Hi, I'm C Coulter, your writer for this fic.
Massive Update. You have been warned.
I tried to update yesterday, but it simply could not be done. Oh, I tried. Pretty hard, at that. However, something different happened to this episode. The events that took place in the Winter Festival were too big to simply cut and post. If it was cut in the middle, it wouldn't be enough.
The Wild One, the next ep, stands as a turning point for the season. As said in the preview, it is where many truths come out for one moment. Kurt will finally learn why Dalton is the way it is and why its occupants have come to be the way they are.
And then there's him, Blaine and Logan. The battle may be between the Houses, but Dalton's triad of best singers are about to reach a hot point in their battles.
I'm grateful to your patience and continued support of my work. It is truly an honor that so many of you have given me kind words of encouragement. Those who also follow the Dalton livejournal for updates deserve special mention. Thank you for your encouragement and help. I will do my best to respond to you as you have to me.
Reed and the Twins have won most popular non-canon boys. Another running poll has replaced it.
Now, I have not slept in 36 hours. I will sleep. I hope you all enjoy this episode. :)
(I do not own Glee.)
Episode 13: The Wild One
"No!" a huffy plop onto a plush bed.
"Reed, stop being ridiculous. You just sang and danced for both Dalton and St. Patrick." Kurt glowered at him, starting to get incredibly annoyed.
"Yes, but when I did, I wasn't in front of the alums. And not in front of my mother! I nearly broke my neck when those girls threw me—what if I fall onstage?" Reed was biting his nails again and Kurt smacked his hand away. "Stop that. We've got two hours until performance. Stop psyching yourself out and let loose! You did all right at it earlier."
The countdown was two hours before the Winter fest. The boys, after the great St. Patrick victory, had all retreated back to their dormitories and began to pack. The fest marked the last day they were to be in school, and many of them would be leaving school with their parents when it ended.
Reed had spent his time fretting in his room, his things utterly unpacked. As far as he was concerned, he only needed to bring home books for the vacation homework—the Van Kamp heir would be the last person who would need to pack clothes or necessities. He wasn't even moving into Kurt's room until they returned next year.
Kurt had pulled his massive suitcase of things into Reed's room to try to talk some sense into the second lead, who seemed to be having even more stage fright than he had earlier in the field, mainly due to self-inflicted pressure. "You know, you just need to get back into the zone?" he suggested. "You said it yourself, you had fun out there. This time isn't going to be different. Call it a warm up." He got up and headed for Reed's gleaming Bose sound system.
"What are you doing?" Reed blinked as Kurt pushed some buttons. The drums pounded in, and at the first electric guitar riff, Reed's eyes widened.
"Oh no…oh no no no no—" he backed away as the Rent song continued to blast through the room.
"Yes, yes, yes—come on!" Kurt pulled him into the middle common of the room.
"If you're not going to sing it, I'll start for you!"
What's the time?
Well it's gotta be close to midnight
My body's talking to me
It says, 'Time for danger'
Kurt was dancing circles around Reed, whose resolve seem to be breaking at the urge to laugh at Kurt's exaggeratedly flirty dancing. The first lead was barely able to control his laughter either, playing air guitar with the music. He pushed Reed forward, who was barely able to sing as he laughed, urging him to go crazy.
Reed threw clothes all over the room, shaking out his curls. "Sing already!" Kurt yelled, throwing a Chanel hat into his friend's face. Reed, smothering giggles, acquiesced:
I've had a knack from way back
At breaking the rules once I learn the game
Get-up life's too quick
I know someplace sick
Where this chick'll dance it the flames
Dancing wildly around the room, the two were starting to make quite a mess, and quite a ruckus, as the music continued to blast. Kurt swung around Reed's bedpost as the latter continued to headbang, hair whipping. The two sung loudly, hardly caring if they were heard.
We don't need any money
I always get in for free
You can get in too
If you get in with me…
Let's go out tonight!
I have to go out tonight
You wanna play? Let's run away
We won't be back before it's New Years Day
Take me out tonight!
The two burst out of the room with clothes flying everywhere, scaring the living daylights out of Dwight, who was in the hall carrying clean laundry. He stared as the twosome continued flailing down the hall.
Reed did a hammerslide down the hall and nearly would have crashed into one of the decorative vases if Kurt hadn't grabbed onto his arm with a laugh. Wes poked his head out of his room to watch the spectacle unfold.
"What the hell?" David stared from where he was coming up the stairs—the two charging past and music still tearing from Reed's open room.
The two continued to sing:
When I get a wink from the doorman
Do you know how lucky you'll be?
That you're on line with the feline of Avenue B
The twins, coming out of the common room, saw them dancing down the stairs and heartily joined in, each one grabbing a lead singer and joined in their dancing in exaggerated near-perverse gestures. Blaine came out of the common room and stared in surprise.
Let's go out tonight
I have to go out tonight
You wanna prowl, be my night owl!
Well take my hand, we're gonna howl
Ethan, who had Kurt, flung him off to Blaine, who caught him in his arms, startled. Kurt only grinned, drunk with adrenaline. Amidst hoots from up above from the other Dalton boys, he sidled daringly up to Blaine and danced as he sang:
Let's find a bar
So dark we forget who we are
And all the scars from the 'never's and 'maybe's die—!
Blaine burst into laughter and grinned as he let him dance close, before releasing him and letting him join Reed and the twins again. This time nearly the whole crowd on the first floor joining in the dance—
Let's go out tonight
Have to go out tonight
You're sweet—wanna hit the street?
Wanna wail at the moon like a cat in heat?
Just take me—out tonight!
As the song ended, all of Windsor house burst into laughter and applause. Kurt had ended up against Blaine again, and the two laughed at each other, fingers lacing through their held hands. The twins and Reed were making exaggerated bows and throwing kisses at their "adoring" crowd.
"He's definitely one of us now," David smirked as he watched Kurt gesture towards Reed again, causing the crowd to applaud further. "You're only a real Windsor when you end up doing something like that on a whim."
"I'm so proud!" Wes exclaimed, pretending to be choked up in tears. "I can't wait until he makes his first case of destruction of property!"
The people downstairs were still laughing and bowing when there was the sound of someone clearing his throat loudly. They all turned to find that the doors to Windsor were open, and standing there was House Head Howard, looking at them with a frown. Next to him, nearly matching his height, was a very expensively-dressed woman from whose neck and ears dripped jewels and wore a pair of Chanel sunglasses in spite of the darkness of the night.
The boys froze. The clothes that Kurt and Reed were flinging around were still everywhere. The toilet paper rolls that the boys upstairs had thrown were bouncing down from the stairs and some fell from the overhead rails.
Howard frowned at them. "Don't most of you have packing to do?"
Kurt's eyes were magnetized to the woman. Her blonde hair was almost white with all the levels of platinum on her, severely pulled back from an incredible pair of cheekbones modeled with expensive makeup. His mental bauble department informed him that she was wearing no less than four designer labels on her size zero frame. When she took off her glasses to scan the mess, he recognized the brown eyes.
"Mom…" Reed murmured, turning shock white.
Hilde Van Kamp smiled tightly. "Hello, darling."
I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.
This is it. The last day before we all get out. I can't say I'll miss their antics, but I think I feel a twinge at the idea that I won't be seeing all the guys until next year.
…and Blaine. I won't see Blaine again until next year.
So now is all we've all got.
One night to close the year.
"Mrs. Van Kamp—" Howard began.
"Hilde, please." The woman said shortly.
"Hilde has come to see Reed," Howard nodded. He gave the boys an "I'm-watching-you" glower and stepped out.
"Mom, hi…" Reed breathed as he moved over to his mother, giving her a quick hug. He was received warmly by the towering woman—Reed inherited nothing of her height, but he had her eyes and her curls—who patted his back.
"Darling," said Hilde in a tone that only the truly chic were able to cultivate. She gingerly picked a piece of lint off her son's uniform lapel and then smiled brightly. "You look…well." She studied the band aids on the hands and the one on his arm. "You look well." She may have expected to find Reed injured more seriously. She tutted. "Reed, I told you not to fold up your sleeves." She tugged them down, and frowned at the wrinkles that resulted on the sleeves.
Supremely uncomfortable at the attention, Reed pried away from her a moment and gestured to the others. "I was just, um…"
"Hey, Ms. Hilde!" the twins chorused from where they stood, smiling, already very familiar with her.
"Hello boys," Hilde smiled and nodded to the others as well, "Blaine…" The prefect smiled gallantly. She looked up at the rail. "Wes, David…" the two cracked grins and nodded at her, heading downstairs. "and Dwight…" spiritualist awkwardly gave her a wave. And then her eyes landed on Kurt. She smiled even more broadly, if not tightly, now. "And this must be Kurt."
"Yes, I told you about him!" Reed said, elated. "He and I get along pretty well."
"I can tell," Hilde said, walking up to the rather starstruck countertenor. The woman was, after all, a famous, if not fearsome, fashion magazine editor who regularly shipped clothes that weren't even in stores yet to her son. "Reed tells me you have fine taste in clothing as well."
"Well, I try," Kurt preened, smiling.
"What were you and Reed doing just now?" she asked, sounding genuinely curious. "It sounded quite lively."
Seeing the look on Reed's face, Blaine quickly said, "They were singing. Just warming up for the performance later. Reed here had just been made one of the two leads in the Warblers' performance for tonight."
"He's really amazing," Kurt added.
The mother looked nonplussed for a moment, and Reed squirmed desperately, sensing danger. "Guys, you don't have to—"
"Sing? Lead?" Hilde looked confused. She frowned and looked down at Reed. "This is news to me. Is this a requirement? What about your painting for the big exhibit? Did you forget you're to have a gala exhibit by next week?"
"No…" Reed said softly. "It's—extracurricular. I'm…I'm a member of our school choir."
Kurt knew that that "oh" meant. It was something fashion editors did when they looked at a piece that they didn't particularly love nor particularly hated. Steeling himself, he quickly said, "The Warblers won Sectionals this year. Reed was one of us."
"So you're one too…" Hilde murmured, giving Kurt a thorough appraisal with her eyes. Kurt found it odd how she could look so frigid when she had the same warm brown eyes Reed had. She seemed to deem him harmless when she just shrugged slightly in her fur stole and looked at her son. "Now, darling, this is nice and all, but hadn't you called me over for something else?"
"What do you mean?" Reed asked awkwardly.
"I assumed you've completed your paintings, of course," Hilde said bluntly. "You have a gala in a few days. I still must ask you to consider photography, dear—you might do so much better with it. And if you want to get cracking on design, I imagined you would've also completed your portfolio by now. I'm to give it to Tim Gunn next week?"
The expression on Reed's face made everyone in the entrance hall look positively uncomfortable. Some of the boys had already left to give them privacy, and not willing to watch this. The Windsor conspirators stayed watching silently.
Reed flustered, "I wanted you to come and watch me! That's why I called you! You heard me singing just now, right? What—what did you think?"
Hilde looked at her son with boundless affection—and what may have been sympathy. "That's really very nice, darling. Mommy is very happy for you. Just as long as you don't forget what's really important." She patted his cheek. "Don't forget, you're on the verge of becoming a household name. Don't you worry, I'll handle everything and make sure you get what you deserve."
"So…you're not going to watch me sing…?" Reed asked softly as his mother started digging into her bag, pulling out what was unmistakably the solid gold D&G phone. Hilde seemed to sigh, "Of course I'll watch, dear… But you won't mind if we don't stay for cocktails? Our flight will leave for New York in a few hours and I haven't yet contacted the rep at Monique Lhullier about that gown they want to make for the princess-to-be…"
"Ms. Hilde?" the twins spoke up. Evan said, "If you like…you can go ahead. We're also flying to the East Coast, we'll take Reed in our jet."
Jet…? If Kurt hadn't been so startled at Hilde's inability to detect her son's discomfort, he would've gaped at the twins.
"Really." Hilde blinked.
"Yes, he'll be fine with us," said Ethan with a smile. "We'll…keep him busy."
"That's fine, then," Hilde waved it on and put the phone to her ear. She gave Reed a short hug. "Talk to you later at the ballroom, sweetie. Yes, hello? Patricia! I saw those photos from the show…" she walked out of Windsor without another word.
Silence fell over the hall.
Reed was staring at the floor. Kurt walked up to him, not knowing exactly what to say. He put a hand on his shoulder. "…Reed?"
The shorter boy looked up, smiling a little. "Yeah, that's mom. She's…pretty awesome, huh? She's got everyone at her feet."
Blaine looked at him, almost apologetic in his expression. "She'll come around, Reed. She loves you to bits, she just…" he shook his head, as though realizing how the earlier exhibition did not entirely support those words. "I know if she hears you sing onstage tonight, she'll get it. There's just no way she wouldn't."
"It's not a big deal," Reed said firmly. He held his head up, blinking. "This had always been the plan for me. I paint, I design—I take over. I like painting anyway, so it makes sense. She's only looking out for me anyway… Being a Warbler is…" he trailed off.
"…something you just really want to do…?" Kurt finished.
Wes crossed his arms over his chest. "Was that on a whim, Reed? When you joined? Because when I saw you audition, you were scared to death but you fought for it."
"Medel saw that you gave it everything—that's why she let you join, right? And for the lead for this performance?" David added, raising an eyebrow. "You fought for that too. You were sure you were outclassed, but you ran into it anyway."
"Doesn't sound like anything you would do just because you felt like it…" the twins tilted their heads at him.
"Guys…" Reed shook his head, as though trying to convince himself. "Mom isn't…shutting me down or anything! She looks out for me. If she saw that I really had potential, she would…support me. Maybe all she's saying is that I…I just don't have a future in singing." He shrugged with a laugh that had no conviction. "I have the rest of high school to sing with you guys. I have that at least, right? So when I stop…I could look back at this and see that I had a great time."
The boys looked at each other. From above, Dwight looked displeased, openly glowering. Reed smiled a little. "I…got to go upstairs. Change uniforms. Mom hates wrinkles." He motioned to his sleeves and went upstairs, picking his way through the mess.
As soon as he was gone, Kurt looked at the others with a frown. "How long has he been like that?" he demanded. "I knew his mom didn't approve, but you didn't tell me he's gone into that frame of thinking."
"There's nothing you can actually do about his mother," Blaine said haltingly, not approving of the situation. "Reed's her only child. She's placed her fashion empire on his shoulders. She'd been doing that since he was eleven."
"But he really wants to sing!" Kurt protested.
"And we really want him to keep doing it," David said patiently. "We know Reed can sing, we know he's amazing. But did you hear what he said? What will happen to him after that?"
"A lot of the kids here…they've got the same deal," explained Wes. "They go to boarding school, get excellent marks, then go on to take over their parents' businesses. It's been like that from generation to generation. …even with us."
"Hasn't anyone here ever asked what Reed actually wants to do with his life?" Kurt exploded, making them all wince. He turned and stomped upstairs. "Kurt…" Blaine began, but he thought better of it and let him go.
Dwight gave the furious one room as he came down to the others. He sighed and looked at them. "This is what they call culture shock, I imagine."
"I take it Kurt has no plans on inheriting his dad's garage…?" Evan said, trying to see the situation from the other boy's point of view.
"Like neither of you ever complained about how things are," grumbled Dwight. He threw up his arms. "I want to go out into the open road! Saving people, hunting things! I want to be something more than Dwight Houston, theme park-owner-to-be! I don't even get to go on the rides anytime I want!"
Blaine glared at them. "He has a point. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think Reed needs to have a say in all this. He looked like his mother just shot him when she said that she didn't even come to hear him sing originally." He sighed. "If Reed really wants what his mom wants, then there's nothing we can do. But if, for the barest chance, he wanted to do something else with his life—the same way the rest of us do—we have to at least help him fight to be heard."
"His mother scares me," Dwight muttered. "We're going up against that? She'll eat us alive."
"It's not going to be done in one night," David warned. "It'll take progressively breaking down her resolve."
There was a moment of consideration. Then the twins smiled.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Orion Ballroom was not named for the great glass and gold skydome it had that was dotted with lights, that revealed the night sky outside. It was a clear Ohio evening, and stars twinkled overhead, slightly overpowered by the mass of candles and lights that decorated the entire ballroom itself. The selection of flowers were so white and pale that the place almost began to look as though it were a wedding.
Students, alumni and parents were already entering the hall in their cocktail wear. The Warblers were the only students there dressed in uniforms. The Warblers opened and closed the Music Fest as they did every year, performing before and after all the individual competitors from each house made their move.
"Dad!" Kurt ran down the entrance hall to over to his father and gave him a big hug. Burt laughed and hugged his son, patting him heavily on the back. Kurt sighed happily. "I missed you guys so much."
"Oh, we missed you too, Kurt," Carole said warmly, smiling and giving him a hug. Kurt hugged her back and smiled at his two parents. Finn was not in attendance—the Cheerios had told Kurt earlier that the McKinley glee club were invading Schuester's home for the night, and Kurt had asked them to greet him a Merry Christmas in his stead.
"Gotta say, we were worried about you," Burt admitted, wearing what was unmistakably the same tux suit he had worn to the wedding, without the tie. "Especially after you got snowed in that one time. You're all right here, right? No problems?"
"Yeah," Kurt said, smiling. "They guys are…well, they're not really problems. They're very…excitable."
Burt gave him a look that made it seem that he didn't really understand what that meant, and Carole said, "Well that's good to hear. You know, Finn might not show it very much, but he's trying very hard to be there for you. He seemed a bit worried even after he met all your friends."
"I know he is—and while he as some good reason to, he doesn't need to," Kurt said with a small smile, remembering how this time last year, he would have killed to have Finn Hudson worrying about him. "In fact, I need him to stop being neurotic. He's got his own problems." He smiled at his father again and hugged him again. After earlier's events, he just realized even more how fortunate he was to have a father like him. "Really missed you."
"You miss us that much, then you oughto come home," Burt said, smiling a bit, half-joking. "You had to go to boarding school just when we found a house that'd give everyone their own rooms…"
Kurt just laughed.
From down the hall, Logan leaned by one of the columns, watching Kurt talk to his family. Derek hovered near him, still not looking pleased. Unlike Logan, Derek was not in uniform and looked clean cut in pleated pants and a high-necked shirt with a jacket.
"What are you going to do now?" he asked the taller boy, who never took his eyes off Kurt. Logan just shook his head. "I don't know either."
Derek gave him a long look, then shook his head and glanced at his watch. "Whatever, I'm going to go pick up my date. You're gonna manage being by yourself for ten minutes?" he asked sarcastically.
"Get out of here, Derek," said Logan, straightening up and brushing his collar off.
Derek took two steps, stopped and turned. "…did you take your medication?"
"Yes," Logan said in an ingratiatingly polite voice. But he forced a smile at him. "I'm fine, man. I love my haze of gray nothing. Get out of here, go get your date. I'm to pick up mine." He smiled and backed from his friend. Derek just rolled his eyes, shaking his head as he went down the hall.
Logan waited for him to go and turned back to where Kurt stood, without any of the other Windsors. Just him and his parents.
Of course he didn't take them. He liked how he felt when he was near Kurt. If he was numbed down, he wouldn't have that. It was the only thing that made him smile anymore. And the others just didn't seem to understand that.
As he approached, he saw Kurt look up. To his vast surprise, Kurt smiled when he saw him. For a moment, he wondered if Blaine was behind him. He glanced around and saw no one. He turned back and saw Kurt laughing a little.
Kurt felt too happy at the sight of his parents to be angry at anyone anymore tonight. He turned to his parents and said, "And speaking of the Warblers…" he gestured to Logan. "This is Logan. He's one of the lead singers."
"Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Hummel," Logan smiled, genuinely, for the first time days. "Pleased to meet you."
"This one we haven't met before," Carole said, smiling appreciatively at the tall boy as Logan shook hands with Burt. "We saw some of the others when you moved your stuff out, right Kurt?"
"No, Logan's from another dormitory," Kurt explained. "Blaine and the others are from the same one I'm in."
At the mention of his rival's name, Logan felt somewhat jilted, but he pushed it aside with ease when Kurt glanced at him again with those eyes of his. He said to Burt, "I heard you worked on cars, Mr. Hummel."
"You can call me Burt," said the older man with a nod. "And yes, I do."
"Is Kurt any good at that too? Because so far, all I've ever seen him do is sing and put together some really crazy outfits." Logan grinned. Kurt gaped at him and punched him lightly in the arm.
Burt laughed. "Boy, you should see him when I ask him to work in those clothes of his—"
"Calling the attention of the Warblers…" came the voice of Ms. Medel over the sound system. "Please gather in the green room in five minutes. Thank you."
"Ah…isn't that always the way…" Logan smiled, glancing to the stage. He looked at Kurt. "It's your big debut."
"So it is…" Kurt sighed, smiling broadly. "Finally. It only took a couple of weeks to put me in my right spot." To which Logan laughed.
"You'll do great," Carole said encouragingly. "Break a leg out there."
"Let's go?" Logan asked Kurt with a smile, and the countertenor nodded. He looked to the parents. "Catch you guys later."
"See you, dad," said Kurt, as he left with the taller boy.
As they left, Carole had a knowing smile on her face as she watched them head off towards the green room. Burt saw her expression, and frowned a bit. "What?"
"You didn't notice?" she asked.
"The way Logan smiled at Kurt. He looked…really happy."
"Then maybe he's just really happy," Burt harrumphed, crossing his arms over his chest. In his private opinion, he found Logan a little intense. And that his son was getting a little too popular. And for no apparent reason, he suddenly wondered where his shotgun was.
"I know that look…" laughed Carole when she saw his expression. "Don't you think it's nice that people here like Kurt? It's certainly better than back in McKinley…"
"As long as it's all platonic…" Burt grumbled under his breath. "I'm just not prepared to have any conversations with Kurt right now about—"
"Hey, Mr. Hummel!" the parents looked up to see Blaine approaching them with a smile. He too was already impeccably dressed in his school uniform. Carole immediately brightened up, recognizing him. "Hello, Blaine."
Burt just nodded, spotting another 'potential' and wondering where these boys were coming from. At least this one, Kurt seemed to like. Blaine just smiled. "Glad you could make it. Have you seen Kurt yet?"
"Yeah, we just saw him," Burt answered, nodding again. "He just headed for the, uh, green room. With that other boy—what's his name?—Logan."
Carole caught that flicker of alarm flashed through Blaine's eyes and felt a little concerned. She carefully pointed to where the two went. "You can still catch up to them. They went down there."
"Thanks, Mrs. Hummel." Blaine nodded at Burt with a smile. "See you later, Mr. Hummel." And barely able to remain composed, he fled their presence. Burt, watching him go and rather aghast at his exodus, now turned to Carole. "What was that all about?"
"Now Burt…" Carole put a comforting hand on his arm and smiled. "I think Blaine has it under control."
"What? How do you know?" he glanced back to where Blaine went and then back at his new wife. "You actually trust those kids?"
"Not a bit—but I trust Blaine enough to know that he'll look after Kurt," she answered with a smile. "You saw them back when they visited. He's practically attached to his hip—"
"Can we not have that kind of discussion right now, Carole…?" Burt looked like he was having a migraine. Carole laughed and led him towards the main area, where the cocktail tables crowded, wreathed in light.
Blaine hurried down the hallway, for the first time cursing the size of Dalton's largest event hall. He had never been comfortable in leaving any of the Windsors alone with Logan—though how the Twins stood to be borderline friendly with the Stuart prefect eluded him—much less leaving him alone with Kurt. He could help remembering that time in Sectionals when Kurt came back shaken and Logan had cut knuckles.
Something had happened then, and something was going to happen now.
He stopped at a familiar voice and turned around. Someone was hurrying to him, his pearl gray jacket undone again and his shirt barely completely closed. Blaine stared in surprise and confusion at someone he had not quite expected to be present. "Shane?"
"Hey, big brother!" grinned the boy who actually stood taller than his brother, but had the same crop of dark hair. Blaine's was tamed down with product, but this newcomers' curls hung free and around his head. He was Blaine's contrast—where Blaine looked utterly tidy, Shane was the appearance of haste and flighty expression. Blaine was short, stocky and put together, but Shane was taller, leaner and languorous. But they both shared a notable resemblance to each other. He reached him, panting, and clapped a hand on his older brother's shoulder. "Found you!"
"Aren't you supposed to be in Colorado?" Blaine asked, confused, staring at him and helping him stand.
"Was," shrugged the newcomer with a grin, his green-gray eyes sparkling in mischief. "Back early for the holidays! Boarding school blows. Mine, I mean, not yours. Seen mom and dad yet?"
Blaine paused with only the slightest widening of his eyes. "…dad came?"
"Yeah," Shane sighed. "They're taking us all off to the West Coast for the holidays."
The older's smile tightened. "I never go anywhere with dad for the holidays, Shane."
"Please?" Shane begged, staring at him, immediately losing his smile. "Come on, Blaine, you can at least try. Don't you think it's time that you and dad—"
Blaine pushed away Shane's hand on his shoulder, shaking his head briefly. "No. I think what happened over last year's Thanksgiving party was enough."
"Dad was just—"
"He insisted on setting me up with a girl! Does that tell you anything?"
"All right—so he did." The younger boy sighed deeply. "And yes, I do admit that was colossal asshattery in dad's part. If it makes you feel any better, I haven't had that much second hand embarrassment since Jessica Simpson asked if buffalo wings were from buffaloes."
Blaine smiled a little and patted his brother's shoulder. "Look at us. I haven't seen you in forever and this is what we're talking about. You all right?"
"Eh…same. Bored. Studying. Bored. Sports. Bored." He paused. "Started dating again."
Blaine raised an eyebrow. Shane turned crimson. "Don't look at me like that, Blaine. You took the bullet for me, I might as well keep up good behavior."
"And you wonder why I don't want to come home."
"Don't do this, Blaine, come on, please?" the younger brother looked at a loss. "I know dad's been…well he's been hard on you. But think about mom! Think about me! We want to see you, man—you can't run away for the holidays again. See, we all came to see you today." He gave him a big smile, opening his arms, preparatory to engulfing him in a gargantuan hug. "Don't do this. Come home."
Blaine started to explain, but then thought better of it and sighed. "People have been telling me not to do things all week…" he stopped and remembered his original errand. "Ah—damn it! Shane, you made me forget what I was running around for!" he bolted down the hall.
"Hey you're not getting away from me!" his brother exclaimed, chasing him. "What's the matter with you—you forget how to properly end a conversation?"
"I have to find Logan and Kurt!" Blaine shot back.
"Logan—? Logan's here again? I thought you said your boyfriend got kicked out?"
Blaine nearly killed him, lunging at him and just missing him. "He's not my boyfriend anymore!"
"What? Why?" Shane stared. "You were crazy about him! And that other guy, what's his name—"
Blaine sometimes wondered why he liked his brother so much when he seemed incapable of being quiet. They were already being given odd looks by the people in the hall that they raced past. Wes, who was getting a drink of water, straightened up to see the two of them charging towards him.
Wes blinked. "Hey Blaine. And…Shane? What the hell, man, when'd you get back?"
"Oh, just this morning!" was the answer with a friendly grin, giving the still confused Wes a high five.
"Have you seen Kurt?" Blaine asked desperately.
"Who's Kurt again?" Shane blinked. "Is he your new boyfriend? Damn, bro—how many'd you have while I was gone?"
Wes waved Shane's question away—it was too complicated a query. "Haven't seen him. Medel's looking for him. Harvey's prepared to issue sanction if he's late!"
"His parents told me he was with Logan," Blaine said.
Wes' eyes widened and he blanched so fast that Shane grabbed the water cup and threw it into his face. Spluttering, Wes snatched the cup back from Shane with a glare. "What's the matter with you?"
"You totally phased out, man."
"Shane, not now, please—" Blaine pushed his brother away for a moment. Shane threw up his hands dramatically, turning on his heel. "They were supposed to be in the green room—"
"Hey!" Reed came skidding towards them. "You guys—woah!" he tripped over his own feet, for what must have been the third time that day—and landed ungracefully onto the floor.
Wes bent down and helped him up, rolling his eyes. "How you managed to do the entire Cheerios performance without a hitch is beyond my understanding."
"No, actually, that was just lucky—and those girls were really strong," Reed hastily brushed off his pants. "We're on in a bit! I'm not going out there by myself—where's Kurt?"
"Why is everyone looking for that guy?" Shane asked, wide-eyed, turning back to them, waving his arms.
"Who is he?" Reed asked, blinking up at Shane.
"Someone who's just leaving?" Blaine said emphatically at his brother, looking to get him out of his hair for five seconds. But Shane slid past him smoothly—in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of Blaine's twirling dance steps—and grinned his most winning smile. "Hi, I'm—" he stopped instantly, staring. "…oh."
Reed blinked up at him, a little confused at his abrupt stop. "Um, I'm Reed…are you okay?"
After a beat, Shane blinked and came to. "Pardon me for five seconds." He grabbed Blaine by the jacket and hauled him to the side in spite of the older one's struggles. "Whoisthat."
"What?" Blaine stared.
"Whoisthat!" Shane lost his pauses when unnerved, he flailed towards Reed's direction.
"Didn't he just introduce himself to you?"
"I did—you never listen to me. Shane, this is really not the time—!"
It was at this point that Logan and Kurt reappeared into the hallway, stopping short at the small crowd in the way. Simultaneously, at the other end of the hall, David materialized with Derek—who had with him Tabitha Adams—both looking deeply unhappy. They stopped upon seeing the assembled.
At the same moment, Greg and Sylvia came through an adjoining hall—the former looking furious, the latter looking worried. They were flanked by Hilde and a man in impeccable clothing that they didn't at once recognize.
The entire mass stared at each other.
David's eyes widened. "Wes?"
"David?" his best friend blinked, and looked at the two with him. "Tabitha?"
"Derek?" Reed stared at the pair with David.
"Reed!" Hilde gasped at the sight of her once again rumpled son.
"Shane?" Logan stared, confused, at the sight of Blaine's brother.
"Kurt?" Blaine looked, also confused.
"Logan!" the man in the suit looked as though he would explode.
"What the hell is going on here?" Greg finally boomed, causing every boy in the hall to wince at his uncommon wrath. "You're all on in five minutes! What are you doing here? Kurt! Reed! Let's go!"
"My goodness…" Hilde swooped down and grabbed her son's wrist, looking annoyed. She pulled him to her and quickly tried to straighten him up.
But the man in the suit crossed the hall and straight up to Logan, who looked up at him without batting an eye. The man looked distinguished, with dark blond hair that grayed slightly at the sides. And he had Logan's eyes. He grabbed Logan's elbow.
"You're coming with me, right now, I've had enough of this."
"No, I'm not!" Logan shot back, tearing himself free, looking furious. "Why the hell are you even here?"
"Logan!" Sylvia said, scandalized. She looked up at the man. "Mr. Wright, please—this isn't the place—"
"What's this I hear that you haven't been taking your medication?" the man snarled to his son. "Have you completely lost your mind?"
Every student that wasn't a Stuart now looked confused. Blaine looked from him to Logan, brow furrowed. "Medication?"
Kurt looked startled. "What do you mean he takes medication? For what?"
Logan, stunned, turned to Derek, who turned white. "I didn't tell him, Logan, I swear!"
"It doesn't matter who told me!" John Logan Wright, Jr. exploded onto his son, the third. "You can't be doing this to yourself anymore, Logan! I'm taking you back to New York right now!"
Logan stepped back, his whole body vibrating in rage. "You're not taking me anywhere! You left me here when you couldn't take the heat! When you knew I'd ruin you trying to run for office!" Breathing hard, he grabbed Kurt's wrist. Kurt looked startled and Blaine moved to peel him off, but Kurt stopped him. He was looking up at Logan as though analyzing him.
Logan glanced around frantically and pointed to his father. "And you know what? I like it here. It might totally suck and it might be in the middle of fucking nowhere, and maybe everyone in here hates my guts, but I'm not going anywhere! I want to be someplace for once! I'm sick of you dropping me whenever it's inconvenient to you!"
"Stop it—STOP!" Greg finally exploded. "All of you!"
The entire hall looked deeply awkward. Greg glowered at them all. He turned to Wes and David. "Find the Dean. Tell her we're going to be a little late."
"GO!" and the two fled, throwing confused looks at the others. Wes dragged the frightened Tabitha along with him.
Hilde grabbed Reed's wrist and pulled him away from the scene. "Mom!" Reed cried.
"Let's go,Reed," she said with blunt finality. Reed pulled her to a stop and tore his wrist away from her. "No." he said shakily. "I've got to be with my friends." And he ran back to the others. Hilde stood staring at her son's suddenness.
Greg glanced at Logan, seeing the look in his eyes. He seemed to be completely aware of Logan's condition. He carefully said, "Logan. Please let go of Kurt."
Logan shook. He glanced at Kurt, and saw that he looked a little shaken. This made him let go immediately, realizing what he was doing. "I…"
His father now made to move forward to charge at him again, but to everyone's surprise, Blaine leapt between them, blocking his way. Mr. Wright loomed down at him, but Blaine didn't move. "I think Logan said he wanted to stay," he said quietly.
Derek glanced at them and crossed the room, standing next to Blaine. "Logan's doing all right, Mr. Wright," Derek said formally. "While it's true he stopped taking his medication, I can make sure he doesn't forget again."
"He didn't forget," Mr. Wright snarled, glowering at his now shaken-looking son. "It had been intentional."
"We know that," Greg said, looking up at him as he joined the two boys. "But Logan really is improving here. I've never seen him try so hard to control himself before. If you make him leave here now…I can't tell you that it'll make things better."
Logan was sitting down against the wall now, Kurt next to him. He held his hand tightly, blue eyes looking determined. "Calm down," he commanded.
"I'm trying…" Logan muttered. He glanced at him. "Why are you even here?"
"Because I can be." Kurt looked intently at him. "I want the guy I met in Warbler's Hall back. The one who sang because he wanted to and played piano. I don't want this angry thing you've turned yourself into. Come on and change back, Logan. I don't know what's happening to you or why, but we've got you." He nodded towards the other boys. "Look over there."
Logan raised his eyes and saw Blaine, Reed and Derek standing in his father's path. His eyes rested on Blaine longest. Kurt saw this and smiled a little. "If you've got even Blaine fighting for you, you better not disappoint."
The taller boy swallowed, looking calmer now. Kurt released him and got up, joining the others. He stood next to Blaine and both looked up to Logan's father.
Sylvia looked at the boys, then up at Senator Wright. "Sir, with all due respect, I'd like to remind you of the conversation we had last year. …we'd like to keep Logan for one more year."
Mr. Wright snorted like a bull. "He doesn't need a glee club—he needs therapy."
"We are his therapy," Derek said quietly. "We've got Logan all right here. Sure some of us…" he didn't look at Blaine, "…may not like him all that much… But we need him here, I think, more than you do back at New York."
The man stood, not prepared to accept this. He glanced at his son, slumped next to the wall, looking up at him with clear green eyes. On either side of him, from nowhere, it seemed, he recognized Evan and Ethan Brightman. The twin boys, who had witnessed the whole spectacle, now chose for the first time to show themselves. But unlike the others, they were completely unafraid of the Senator.
"Hello, Mr. Wright," said Evan.
"Long time no see," nodded Ethan.
"We'll take Logan from here."
"You know you can trust us."
John Wright recognized the two strange twins that had once befriended his son during Junior High. He looked at the crowd that stood between him and his son and shook his head slowly. He turned to Greg. "I'm holding you personally responsible for all of this."
"Oh, I sure hope so," Greg said, looking intently.
"I still can't allow this so easily."
Suddenly, Evan said, "Mr. Wright? Have you heard Logan sing?"
The strange question made everyone look at him. Ethan smiled. "Yes, have you?"
"Logan doesn't sing," the senator looked bewildered.
Kurt almost smiled. "Are you sure about that?"
The man glanced to the boy at the wall. Logan smiled faintly to himself, and all the Warblers slowly smiled. Even Blaine, and he said, "I really think you should."
In the grand ballroom, there were no distinctions in Windsors, Stuarts, or Hanovers. There was only black and white and gray—everyone was dressed according to the color themes on the invitations. The sea of onlookers, comprised of the school's biggest donors, alums, professors and students with their guests, were watching the stage as Logan stood alone in the spotlight.
In that ocean, Mr. Wright watched, his new wife Michelle standing next to him and holding onto his arm. Behind Logan, Derek and several boys from his dorm began to play music. The other Warblers, robbed of the opening performance due to their lateness in getting it all together, now peered from the wings, watching him.
As When I Die Young now began to close upon his cue, Logan looked at his father once—the only time the entire performance—before he began.
If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song…
The audience began to smile. From where he stood, the Mr. Wright gave a barely perceptible start, while his rather adorable new young wife smiled largely. Logan didn't even notice them anymore.
Lord make me a rainbow, I'll shine down on my mother
She'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colors, oh and
Life ain't always what you think it ought to be, no
ain't even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life, well
I've had just enough time…
The Warblers looked at each other, grinning and jostling each other's elbows. Logan had always been distant and somehow icy, but for the first time, they heard him sing with vulnerability. Regardless of what they thought of him, he really was good.
If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
The sharp knife of a short life, well…
I've had just enough time…
Kurt and Blaine stood at the wings, with Kurt standing by the curtain rope, and Blaine leaning on a table. Blaine watched Logan without expression. Kurt glanced at him, and with a brief smile. "…are you proud of him?"
Blaine glanced at him. "…not particularly."
"Is that why you didn't tell me that you and he…had gone out before?" Kurt asked carefully.
"I didn't tell you…because I didn't want to remember," Blaine answered. "Logan was hell back last year. …I don't think I'm able to forgive him. Or even consider it."
This edge to Blaine was something of a marvel to Kurt. "But you protected him from his father."
Blaine sighed, still watching Logan. "…he and I have that in common. Fathers. With issues." He looked at Kurt now and smiled. "You're lucky to have Burt."
"You have no idea how much I know that," Kurt smiled, spotting his father and Carole out in the audience, listening to Logan as well. He looked back to Blaine. "You really must have liked Logan then, huh? To hate him this much now?"
"I thought I did," Blaine admitted. "Then I just…it left me. When he left me for someone else."
"Let me guess. The last second soloist?"
"…yeah. Him, Logan and me…we were friends. At first, Logan liked me, and we started going out. When he started getting, you know…angry, things began to change. I distanced myself from him, because when he's angry, he just…" he exhaled. "It got messy."
"Where does the ex-soloist come in?"
"He took care of me, because I was new. We got close. I thought I loved him too—I guess I just wanted someone to hold onto. I was still fresh from my old school. It turns out, it was Logan that he liked. And vice versa. I was pretty much just in the middle of them both. So I let them both go."
"Logan knows he can sing well…but when our friend became popular and started to get taken in for leads… he got jealous. He started to become abusive to him too. Our friend ended up hanging around with me, because we both fell victim to Logan's anger, and it was weirdly something we could talk about. And when Logan found that out…that he preferred staying with me over him, well…" he trailed off.
Kurt shook his head, not really able to take in everything he was hearing. "You have one of the most convoluted love issues I've ever heard. You'd fit in beautifully in McKinley."
He paused. "…is that why you tried to keep him away from me? You're worried he'll crush me?"
"People don't change overnight," Blaine said, studying Logan. "You saw how he can get. He's trying, and I can give him that, but…I'm not ready to let him come near anyone important to me again."
Kurt flushed slightly, looking at him. Important…to him. "Mm…I can see what you mean." Kurt smirked and turned back to Logan, lifting his head higher a bit. "I'll be fine. You have to stop protecting me. It's tiring." Yes, the mentor-student thing is kind of old. And I know that everything flies out the window if I'm reading this all wrong. But I want to give this a shot so badly, you have no idea.
Blaine's hand closed on his. Kurt looked up. Blaine glanced at him and smiled briefly. "Separation anxiety. What do I do now that I don't have to look after you?"
"Be his boyfriend?"
"Toss him onto a bed and let us all lock your door and escape the house?"
The Windsor boys glowered as they listened to the pair at the wings. David was glowering. "I mean, hot damn, nothing is happening. Where are the emergency maneuvers?"
"We did them," the twins blinked. "We would've gotten a move on, but the Logan issue in the hall—"
"Damn it, Logan!" David grumbled.
Wes came into the room, looking depressed. David turned sympathetic. "Sorry, man. But you know Derek hasn't met a hot cheerleader that he didn't eventually get his hands on."
"I really liked Tabitha!" Wes protested. "I can't believe she's dating him now! Captain Crackpot! It's annoying when the person you like is such a pain but after you see her running off with someone else, it just feels like you're the pain."
Dwight, who had just peered in backstage, now frowned. "I'm sorry, did I just step into a teen movie?"
"Shh!" the others hissed, gesturing to Kurt and Blaine.
"You'll get her back…" David said, patting his shoulder. "She'll realize Derek is a douche. Then she'll be back with you."
"No, I don't want her to "realize" he's a douche, I want to do something that'll make her see me as the better guy," Wes mumbled. He sighed. "Like you do with Katherine."
David fidgeted. "Between us, Katherine is the saint, not me." He looked to the twins. "What are they doing now?"
"Logan's almost done. Which means Blaine is coming on. Which means it's time for him to hit it and blow Kurt's mind so he'll fall madly for our favorite acting prefect. Which would subsequently lead to the improvement of all our lives when Blaine stops whining to David and Wes, and Kurt stops skirting around the topic when he talks to Reed."
When Logan finished, the applause that rose from the crowd solidified his position as one of Dalton's strongest leads, and far more than was even he was usually given. He smiled a little bit, took his bows, and nodded to the Stuart band that accompanied him. He glanced to the wings. Blaine was standing there with Kurt, who was the only one clapping between them.
Logan turned away. In the crowd, he could no longer spot his father. He wondered if he stayed to the end, or if he just left. He exited through the wing opposite of where the Windsor leads were. That was when Sylvia, smiling warmly, gave him a hug and showed him a note.
"Your father had to leave. But he told me to give you this."
Logan took the note and opened it.
"You can have one more year. Michelle wants you home for Christmas and New Year."
The note crumpled into his hand as he closed it. He exhaled, closing his eyes, and nodded to himself. He turned back to where Kurt and Blaine were. They were talking again, and Blaine was holding Kurt's hand. Logan felt a twinge, a hot surge that he swallowed down.
He walked backstage, and out the door. He found Derek waiting outside. "Your old man bailed," he informed him.
"I know." Logan extended a hand. "I owe you."
Derek looked at the hand and slapped a pill container into it instead. He glowered at him. "If you want to thank me, get your act together. I'm not saying I want you to feel nothing all the time. …but it would help if you didn't go aggro all the time."
Logan stared at the bottle that promised numbness. He glanced back to where he had seen Blaine and Kurt, then back at the container.
If it gets me closer to him…I can try. I have to try.
Kurt watched as Reed talked to Shane, who he'd been told was Blaine's younger brother. They had their similarities, but Shane was an open book of expressions. And right now the expression he was giving Reed was priceless.
"Your brother has something in his eye," Kurt smiled at Blaine, gesturing over to where the two were talking. "It appears to be madness. And it's wonderful how flustered Reed is. His emotional capacity can't handle this kind of attention. Your brother is always like this?"
"Please don't make me explain—I'd love to, but I can't." Blaine sighed as he brushed his uniform free of dust from backstage. "He's beyond me. My only gratitude is that he is only here for the holidays and will return to his own school in Colorado."
He smiled at him. "Do me a favor when I get out there, though?"
"Listen." Blaine gave him the kind of smile that reduced mere mortals to putty. "Listen carefully." And he walked onto the stage.
Kurt stared after him, stunned and wondering what he had in mind. He stood for a moment in the wings, wondering if he should stay or go out into the crowd and get a better vantage point.
From the other side of the backstage, near the door, Derek looked at Logan. "Don't, man. It's not going to be good."
"I'll take the meds, but before that, I just want to tell him while I can say it with conviction," Logan muttered.
"You're not blind, right? You see him looking at Blaine right now, right?" Derek stared. "You're still going to go for it?"
"I have to beat him to the punch—that's all it takes."
"You can't do that in front of all these people!" Derek hissed, motioning to the other Warblers backstage who were gathering to watch Blaine's performance, representing Windsor. Logan glanced at him. "Watch me." And he headed straight for Kurt. Derek groaned and came in tensely, closing the door to backstage.
Logan took a breath. I'll be damned if I don't get a word in…not after today when he stood by me.
Kurt looked up when he felt someone move next to him. He nearly jumped when he saw Logan standing there. He was holding a container in his hand, tucked away in his hand. He looked at him with a smile.
"Can I…talk to you for a minute?"
As this caught the attention of the rest of the boys waiting backstage, Kurt hesitated. Blaine was already getting ready to play, and he didn't want to miss it. "Uh…"
"You just have to listen. Don't talk. Just listen."
Kurt looked up at the taller boy, a little apprehensive. "What?"
Logan's breath shivered as he exhaled. He reached out and took Kurt's hands. They were warm, while his own remained cold. At his action, Derek stopped where he was right next to the Windsor boys. "He's seriously going to do this? Now? Here?"
"What the hell Logan—!" Wes stepped forward, but David pulled him back. "Don't make a mess now, man—we're in the middle of a performance!"
"I'll perform with my fist on his face!"
"What is it?" Kurt asked, frowning a little in confusion and feeling awkward.
Blaine, after being introduced formally and taking his first bow, sat at the piano, oblivious. He was smiling a little as he sat.
"Don't say it…" Derek whispered. "Don't say it…"
Logan looked into Kurt's eyes. "You don't have to answer me, or believe me. I just wanted to tell you…"
The music began to start as Blaine began to play.
"…I'm in love with you."
Kurt's eyes widened in shock, mouth falling open slightly.
Derek sank his head into his hand. "...he said it."
"We're all dead if Blaine finds out!" Dwight hissed. Wes turned purple and the twins stood staring, eyes starting out of their heads. But Logan simply smiled a little bit at Kurt who couldn't speak. He released his hands, and just walked away. He took the pill bottle into his hand, pulled two out, and swallowed them as he left the area.
And Blaine started to sing.
It's a little bit funny
This feeling inside me.
I'm not one of those who can
In the haze of so much confusion, pounding blood through his body, Kurt was awoken from the haze of shock by Blaine's voice. He could hear him singing—and he heard his words. He had told him to listen, just like Logan just did.
Blaine raised his eyes to him, looking as though he only saw him. And Kurt, hardly able to dare, thought he already knew what he was going to say.
So excuse me forgetting
But these things I do.
See I've forgotten if
They're green or they're blue.
Anyway the thing is...
What I really mean...
Yours are the sweetest eyes
I've ever seen.
Kurt watched and heard, and a flush crept to his face. Blaine noticed. He smiled.
And you can tell everybody
This is your song.
It maybe quite simple but
Now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is
Now you're in the world…
"Ah, he's getting a little choked up," said David, grinning. The twins made to happily go and bother him, but Wes pulled them back. "Oh no, you're not interrupting this one."
Kurt crept as close to the stage as he dared, watching Blaine. He knew he was supposed to be worrying about what Logan said—he had meant it and he knew it—but his eyes and Blaine's remained locked onto each other, and for that second, he knew he meant it too.
If I was a sculptor
But then again no.
Or a guy who makes potions in
A travelling show.
I know it's not much but
It's the best I can do.
My gift is my song and
This one's for you…
Carole glanced to the side and caught sight of Kurt almost out at the stage. She saw his expression, and then happily nudged Burt, nodding to Kurt's direction. Burt looked up and saw his son, and saw what looked like the first truly happy, bedazzled look on his face since the wedding.
He had never seen Kurt look so happy. He and the boy on the piano just looked at each other, as though they had forgotten everyone and everything.
Carole looked up at him and smiled, and Burt only smiled faintly back before looking back at Kurt.
His son was happy here.
And you can tell everybody
This is your song.
It maybe quite simple but
Now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind
That I put down in words
How wonderful life is
Now you're in the world…
The song came to a close, and the entire audience erupted into applause. From where he stood by the side, Shane was smiling broadly, clapping for his brother. He turned to the people next to him. "He's good, mom! He's great!"
"Yes he is…" smiled the tall woman in an elegant white dress. Her hair was thick and black and fell in waves over her shoulder as she looked to her husband. "What did you think, dear?"
But the man with Blaine's stocky build who stood near one of the tables, looking as though wasn't listening. He saw that his son wasn't listening either, seemingly to ignore the applause. He bowed to the crowd, but he kept glancing to the wings. He watched, in silence, as Blaine finished the most cursory bows politeness required, he made a straight line towards the wings.
Kurt was waiting, staring at him and looking as though he immediately wanted to say something—Blaine was sure he'd end up interrupting him—but their hands barely held before Sylvia appeared, beaming. "Well done, Blaine. That was wonderful."
"Oh…thank you, Ms. Medel," Blaine smiled back.
"We should think about adding it…" Sylvia nodded, and then took Kurt's hand. "Come on now, dear. Let's get ready for the big Warbler finale, and find out who wins the contest."
"I…all right…" Kurt looked at Blaine helplessly and just shrugged. Blaine, ever the gentleman, just smiled and motioned for him to go ahead with a single smooth movement. Kurt smiled and followed Medel as Reed came running in, jittery and excited. Shane followed after him, but saw Blaine and stopped, grinning.
"Very nice," Shane grinned.
"And the verdict?"
"You know we love hearing you sing," Shane shrugged. "I mean, dad expression was as nonexistent as if he's had botox done on him within the past few hours, but he liked it, I'm sure. Mom was thrilled, says that you were amazing. Dad says if you come home, he'll get you a gig to sing on the King's Island Christmas Spectacular."
"Oh really. Awful giving of him. Singing what, exactly?"
"Baby, It's Cold Outside, I think."
Blaine rolled his eyes. "Figured it'd be a duet. With a girl."
"It's not as bad as it sounds…" said Shane hopefully. "Maybe you can get that Kurt guy to practice with you." He smirked. "That song you just sang was for him, I imagine."
"And I imagine you need to stop trailing after Reed like a puppy," Blaine said, turning a bit red and walking past him. "You're scaring him. He can barely handle himself, let alone all of your…personality."
Shane chased after him, gesturing wildly. "What? Am I not allowed to stare and have some mild degree of fascination? Have you seen him? He looks like someone threw pixie dust onto a Botticelli and he came to life!"
Blaine almost looked disgusted and only now was able to sympathize with all of Windsor when they complained about him. "Wow, Shane, you have truly out-glitter-ed yourself. That's mild to you…?"
"And now…" smiled Dean Ramsey to the assembled congregation, "to officially close the performances for the Winter Festival, I would like to call upon our school's most decorated and most talented group—the Dalton Academy Warblers."
The audience began to applaud and cheer for the boys as the curtain lifted. The Dalton Warblers, dressed neatly and perfectly, stood prepared to make their final performance of the year. Wes and David looked at each other, then grinned at Blaine, who smiled back. He looked down to Kurt, who nodded with a smile, who then turned to Reed, who gave a nervous laugh. He looked up at the twins above him, and they too grinned. They gave Logan a smile too—but Logan was only able to smile tightly back, eyes cloudy.
Greg had told them backstage, "Sing with everything you've got. It could be your last chance. It ends tonight, guys. Next year, we're all going to be something else."
And for some of them, they really would come away with something else. They were all wildly excited for this performance—Greg had been convinced with vociferous begging to be allowed to perform something as daring as this one in the Winter Fest. It was certainly not the usual Warbler music. And Greg made sure that the choreography matched. After seeing the two leads dance for cheerleading, he made full use of them.
In fine acapella style, the Warblers began the opening melody, from drums to strums. The beat caught the attention of the students, looking up and already grooving along as they began. The boys started to move to the beat.
When the spotlight came on one side and Kurt appeared, they burst into cheers. Kurt strode down to the center, beginning to sing as he danced to the music.
Everybody's looking for love…oh…
Ain't that the reason you're at this club…oh…
You ain't gonna find a dance with him. …oh…
Got a better solution for you girl. …oh…
Just stay with me now—Say the word and well go.
I'll be your teacher. I'll show you the ropes.
You'll see a side of love you've never known.
I can see it going down, going down…
All the Warblers leapt to action as the chorus came, earning cheers from their schoolmates as they split apart into a mass, moving to the music with such perfect precision that when they moved back a few steps, they were in perfect lines again. When Reed broke ranks to stand next to Kurt, the room burst into applause again.
The two leads began to sing in chorus with the others.
In my head, I see you all over me.
In my head, you fulfill my fantasy.
You'll be screaming no.
In my head, it's going down.
In my head, it's going down.
In my head. Yeah. In my head…
The people down at the audience were dancing to the music, with most of the boys and their dates dancing with one another across the floor, seeming to not mind the amused looks that the older members and the alums were giving them as they did.
Carole and Burt joined in, dancing happily amidst the couples. Burt caught Kurt's eye, and his son winked at him from the stage, grinning as he sang and moved with great energy. Burt winked back at him and turned his eyes back to Carole, dancing with her and not quite minding that his dancing wasn't up to speed.
Just leave with me now. Say the word and well go.
I'll be your teacher. I'll show you the ropes.
You'll see a side of love you've never known.
I can see it going down, going down.
In my head, I see you all over me.
In my head, you fulfill my fantasy.
Youll be screaming no.
In my head, its going down.
In my head, its going down.
The night was such a success and so exhausting that most of the Warblers were more than ready to get out of campus almost immediately. After the announcement of the winner, the Windsor boys' spirits were dampened only somewhat; Logan had won the competition for Stuart, which earned the dormitory the bragging rights and extra curfew hours for the next month.
Blaine didn't mind—he had made his move at last, and that was all that counted to him. He had seen the look on Kurt's face and he felt that it was enough. The students left the ballroom with their families, but the boys headed toward the dormitories to retrieve their bags and other items.
"Blaine," said his mother, "You're coming with us, aren't you?"
Shane glanced to his brother. Blaine glanced to his mother, then to the silence his father always gave him only when he had done something to merit disapproval. Almost immediately, he sensed that he must have known who he was singing for.
He turned away, and saw Kurt climbing up towards Windsor, with his family. Burt and Carole were laughing at something that Kurt was explaining to them. After a moment, he gave them hugs—"I'll catch up, I promise. I just have to say goodbye to the others."—and began to climb alone.
Blaine gazed at him, and realized that an entire break without him would be too much. He turned to his parents. "Yes, I'll be going for Christmas."
Before his mother could exclaim in delight, Blaine added, "But right after, I'd like to fly to the East Coast and see my friends. And spend New Year's there."
"Oh…" his mother looked doubtful, then looked at her husband. His father then glowered at him for a moment, but Blaine, who was so used to this, barely even batted an eye.
"You spend too much time with your friends," his father muttered gruffly.
"I know I'm fortunate that I have quite a few so I would like to spend as much time with them as possible."
"There is no "them", is there, Blaine? Have you taken interest in one of them and—"
Blaine quickly hugged his mother and sighed. "I'll catch up. I'll get my things." He glanced at his dad. "Happy Holidays, dad." He turned, heading towards Windsor. Shane, glancing at his parents, said, "I'll go with hm. You guys go ahead. We'll take my car."
He followed after him. Blaine glanced at his brother, who grinned at him. He felt he had someone on his side from his real family, at least. But as he looked up at Windsor, watching Kurt walk into the brightness of the house, he realized that he had family in there as well.
"What did your mom say?" Kurt asked the moment he found Reed in the second floor hallway. "You killed the song. If that doesn't make an impact…"
Reed just laughed, carrying barely anything but a large pillow and a small bag. "She's settled on "maybe" you'll do fine. I feel like standing up to her again. It felt a little bad, but…I think it did make her listen a little bit."
Dwight, carrying a massive rucksack full of "weapons" and ingredients, came down the hall. He said to Reed, "Shane's waiting for you downstairs, trying to get people to get you to talk to him. I swear to Castiel, he's morphosed into some kind of sex demon and it's not boding well for the team when it's working even for me."
Reed turned scarlet. "Dwight! Stop saying things like that!"
"Just saying…" Dwight shrugged. He looked at Kurt. "Have you seen the twins yet? They wanted to talk to you about visiting."
"Reed!" came David's yell from downstairs. "Can you come down here and say good night to Shane before we toss him out the dormitory?"
"Oh for goodnessake…" still red in the face, Reed evaded Kurt's smirk and headed for the staircase. Dwight gave Kurt a wave. "If you agree to visit, you all are welcome to come to my family's theme park."
"You have your own theme park?"
"Alice!" the twins popped out of their room and promptly tackled him to the ground. "We're going to miss you so much!"
"It'd be so lonely without our adventures," Evan said wistfully, not quite allowing Kurt to get up off the floor yet.
"Who would we nerf? Who would we shoot at? Who would make us magic chocolate chip cookies?" Ethan said dramatically.
"Each other maybe…" Kurt grunted, pushing the twins off him. "What was Dwight saying about visiting?"
Evan sat up, looking excited. "Well every year, we gather at someone's house after Christmas. And then spend the New Year there."
"We're hosting this year. And seeing as you're such a Broadway whore…" Ethan jumped up and helped his brother up. "We would like to invite you to join us in Manhattan."
Kurt's jaw dropped. "What?"
"Call it a preview-of-coming-attraction," Evan said, grinning. "For when we go to Nationals, of course."
"We'll tour you!"
"And feed you!"
"And toss you into a nice spa!"
"Did I mention that Reed is your best guide to fifth avenue?"
"Now, don't worry about transport and accommodations," said Evan when he saw Kurt about to protest. He grinned, leaning on his twin. "You don't seem to realize who we are."
"And you don't seem to realize what kind of leverage we have." Ethan nodded. "We'll take care of your air transport and lodgings. Private jet and suite sound good to you?"
This definitely had to be a massive Christmas present. "I'm definitely asking my parents about it. And even if they say no, I'll likely smuggle away into a suitcase or something."
The twins happily tackled him again. Wes, used to this spectacle, passed by the heap of bodies on the floor and said, "Kurt? Blaine's looking for you in his room."
Kurt got up quickly, turning red. "What for?"
"I don't know… I think he wants to say goodbye?"
Kurt's stomach did a flip. He wouldn't be able to see Blaine for a while. A nice goodbye would be appropriate. He glanced at them and then headed off to Blaine's room. He didn't see the twin smirks given to him by the Tweedles and Wes.
The past weeks had been a dance around the subject, but he felt that tonight, they'd managed to make some kind of progress. Kurt stood outside Blaine's room, took a deep breath, and stepped in. Inside still had the Christmas decorations, and Blaine's things were neatly packed into trunks waiting by the door. The prefect looked up as soon as he stepped in. Blaine was looking at something and was still wearing reading glasses. It was unbelievably becoming.
"Hi," Kurt said with a smile as he came in, closing the door. He didn't hear someone jam the handles outside.
"Hey," Blaine smiled as he motioned for him to come in. "What did you want to see me for?"
Kurt blinked. "What? Wes told me you wanted to see me for something."
They fell silent, and then both turned to the door. In two seconds, they had strode up to it, and realized that it was locked. The crowd outside stood snickering.
"Very funny guys," Blaine grumbled.
Kurt glowered. "We can hear you snickering you kno—"
Music started playing into the room. Blaine looked around and saw that his stereo had switched on via remote. And it was playing a familiar Christmas song.
Baby, It's Cold Outside.
Blaine laughed as he recognized it. Kurt, who had been trying to pull open the door with force, let go at least. He too sighed and looked up at the sound of the music. "Oh…a personal favorite…" he smiled a little.
"Is it?" Blaine smiled. "Well in that case…" He stepped down to the common area and made a bow. "Kurt? May I have this dance?"
"What?" Kurt laughed.
Blaine gestured expectantly. Kurt just shook his head with a smirk, but walked up to him. Clearing his throat, he gave his hands to Blaine. "I've seen how you dance onstage. You get as overexcited as your brother. Don't step on my feet?"
"No promises," Blaine grinned as he swept him around to dance. As the music played, they also found themselves singing to it.
I really can't stay - But baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - But baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry?
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Put some records on while I pour
The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink? - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight
To break the spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move in closer?
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahhh, but it's cold outside
I've got to go home - But, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - I thrill when you touch my hand
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that hold out
Ohhh, baby it's cold outside…
They were standing rather close as the song ended. Smiling, they were looking at each other, and both laughed awkwardly at the situation. But their hands remained together. Blaine smiled at him, and Kurt flushed only slightly.
From the doorway, there was an explosion of cheering and catcalls, making them both jump. The boys had removed whatever they used to jam the door and had been watching them, now applauding and cheering at the top of their lungs.
The two looked at each other—and immediately ran for the door.
The entire group bolted like mad, the hallways in chaos, running down the hall and away from their furious reach as Kurt and Blaine lunged for them. Kurt was panting when he got to the door. He glowered at them. "Those guys are just…"
"They grow on you, though," Blaine grinned.
Kurt smiled back, but felt his phone vibrate.
You done packing? – Dad
"I have to go," Kurt sighed. "For real this time." He looked at Blaine. "See you soon?"
The prefect nodded and smiled. "Of course."
The two of them exchanged one last, long look before Kurt finally moved away from the door. Blaine suddenly grabbed his hand back. "Wait."
Heart pounding, Kurt turned back to him. "What?" Blaine stepped forward and stood close to him, as close as they had been when they danced. His eyes looked serious in spite of the slight twinkle of amusement in them.
"Hey...look." pointed upward, over the door.
"What?" Kurt looked up. And the sight of one single ornament caused him to flush harder than he had ever done in his life. "...mistletoe."
Blaine was holding his hands, standing very close and careful. He seemed to be waiting for permission as he looked at him. After the events at McKinley, he would be the last person to take advantage of this kind of situation.
Kurt clutched onto Blaine's hands, looking at him in silent response. They always did this; simply looking and never speaking. But as he squeezed Blaine's hands lightly, he was sure that he had sent his permission across.
And very carefully, Blaine leaned close—so close that their breaths ghosted each other's cool skin, lashes on the verge of touching, tremulous with anticipation—and gave Kurt a gentle kiss on the corner of the lips. Kurt, flushed from head to toe, was only barely able to return it as lightly.
It was the briefest touch, but it was the most gratuitous thing they had ever had. It put them both in that position where they could have just that moment—more than what they were, less than where they had to get to.
But it was enough for now.
"See you." Blaine whispered.
"See you." Kurt agreed, smiling.
End of First 13
On the next episode: Wonderland gets a lot brighter. Christmas is over, but the fireworks are forthcoming. One gargantuan New Years celebration is guaranteeing that no Dalton boy hits the New Year without some sort of condition, be it hangover, heartbreak, concussion or confusion. The Twins party at Manhattan will make sure no one goes to bed.