to that belief as well. His hair was slicked down, very reminiscent of earlier decades, and Kurt could see that his eyes were closed tightly, brow furrowed as he played. Kurt was so focused in on him, on the music that he was sending soaring into the room, that he didn’t even notice the dog lying beneath the piano.

The last notes sounded and hung in the air, reverberating throughout the auditorium.

Kurt’s concert etiquette kicked in before he could stop himself, despite the fact that he’d been so quiet up until that point, and as soon as the boy lifted his foot off the pedal, he started clapping.