Kurt kept his hat tilted at an angle on his first day back to school. It was three weeks into the new school year, but he stalked the hallways proudly, if a little embarrassed at the barely-there layer of hair on his head.

His immune system was finally stable enough to spend an entire day outside–or in the germ-infected hallways of McKinley–and he'd been unwilling to stay at home a single day longer.

He'd been expecting the social order to go back to normal sooner or later, but he hadn't expected the slam against his side and collision with a familiar wall of lockers on the break between second and third period. He'd been walking towards Tina and Artie, and the smiles plummeted off of their faces and then became a blur as he collided with cold metal.

He turned, ready to ream out whoever it was that didn't seem to realize he was still recovering, and then another body flew past him and took the boy–a familiar jock that he recognized from the football team–down in a full-body tackle.

Karofsky punched Kurt's attacker once in the face, hissing angrily, "Didn't I tell you, douche? Hummel is off limits. Like–for good."

"Fuck," the other boy coughed, hands pinned helplessly under Karofsky's knees, "I get it. I'll leave him alone; just get the fuck off me."

Karofsky stood, offering his hand to the stunned jock and hauling him to his feet–Tina and Artie hadn't moved. Their faces were frozen in perfect examples of surprise. A thick hand wrapped around the boy's neck and pushed him forward. "Apologize, tool."

He hunched awkwardly in front of Kurt, mumbling a half-hearted apology that seemed good enough for Karofsky. He let the kid go, brushing his hands together and leaning towards Kurt, "You okay, Hummel?"

Kurt nodded, tilting his head upwards to smile politely at Karofsky, "Of course. That's twice you've rescued me now."

"You don't owe me shit, so you know," he turned his head, glancing down the hallway and nodding at a friend, "I'll keep sticking up for you, dude. I meant it–you're off limits now."

"Thank you, really. It's really great that–" Somebody slammed into Karofsky, pushing him past Kurt and then turning him to shove him into the locker. Kurt frowned, rolling his eyes, "Puck. Let him go."

Puck pushed Karofsky once, who, to his credit, didn't flinch or fight back, "Kurt's mine."

"I'm not your property!" Kurt cried indignantly, but both boys ignored him.

"Whatever, Puck. I was just sticking up for a friend." Kurt grabbed Puck's arm, pushing him away from the lockers and pressing himself up against Puck's torso. It seemed to work–he didn't try to force himself around his boyfriend to get at Karofsky, "See you later, Hummel."

Kurt didn't bother saying goodbye, merely flicking his eyes sideways to acknowledge it.

Puck glared at the locker past Kurt's head. He pressed a soft hand against Puck's warm cheek, pulling it back to slap lightly–not enough to hurt, but enough to snap Puck's eyes to his.

"I'm not your property, Noah," he smiled, leaning forward to press his mouth to Puck's quickly. Puck tried to follow him backwards, but Kurt leaned away, dropping his hand to draw Puck's hand into his own, "Nothing is going to steal me from you."

Puck grinned, pushing Kurt back a step and pressing him against the locker; Kurt tilted up on his tiptoes, letting his arms drift around Puck's neck, "That's for fucking sure."

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