Hi, I'm C Coulter, your author for this fic.
It's my update before hiatus and it's the 10th episode. I had never imagined it would get this far, and to each and every single one of you who have supported me and given me so much kindness and encouragement in your words, I am grateful. The post is late-again, I apologize-but here's hoping you nevertheless find it to your satisfaction. I will be one a day hiatus tomorrow, and the next few days are slightly uncertain. I will be leaving the country for a competition and I do not know if I will be able to update then, but I will try my very best.
I am indebted to all of you and here I hope that you will enjoy this episode.
(I do not own Glee.)
Episode 10: Answers
I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.
The Warblers and I are working towards the Winter Music Festival, where we'll perform in front of everyone and our parents. No pressure right there.
I'm to perform my first duel for a solo, and it's against Reed. Whoever wins will take lead with whoever wins between Logan and Blaine. And it all comes down to today.
The morning of the duels found Kurt up early and in the kitchen making pancakes. There was breakfast in the Dining Hall, but he wanted to stay in the warmth of the House. It was snowing softly outside. After the snow day confinement, Dwight had been very twitchy about snowflakes coming down, while the other boys were incorrigible and ran out the moment they saw the drifts.
He was singing softly to himself, in French, as he cooked, looking almost unbearably quaint as he did so.
Les rêves des amoureux sont comme le bon vin
Ils donnent de la joie ou bien du chagrin
Affaibli par la faim je suis malheureux
Volant en chemin tout ce que je peux
Car rien n'est gratuit dans la vie…
The young man leaning by the door was smiling as he watched. Finally, he decided to speak up. "Le Festin? You? Seriously?"
Kurt looked up and laughed. "Well you have to admit, it's a little bit fitting. That, and due to severe training, I now have the unbearable ability to get even French songs stuck in my head."
"You're up early," said Blaine, coming into the kitchen, attracted by the smell of actual cooking. It felt as though every other time he found a reason to be there, it was because of black smoke or pungent smells. Some of the boys in Windsor simply didn't know how to exist without a staff waiting on them. Only a handful of them were actually domesticated.
Kurt just smiled. "Yeah. I guess I got a little too excited."
"First duel," Blaine nodded with an understanding grin. He walked up to the counter, resting his guitar onto the side of the stool. Kurt smiled and handed him a plate of pancakes. "Thanks."
"What's with the guitar?" Kurt asked, smiling a bit.
Blaine shrugged. "I've been up late rehearsing, actually… Seeing as how you and Reed barely even stopped singing into the night." He smirked as Kurt looked embarrassed.
"Sorry… I guess we both are just a little more anxious about dueling than we'd care to admit. Well…Reed more than me." Kurt sat, sighing. "He is actually really good, you know. He doesn't have my range or my, well…diva but he's, you know…charming." He shrugged. "And at the same time, it's my first one too. The last time you guys have heard me sing was when I auditioned, so I think I have some expectations to surpass."
"I know what you mean…" Blained laughed. "You know, I could barely sleep back before my first one. I felt beating Wes and David for convincing me to go through with it. But I went and sang anyway."
"What did you sing?"
Blaine smiled, leaning forward onto the counter. "You want to hear it?"
Kurt blinked, pleasantly surprised. He leaned behind him and turned off the stove. He faced Blaine again, who was strapping on his guitar, and Kurt leaned forward. "Let's hear it, then."
"You remember what I told you?" Blaine said as he adjusted, "About the situation I was in, which was why I came here?"
"Well, it kind of comes from that. What I might have wanted to hear… And…I've been thinking maybe I ought to have sung this to you at some point. Just to…just to help, I mean." He made an awkward cough turning red. "I know it's been rough on you and the song is…I mean not really in the sense that…well…" He waved it off. "In any case, just listen to it."
Kurt flushed. He turned his eyes away for a moment, and then glanced back as Blaine started to play, guitar strums being the only sound in the morning air. The older boy carefully lifted his eyes to him, and began to sing.
I've been alone
Surrounded by darkness…
and I've seen how heartless
The world can be…
And I've seen you crying
You felt like it's hopeless…
I'll always do my best
To make you see…
Kurt sat gazing at Blaine with wonder as he sang. It wasn't just his voice, or how well he played—it was his music and his words that reached out to him.
Baby you're not alone
'Cause you're here with me
And nothing's ever gonna bring us down
'Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' you…
And you know it's true
It don't matter what'll come to be
Our love is all we need to make it through…
Blaine flashed him a small smile as he sang and Kurt flushed to the roots of his hair. He ducked his gaze, smiling. At least now, he had no doubts. He was the only person in the room, and Blaine was singing to him. He was singing a song just for him.
Now I know it ain't easy
But it ain't hard trying…
Every time I see you smiling
And I feel you so close to me
Kurt bit his lip to stop from smiling any more than he already was. Blaine seemed to enjoy this, and grinned at him bit more. Distantly, he wondered if this was how the boys felt whenever their girlfriends sang to them.
He lifted his eyes and met Blaine's again.
Now I still have trouble
I trip and stumble
Trying to make sense of things some times
I look for reasons
But I don't need 'em
All I need is to look in your eyes
And I realize…
Baby you're not alone
'Cause you're here with me…
As the song started to come to a close, Kurt was simply unable to keep his eyes off him. Blaine hadn't been looking at him the whole time, but at some point in the end, as he ended the song, he caught Kurt's gaze again and it remained there.
In the silence that followed, Blaine smiled and rested his hand on the counter. His fingertips lay just inches away from Kurt's. The other boy just stared at him.
After a few moments of this, Blaine smiled a bit more. "Well…? Aren't you going to say anything?"
Kurt came to. "Oh…yeah, I mean… It was…" What does a person say after hearing something like that? He felt like Finn, looking for words, and he simply found none that sufficed. There was too much to say and too little time to think. So he just laughed a little and said, "Well…if you sang that, then you definitely must've won."
"I did, yeah," Blaine admitted. "That was my "dueling" song for last year's Music Fest. And it got me my spot as lead." He put down the guitar. "Of course I can't sing that again this year. Still trying to work that out."
Kurt gazed at him for a moment, deliberating within himself what he was about to do. But it was Blaine and that song…he felt as though he just wanted to keep that song and that kind of moment just for himself. If he couldn't have Blaine as a boyfriend, as a lover…couldn't he have just that? And maybe…
"Please sing with me."
Blaine looked up, surprised. Kurt forced a laugh. "Uh…I just… Well Medel told me that if I planned on really getting some leverage, I should sing duet. I mean because everyone does a solo and the point of the two leads is for a duet. It would make sense to duel as a pair. Right?" He sure hoped so, because he was pretty sure he was just nonchalantly rambling on by now.
He looked at Blaine, who seemed to be considering this. He quickly said, "It's just an idea. I've seen how you and Logan look like you prefer to personally rip each other's throats off and I wouldn't want to get in the crossfire."
"Nothing that severe." Blaine smiled. "The duet idea, though… sounds great. I've never actually seen anyone duel like that and it sounds…interesting." He grinned. "That, and I'd love to sing with you."
"Great!" Kurt exhaled as though he felt all life would exit him at that moment. "We're set, then."
"Good." Blaine stood up, picking up the guitar. "Talk about it on the way to class?"
"Sure," Kurt nodded. Blaine grinned and left, closing the kitchen door behind him. As soon as he was gone, Kurt sank his head onto the tile countertop in relief. I can't believe I asked. And I believe he said he'd do it! Alright then, Whoever-Is-Up-There-If-There-is-Even-Anyone…you get a point.
From where he had closed the door, Blaine walked to the entrance hall, leaned back on the wall and groaned as he slid down it onto the floor. "…great job, Blaine," he muttered. "Sing to him and all that." "Would you like to hear it?" I said. He looked like someone hit him in the face! With a million other songs on the planet, it had to be that one. And then he asked me to duet. Wow, there goes all my concentration for the rest of the day… He groaned. "I thought I said I wasn't going to do this…?"
He heard a sound. He knew that sound—it was the sound of slush dripping onto the floor. He slowly looked up from where he was, praying to anyone listening up there that it was not what he thought it was.
Wes, David and the twins stood there along with some other Windsor boys, still in their wet coats and shoes, each and every single one smirking mercilessly at him.
Blaine stared. "…please tell me…that you did not hear all of that."
"We've actually been here since the song," said Wes sweetly.
"We found it unbelievably charming of you, Blaine," added David.
Evan was grinning from ear to ear, "And of course you'll have our Alice…" he took his twin's hand, gave him a dramatic dance twirl and Ethan pretended to faint into his arms, "…falling into your arms in no time!"
"Oh for the love of—!" Blaine just ducked as the boys in the hall exploded into laughter and catcalls.
"Kurt, you're starting to worry me," Reed said, raising an eyebrow as he sat with Kurt in the sunny cafeteria during lunch period. "You haven't stopped smiling all morning and I think that's why Murdoch gave us so much homework!"
"What are you talking about?" Kurt answered, giving him an incredulous look. He stabbed at his salad. "I haven't been acting differently," he added, glancing to the door.
"Waiting for someone?" Reed smirked as he observed.
"Just…wondering about the other guys, they should be here by now. Where are they?"
"Oh…" Reed sighed. "They're hatching a plan."
"For what?" Kurt asked, looking at him.
"Oh, it's Dwight's birthday," Reed answered. "Apparently, he locks himself up when that happens, so the others coax him out with some…persuasion."
Kurt wasn't sure about what to think of that, but said nothing. He smiled at Reed. "So, are you ready?"
"I think so…" Reed fidgeted. "I've just really been practicing."
"I know, I heard you. You'll do fine." Kurt rolled his eyes. "Don't be so nervous."
Reed smirked. "I heard about you and Blaine dueling with a duet, you know. Are you nervous?"
Kurt choked on his latte but shot him an incredulous look. "Why should I be?"
"Because you like him? And that if you lose you won't get to sing opposite him?" Reed grinned. "Honestly, Kurt—I don't see why you and he won't just come out with it."
"I understand that we've already come out."
"I'm serious," said Reed. "I think Blaine likes you."
"We're friends, Reed," Kurt sighed after swallowing a bite of lettuce. "And he just…he's more like a teacher to me than a boyfriend."
"Doesn't change the fact that you want him to be your boyfriend," Reed said happily.
Kurt rolled his eyes. "Ha ha, very funny."
"Well you like him, he likes you, you're going to sing together. I can hardly wait."
"And you are about to have your first solo, Reed. And that, I would like to see."
The voices pounding at his door sounded terrified and desperate. Instantly grabbing his holy water spray and pulling on a few more pendants, he grabbed a bag of blessed rock salt and shoved it into his pocket before running to the door, tearing it open. "What? What? What's happening?"
"Dwight—" David looked like he was going to die, he was breathing so hard and he was white in the face. "—Dwight, you know the old greenhouse at the West Corner? Where the low fence going into the wood is?"
"Yeah…" Dwight turned pale, hands turning cold.
"Well…" Wes gulped, gasping for air, "David and I—twins dared us to get that statuette in the fountain—"
Dwight looked horrified. "The replica of Angel Uriel?"
"That one—Wes he—he grabbed it—" And here Wes held up a small stone statue of a female angel with wings, looking time worn. Dwight backed away from it like it was radioactive.
"And then all this black stuff started to pour into the fountain!" Wes cried, flailing the statue around. " What do we do, Dwight? What's happening?"
"You unlocked a seal, that's what!" Dwight howled back, furious. "How many times do I have to tell you people to not move any ornament more than fifteen years old in this campus? Stay there!" He ducked back into his room to grab his emergencies-only stash of some of the most formidable weapons against malignant specters.
He didn't see Wes and David shoot each other a look. They looked pale and scared when Dwight turned back to them. "All right, take me to that fountain and tell me where exactly and what position you found the statuette in." He grabbed it from Wes' hand and carefully wrapped it.
"What—you're going out there?" David gasped. "Don't do it, Dwight! What if there's something dangerous in that water?"
"I have to go," Dwight said seriously, in the tone of a warrior on a noble cause. "I mean, it's scary as hell and I'm totally about to wet my pants as we speak, but if I can't let whatever it is take the campus! It's what the Winchesters would've done!" And with a dramatic flounce of his coat, he ran down the hall.
David and Wes looked at each other and grinned. They ran down the hall after him, David muttering into his cufflink. "All right, boys, the Auror is out of the Ministry. It's all yours."
Dwight threw himself outside Windsor doors, with Wes and David running after him, the doors swinging open as they went.
Silence fell in Windsor. The two doors swung backward to reveal the twins standing behind them with identical Cheshire grins. Evan said, "Wes and David aren't bad."
"No, they are not," Ethan agreed. The twins glanced behind them and Ethan took out a walkie talkie. "Alright, boys! Bring it all in! Set it all up!"
A veritable mass of men started pouring into Windsor, carrying massive party decorations, drinks, food, furnishings and the like. The Windsor boys in the dorm started to help out as well, hauling things indoors. Everything looked rather dark and menacing, and when Blaine walked in, looking confused, he turned to the twins. "I thought we were going to do Left 4 Dead."
"We decided that would be too easy for Dwight," said Evan happily. "So Silent Hill it is."
"You should see our animatronic Pyramid Head," grinned Ethan, ignoring the mass of people milling around.
"And the waitresses who look like the nurses."
"And the peeling flesh walls."
"And I can't wait for him to find the eyeballs in the bloody punch."
"I don't know if you're trying to make him happy or trying to kill him with fright," said Blaine, shaking his head as he headed upstairs. "Tell Wes and David not to go overboard."
"Well, they won't be back until practice—they're going to send Dwight on a wild goose chase first to kill time until we all get out of Warblers." The twins looked up at him, "Aren't you joining the fun, Acting Prefect?"
"I'll catch up," he answered. "I have to go rehearse with Kurt for the duel."
"You're talking about singing with him, though, right?" grinned Evan. "Not intercourse?"
"You kissed him yet?" Ethan yelled. "You keep looking at his lips when he talks!"
"I hope you both choke on an insect-coated candy apple!" Blaine called cheerily back from upstairs.
The twins grinned and checked their lists. "We did get some of those, right?"
Blaine and Kurt were walking down the corridors after their rehearsal, in the hall. They were rather certain that it would be something interesting, at least, for all the Warblers.
It was Blaine who suggested doing a bit of theatrics for the song, sensing that was what Medel was looking for after her hint of pizzazz to Kurt. It was Kurt who chose the song, saying that he'd wanted to try it out just once, but never found a partner willing to do it.
All the same, they both found something in the song that meant something to them, though they decided not to tell the other this. Practice had been done with very little of the acting, nevertheless. The real game begins during duels.
The Warblers arrived all present and early to the hall in recognition of the duel's magnitude. With a battle between Blaine and Logan, and then one between Kurt and Reed, it promised to be quite a spectacle. A few Hanover Warblers claimed hearing Blaine and Kurt singing—but only one song.
The moment Kurt walked in, someone grabbed his elbow. It was Logan.
"Can I talk to you for a minute?" he asked. Kurt stared up at him—he had seen that look in his eyes before. It was during Sectionals, when he asked to be trusted. Apprehensive, Kurt glanced to Blaine a moment. "Um…"
Blaine stared hard a Logan, looked at Kurt and said, "I'll wait with the others."
Kurt nodded. And though Blaine may have walked to where a tired-looking Wes and David sat, he kept his eyes on the two talking low in the corner of the Hall. "What's that about?" asked David.
"I don't know," Blaine answered, gazing at them.
At the corner, Logan looked at Kurt and said, "I wanted to formally apologize… I didn't get to back when we talked during the storm."
"Apologize for what?" Kurt inquired, crossing his arms.
"For…exploding. During Sectionals. I just…" Logan sighed and gestured helplessly. "I get angry. Really easily."
Kurt's expression remained neutral. Logan swallowed and continued, "I shouldn't have accused you without knowing what was going on…but you have to admit, you did the same to me. Everything you've heard about me is still second-hand information."
"Logan…" Kurt shook his head, shifting his weight.
"One chance, Kurt," Logan said, looking intently at him. "Please. …please don't let me be too late."
"Too late to what?" Kurt asked, confused.
Logan looked at him with grim determination. He reached out and took one of Kurt's hands. "Kurt—I know you're not going to believe me, because quite frankly, I don't either—but hear me out. I have to tell you something."
Kurt looked at him, thoroughly unsure of what was going on, but at that instant, Harvey walked in. "All right everyone. Please settle down."
Logan clenched his fist but said nothing. He released Kurt immediately. Blaine was halfway to getting out of his seat, but he sat back down when he saw Kurt head back towards where they were sitting.
"What did he want?" asked David as soon as Kurt sat with them.
"Just to talk," Kurt said, still confused. "He said he wanted to tell me something."
Blaine turned immediately to Logan, who was not looking at him.
Sylvia walked to the piano and Greg took control, looking over the mass of the boys waiting for the singing battle.
"All right. Without further ado, let's begin the duels. Will Logan, Blaine, Kurt and Reed come forward please?"
Reed made a barely heard sound of surrender. Kurt grinned and grabbed his friend's hand, pulling him towards the front. Logan and Blaine followed, and they each drew a marble from the bag held out by the choir director. Logan once again earned the red marble. He would go first.
"We begin with the first soloists," said Greg with a nod.
As Logan went to the front, taking his spot, he kept his eyes on Kurt long enough for Kurt to be aware that he was doing this on purpose. Logan sat on the piano and seemed to consider what he was about to do for a moment, before laying his hands on the keys and beginning to play.
His playing was flawless as they had always been, but there was a new emotion in his vocal tone.
I saw you there
And looked you straight between the eyes
And said I'm leaving
And I don't care
And I don't know if they were lies
But I don't need them…
Cause standing still
Isn't easy …
When the world's moving backwards
The world's moving backwards
So get your fill
But please believe me
That the world's moving backwards …
The world's moving backwards…
The Warblers were pleasantly surprised. Even Wes had to admit that after the blatant forwardness of the Aerosmith song he had sung last time, there was a subtle message in this rendition of a Ben Rector song, and sung marvelously with the use of words and the color of Logan's tones.
This wasn't lost on Kurt, who was deep in thought. Was this what Logan was trying to say? Was he trying to apologize after what happened? Their eyes met.
So I pray that you'll give me grace if you can hear me
That you'll give me grace if you can hear me
And I pray that you'll give us grace if you can hear me
You'll give us grace
You'll give us grace
You'll give us grace…
At the high note, the Warblers sat up, looking deeply fascinated, some of them starting to smile with exclamations of impressed voices. This was definitely the Logan who was their lead singer from many performances ago. Blaine simply kept watching neutrally.
"Got his game face on," David nodded, Reed biting his nails.
Kurt watched, somehow impressed by such a performance.
Cause standing still
Isn't easy …
When the world's moving backwards
The world's moving backwards
So get your fill
But please believe me
That the world's moving backwards …
The world's moving backwards…
The song came to a close. As soon as the last delicate notes faded, the Hall burst into applause with more conviction than last time. Greg and Sylvia also applauded, congratulating him with their eyes. Logan smiled at the others, turned to Kurt and nodded.
Kurt sighed and nodded back slightly, clapping for him as well. He did do more wonderfully than he'd heard before. So this is the Logan they talk about…
Sylvia stood again. "Blaine? It's your turn."
"Ms Medel?" Blaine said as he rose with Kurt, "if you all don't mind… Kurt and I have planned to perform together."
The Warblers nearly broke their necks with how fast they turned at this, looking up at him in surprise. Even Logan looked stunned from where he sat. The two professors seemed to discuss for a moment, and then nodded. Greg looked at the two. "Proceed."
Kurt and Blaine gave each other relieved glances and proceeded to go up front. Blaine hurried up to Sylvia and whispered something to her. She looked surprised, but nodded and turned to the piano. She would play for them. Then Kurt and Blaine stood apart from each other, on either end of the performance area, the lights dimming for a moment, under Wesley's control.
When Sylvia began to play, a soft light came on to Blaine as he looked up and began to sing, "I should tell you I'm disaster… I forget how to begin it…"
Kurt appeared into the spot of light, taking Blaine's hand carefully, looking at him in pleading, concerned, "Let's just make this part go faster… I have yet to be in it... I should tell you…"
"I should tell you…" Blaine reached up and held Kurt's hands.
"I should tell you…" Kurt glanced away a moment.
"I should tell you…"
In the minds of all the Warblers—one word flashed: Rent.
Blaine and Kurt were performing Rent. Everyone immediately sat up to pay stunned attention to the pair in front of them, performing Roger and Mimi's duet. As the Windsor boys' jaws dropped, not having expected this, Logan's heart sank at the realization.
Kurt sang, looking up at Blaine, "I should tell I blew the candle out just to get back in…"
"I'd forgotten how to smile until your candle burned my skin…" Blaine admitted with a faint smile.
"I should tell you…"
"I should tell you…"
"I should tell you…"
"I should tell you…" their voices came together in harmony, rising in hope, looking intently at each other, standing close. The light began to illuminate the room again. They were almost smiling, nervous, hopeful, afraid:
"Well here we go…now we…"
"…oh no…" Kurt lowered his eyes.
Blaine tried to catch his eye again, making him look up at him. "I know—this something is—here goes—"
"Here goes…" Kurt began to smile, Blaine doing the same.
"Guess so…It's starting to—Who knows…"
Hands held, their voices began to rise again, filling the room:
"Who knows where…Who goes there…Who knows…Here goes…"
Blaine released Kurt's hands and they almost dance as they move, singing to one another.
"Trusting desire—starting to learn…
Walking through fire without a burn…
Clinging—A shoulder a leap begins…
Stinging and older , asleep on pins…
So here we go…"
The song softly began to close, their hands carefully holding as they stood in front of one another.
"Who knows where - who goes there
Here goes - Here goes…"
Silence fell in the room as the song ended. The two in the middle stared at each other, as though lost for just one moment. Then they seemed to come to their senses and tore their gazes away with awkward smiles.
The Warblers were all in shock at the unprecedented performance. Kurt and Blaine looked up at them, blinking into the light. And then Sylvia leapt to her feet, losing all propriety in spite of herself, and began clapping. The Warblers erupted into applause and laughter—with some of the obligatory cheers, hoots and catcalls.
"Yeah!" Wes yelled, clapping hard as David laughed. "That's a performance!"
Bright scarlet, Kurt dropped his gaze a little, laughing softly to himself. He glanced to Blaine and saw him grinning back at him. "We did say all or nothing…" Blaine said.
Kurt nodded with a laugh and the two made deeply exaggerated bows to their teammates. Kurt pretended to wave them on as they pretended to throw flowers. Blaine just stood and laughed, bowing deeply to the others.
"All right, settle, settle…" Greg smirked at them. He looked at Blaine and Kurt, saying, "You two certainly put on something…new…"
The two just grinned up at him. Greg now looked up. "Which brings us to the final competitor, another first-timer—Reed."
The Warblers all turned to look at the boy who looked pale with fright. Kurt got up and gave him a hug before urging him on. Some of the boys clapped encouragingly. Each of them had been waiting for this, hoping to hear Reed sing solo for the first time. They had always heard him as chorus vocal, and this was his defining moment.
Reed was intimidated by Logan, Blaine and Kurt, but his friends in Windsor nodded encouragingly at him, and he smiled tremulously. He was unnerved and it was obvious. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. He hesitated for so long that Greg and Sylvia looked at each other, rather concerned.
In a burst of inspiration, Blaine suddenly got up and snatched up an acoustic guitar from the instrument rack. He ran to the front and asked Reed something, and Reed answered. Blaine nodded and motioned for Wes and David to come down. The three of them prepared to back Reed up, smiling at him.
Reed laughed a little, grateful, and turned to the audience with a bit more confidence. As the music started, he deep breath, and began to sing.
I'm driving around town
Kinda bored with the windows rolled down
See a girl on the bus stop bench
Dressed to draw attention…
Hoping everyone will stare
If she don't stand out she thinks she'll disappear
Wish I could hold her, tell her, show her
What she wants is already there…
Kurt was smiling so much he couldn't stop if he tried. He watched as Reed smiled up at his teammates and continued to sing the country song with his own tones and take on the words.
A star is a star
It doesn't have to try to shine…
Water will fall
A bird just knows how to fly…
You don't have to tell a flower how to bloom
Or light how to fill up a room…
You already are what you are
And what you are is beautiful…
And Kurt realized, the song was meant for Reed himself. He was singing it for his sake, as he enjoyed the thing he loved the most at this moment—singing. Even the other Warblers could feel the conviction in his voice, and, moved by the music that Blaine, Wes and David were playing, were starting to move along to the beat unconsciously.
(You'd say) Gravity is gravity
It doesn't try to pull you down…
Stone is stone
It can't help but hold its ground…
The wind just blows, though you can't see
It's everywhere like I'll always be…
You already are what you are
And what you are is strong enough…
The song came to an end. And the Warblers burst into the loudest applause of the day yet, with Blaine, Kurt and even Logan, applauding along with everyone else. They cheered and threw music sheets. "Damn, Reed, good job! Yeah! Way to go, Reed! Encore, encore!"
Reed stood in the middle of it all, looking as though he were about to cry, smiling up at them. The Windsor boys descended on him, grabbing him into hugs and patting his shoulders heavily. Reed just laughed, shaking his head.
Sylvia looked like a mother who just saw her child walking—astonished and delighted. "Reed, we had no idea!" she exclaimed.
Greg nodded, smiling a little and clapping along with the other boys before saying, "All right…all of you. Settle down, settle down. A great job from all of you—each one bringing something different. Now it's time for the Warblers to decide who gets to be first and second lead."
Reed sat back down next to Kurt and the two of them grinned at each other.
"We have come to the vote," said Sylvia. But she looked strange, as though trying not to laugh.
"We have our first and second leads," said Greg, who kept the poker face up better than she did. Kurt looked around and saw that a lot of the Warblers were grinning ear to ear, jostling each other's elbows as though they knew an inside joke.
Kurt looked at Blaine, who just shrugged, not knowing either.
Greg cleared his throat. "As it would appear from the names written on the votes… Our first and second leads are…" He looked at the slip of paper and held it out, as though evidence. "Kurt and Reed."
The room burst into cheers of triumph as the boys leapt from their seats.
"What?" burst out Kurt, looking around in confusion at the announcement. "Wait—how is that possible?"
"Mr. Harvey—Kurt and I are both second lead!" said Reed, looking utterly blown away. "Why are we the pair?"
"Why don't you ask them…?" Harvey sighed, motioning to the cheering boys—Blaine and Logan could do no more than just laugh at this. "When Sylvia and I were checking the slips, they all had the name of the first and second they voted for, but underneath, everyone wrote "but if you could make it Kurt and Reed, then it's them"."
"What?" Kurt looked at the twins, who were falling to the floor in laughter.
Evan was gasping for air. "I knew they'd bite! I knew it!"
"We figured the two of you would look adorable onstage together!" said Ethan.
"Alice and the Dormouse! This should be awesome!"
"We told everyone—they loved the idea!"
"No offense, though, Blaine, they loved your performance," said Ethan quickly.
"But you've got to admit, our two first-timers knocked it out of the ballpark and they should get at least a shot."
"Besides, you and Logan have gotten the lead so many times…"
More near-hysteric laughter followed, leading Kurt to question all their sanities. He looked at Reed, who just looked befuddled, and said, "We…we're performing in front for the Winter Fest…I don't believe it."
It was dark and the Warblers trooped out to their Houses respectively, still talking about what they could make two small soloists "do" for the fest, which included having them sing all sorts of girl band songs. Kurt shook his head—when he fantasized about getting the lead, he didn't think it would be this way. And because it was Dwight's birthday, Windsor felt generous enough to invite Stuart and Hanover over to their house for the celebration.
When Dwight—after being misled by many many clues that had been left for him around campus by Wes, David and the Twins (it was supposedly an "ancient puzzle" that unlocks secrets within school)—finally managed to get back to the house, he looked furious.
"Happy Birthday, Dwight!" the entire group yelled as the draggled spiritualist walked in. The entire house was frankly terrifying—it looked like something out of Silent Hill all right, with the twins sparing no expense. Dwight stood, staring with wide eyes and looking shell shocked.
"What…the…hell…" he gaped.
The Windsor boys scooped him up and started tossing him around the crowd. "Give him to Pyramid Head!" some of the boys started yelling. And the celebrant, who was both happy and horrified, was yelling as they led him near the giant animatronic monster.
"How can they still have all that energy…?" Kurt wondered aloud. Blaine, who stood next to him, said, "We don't think they're human anymore."
"They? Aren't you one of them?" Kurt grinned.
"So are you," Blaine laughed.
"Fair enough." Kurt got up from the couch, hoping to get some punch when he felt his phone vibrate.
It was a message from Mercedes.
Kurt, meet me outside, ASAP.
"What is it?" asked Blaine.
"It's Mercedes—she wants to see me outside. She's out by the gate, I guess." Kurt's brow furrowed.
"It's a bit late, isn't it?" said Blaine, concerned. "Want me to come with you?"
"No, I'll go see her, it might be important or private or something." Kurt immediately grabbed his coat, leaving his things on the couch.
"Are you sure?" asked Blaine.
"Yeah! Be back with her." Kurt fled the house.
Blaine was a little worried at the suddenness of the visit, but he looked around and spotted Logan among the guests, and for some reason, that eased his mind somewhat. At least Logan didn't follow Kurt outside. He tried to control the madness in the house for a few moments until he realized it was futile and let the boys throw the candy eyeballs around.
His own phone started to ring, and he picked it up. "Hello?"
"Blaine? This is Rachel! I got your number from Mercedes! It's an emergency and Kurt isn't—"
"Rachel? Wait—Kurt already left to see—"
"Kurt's not answering his phone! Blaine, Mercedes said that she forgot her phone on the courtyard—and Mike just told me that he saw it—"
Blaine's blood turned ice cold.
On the next episode: The longest fifteen minutes of Kurt's life by far, where many things are said and done.