Hi, I'm C Coulter, your writer for this fic.

Well...that certainly took long enough. I think for the most part it may be due to the holidays, and the fact that there was a bit of difficulty making sure that the scenes went as smoothly as I planned. Many events happen in this Episode, and I had to be careful. It was "re-shot" several times, mainly owing to the myriad of possibilities that presented itself. In the end, when I just allowed them to be as they were, this was the result.

I want to give my thanks and unending gratitude to those who waited, and my deep apologies to those who were expecting the work to come out sooner. I really hope that this kind of delay won't happen again-it was very unsettling for me, especially when I know that people are waiting for the next installment.

In the end, I thank each and every one of you for your time, and hope that you will enjoy this episode.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

(I do not own Glee.)


Dalton

Episode 16: 3…2…1…


"Everything's okay? Seriously?"

Logan laughed into the cellphone, looking out into the view beyond the glass. "Yes—wow you're really turning into a mother hen, it's scaring me."

"Hey, I'm just saying…" Derek answered from where he was back in Ohio. "I heard the Brightmans were having a party. I figured you'd get worked up."

"There's nothing to get worked up about…" Logan said absently. He raised his hand to eye level. He was turning a memory card carefully in his fingers. "Everything's fine. I've been medicated. I'm so numb that I could be CIPA patient."

"Huh…Well, then…I guess I'll have to take your word for it."

"Why are you in Westerville anyway? I figured when the Twins used the word "supermodels" in the broadcast, you'd be on the first plane out."

"Dude, if the rowing team does not kick some ass next year, I'm going to have to make them row with their hands."

"Whatever, Leonidas. It's still classified as torture to have anyone do anything school related on the holidays."

"So says the guy who had the Warblers work all Spring Break last year."

Logan smirked. "I have to go. Get ready for the party."

"Whoa—wait. You're going? You didn't tell me you were going!"

"I thought that was implied already."

"Quote, Nah-I-don't-think-I'm-in-the-mood-to-get-sniped-at-all-night unquote."

"I changed my mind. Besides…Kurt's going to be there."

The groan from the other end sounded like distilled exasperation.

"Relax, mother. I've got it under control. Go plan the slaughter of the team through practice."

"Bancroft is going to that party. He's keeping an eye on you, I'm warning you!"

"Bring it on… Justin's cool. Goodbye now, Derek."

"Whatever."

Logan hung up and pocketed the phone. He looked at the memory card with a smile almost affectionate. He tossed it into the air, the same way one would toss a coin. He caught it smoothly and walked off towards his closet, passing his upturned table, with the broken coffee cup on the floor, the smashed laptop screen, and the pill container with its white contents spilling all over the carpeted floor.


I'm Kurt. I recently transferred to Dalton Academy.

New Year's Eve.

I got to sing at Radio City Music Hall, I got to shop at Bergdorf-Goodman, I got to attend an art Gala, I got to tour the city, and tonight, I attend the wildest school-tradition party in the Upper East Side.

I feel like a star and I'm sure Rachel's ready to kill me when I get back to Lima.

All I've got left to do is wait for the ball to drop.

And me hoping that the New Year comes with a kiss.


The video stopped.

All the Warblers in Blaine's room leaned back from the laptop, exhaling, not quite knowing what to say.

"Wow, they are good," Blaine finally said.

"I told you," Kurt muttered, texting Mercedes on his phone.

"So on a scale of one to ten," Dwight began, mouth full of popcorn, "How screwed do you think the Warblers are?"

"Come on…" Wes rolled his eyes. "Maybe they were good. But that's their style, and we have ours. Maybe we just need to be a little less uptight—but everyone has their own approach."

"Yeah…" David crossed his arms. "Besides—they're not who I'm worried about. It's New Directions and Vocal Adrenaline that we'll be coming up against on Sectionals. We should focus on them."

"And you've seen Vocal Adrenaline…" Reed fidgeted, picking on a stray thread in his jacket. "They're also really good."

"But they're so heartless," Wes rolled his eyes.

Kurt finally looked up, wondering why there was sufficiently less crazy in the room than there was supposed to be. "Where are the Tweedles?" Outside the room, everyone was hearing odd sounds from the rest of the condominium, involving a lot of hustle and bustle of decorators, and the occasional evil cackling of identical voices.

"You don't want to know," Blaine shook his head.

Dwight, who had looked out the door, exclaimed, "Holy crap, is that a ball swim?" As he said this, there was the sound of wild riffs coming from what had to be a RockBand setup and the sound of someone testing a silly string can.

Shane, who'd also come to see, gasped. "Chocolate waterfall!"

"Get back into the room!" the twins yelled as what had to be jell-o slammed them both in the face. This was followed by an unceasing hailstorm of marshmallows.

Kurt dropped his face into his hand. Whatever was going to happen tonight was going to be ridiculous as it was shaping up to be the biggest kiddie party on the street. The Tweedles had woken everyone early and ushered them into their rooms, commanding them not to actually come out for a while as they would be setting up the party. After dozens of decorators and delivery men arrived bearing all sorts of food and furnishing and what had to be more laser lights than Las Vegas had, they were glad to.

As Shane wiped himself down, ducking the mallows, Dwight calmly turned to the room, jell-o dripping from his face. "David," he said in an unbelievably composed tone. "Might you hand me that thing next to you?"

David turned to the bedside table. As was customary for every Windsor who particularly valued sanity, they kept a Nerf gun nearby in case of Tweedle Attack. Blaine's was sitting on the bedside table, along with a full round of ammunition.

Sighing, David handed it to Dwight. "Thank you," Dwight said. And then he opened the door and charged into the fray, yelling across the house as he fired. "Bring it on, Tweedles! Say your prayers!"

"This means war!" the Tweedles yelled from somewhere outside.

David just shrugged, and his phone started to ring. He took one glance at the number and came to life. "I have to take this." He immediately hurried out the door. While the door opened, they saw a brief glimpse into Pandemonium as the "war" continued.

"What's with David?" Kurt asked, frowning.

"His girlfriend must've gotten out of surgery…" Wes said, shaking his head. "He's crazy about her. They've been together for five years. He's been spending all his free time with her while she's in the hospital. He's only here now because she told him go live an actual life for a change."

Kurt wanted to ask why she was in surgery, but felt that he'd pried enough into privacy after confronting Reed. So he simply said, "We should send him back to her. He should be there."

"Yeah well…we tried telling him it was all right," Wes looked worried, staring in the direction David went. He sat, fidgeting. "He hasn't really been himself after he heard she was in surgery …I'm actually kind of worried about him."

Blaine rolled his eyes and made the, "go on" gesture to him. Wes needed no second telling—he fled the room with a worried expression. Kurt smiled to himself and glanced at Blaine, who just gave him a, "I don't know either" kind of look.

"Alice!" came Evan's yell from outside. "Dwight's got your magic cookies hostage! Save the cookies, damn it! Save the cookies!"

"—so help me, I'm going to crush each and every single one—!"

"No, you stupid Knight—don't do it, man!" Ethan yelled like he was dying. "Think of the others! Alice, help!"

"Oh for the love of—" Kurt pushed himself out of the chair. "I'm sorry, if I may, I just have to stuff all those cookies down their throats."

"Please go right ahead," Blaine said helpfully, smiling.

And Kurt just smirked at him, squeezed his hand—which he had been holding for a while now—and left. Shane turned to his brother and smirked. "You two are getting really cozy, aren't you?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Blaine grumbled.

"You were very cute onstage," Reed quipped with a grin.

"Hm…" Blaine just smiled to himself. "That was his idea."

"Well at least we know he likes you," Shane said smugly, leaning back onto his chair. "Logan doesn't have a chance even if he's coming to the party."

"That still worries me, Blaine…" Reed remarked.

The Windsor prefect looked contemplative. He shook his head a little. "Kurt said Logan was actually himself for a bit. He's been taking his medication. I suppose even if he does come along, he won't be doing anything. Be more like himself."

"What is himself?" Shane asked. "Before or after he was messing with you, Blaine?"

Blaine glanced at his brother. "What's the matter with you?"

"I thought you were going to be okay," Shane mumbled. "Then I hear that he's back. I saw him during that big fallout with his dad—he's clearly still out of it. Even you don't trust him."

"I don't," Blaine answered calmly. "I don't trust him either. But I trust Kurt. And I'm willing to at least avoid him tonight."

Shane huffed and leaned back onto the chair. "Well, fine. I just hope he knows how to take a hint after all this time. If that video doesn't tell him that he's got no chance—"

"What video?" Blaine asked.

Shane blinked and glanced up at him. "That…video I took of you and Kurt singing onstage at Radio City Music Hall." He smirked a little. "I put a copy into his coat pocket when Kurt and I met him yesterday. If that doesn't tell him to back off—"

Blaine's eyes widened fully as he leapt to his feet.

"What?" Wes exploded from the door, David next to him, having heard what was just said. "You gave him—Shane, what is the matter with you, man?" he grabbed Shane by the front of his sweater. "That's not going to make him back off, that's going to make him furious!"

Shane's smile was gone the moment Blaine got up. He turned white, staring at Wes. "What? But he—"

"He didn't need to see that!" David exploded. "Didn't you see how worked up he can get over things? And after he told Kurt that he loves him—"

"He said what?" Blaine demanded, grabbing at Wes.

"Backstage—before you performed—Logan dropped Kurt the bomb," Wes quickly told him. David was nervously running his hand through his hair. "Kurt didn't get the chance to answer—"

"Was that why Kurt went after him in the Park? To answer him?" Blaine asked, turning white, mind racing. If Logan confessed and Kurt still behaved the way he did, did it mean that he—

"No!" Shane exclaimed, leaping up. "I was there—I heard them, Kurt didn't—"

"No no, you have done enough." David pushed Shane down onto the chair. "I bet Logan's freaking out right now. What went in your head, Shane?"

Shane looked confused and flustered. "I—I was just…" He looked at Blaine desperately. "I thought he wouldn't flip out if he was medicated—I was just trying to help!"

"A fat lot that did," Wes snapped.

"All right, enough!" Blaine said, now looking angry for the first time. "Just cut it out, we don't need this. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous!" He looked at Wes and David. "Logan is my problem. I'll deal with him if he tries anything. Closure's been too long in coming anyway and it's about time I told him off. What can he do anyway? Just…leave Shane alone, he didn't know what he was doing."

Shane buried his head in his hands, leaning over his knees. Blaine turned to his brother, looking as though he wanted to shake him, but as he gestured with his hands he just ended up putting them heavily onto his shoulders. Shane looked up, scared and white in the face. "Blaine—I'm sorry! I just—I wanted him to let you be happy!"

"Just—!" Blaine stopped and took a breath. He patted him heavily once. "Just…don't do this anymore, all right, Shane…?" He sighed and got up. He pushed past Wes and David and out the door. The two took one last look at Shane, who was staring after his brother, and left as well.

Shane watched them go and then leaned over on his knees again, cursing.

Silence in the room. Outside, the muffled sound of mayhem continued.

Carefully, a form knelt in front of Shane, putting his hands on his clasped ones. "Shane…"

The other boy looked up to see Reed looking at him. Shane just ducked his head. "…please don't look at me like that, Reed… You don't have to stay here, you can go with them."

"I don't want to," he said plainly. He patted his hands. "Calm down, all right?"

"I can't…" Shane whispered. "I'm always…I'm always screwing it up for him! Blaine…Blaine always takes the bullet for me. He's always the responsible one." He blinked away the mist in his eyes. "You know that if I didn't…if I didn't get so careless about my first boyfriend, Blaine wouldn't have had to come out to dad to cover for me?"

He leaned back onto the couch again, staring at the ceiling. "I watched him take the heat from the bullies that I couldn't help him with…just stood there and took it, everyone telling me my brother was a fag…they didn't know I was. I got mostly second-hand but Blaine snagged every foot in the aisle to send him tripping into his lunch tray…"

Shane shook his head. "And after he moved to Dalton, I had to watch while my brother just got brokenhearted. I tried to be there for him, but it's hard from another state. He would keep telling me that Logan was going to get better but as it turns out, he didn't. I thought they were okay, when he just stopped telling me things. All he told me was that the asshole got kicked out for…stuff he did."

He swallowed and added, "That's why when I came here, and then Blaine told me that they weren't together anymore and I asked why…" Shane shook his head. "I just lost my mind. All that happened and I wasn't there. In a non-bullying school of all places—how Logan gets away with this crap is beyond me. I just…I just wanted to get back at him and make him leave Blaine alone. …I just make things worse."

A pause.

"…I shouldn't have come along," he added.

Finally, Reed took a deep breath and sat next to him on the couch. He jogged his elbow to get his attention. "Maybe Blaine did what he did because he had to do it for himself too. Didn't you ever consider that?" He smiled a bit. "And maybe he didn't tell you because doesn't expect anything from you. Maybe he just wants you to be happy."

Shane sighed. "I can't be the brother that just keeps taking."

"If you want to do something for him, you have to let him deal with this," Reed said with finality. "Blaine told us once that he regrets lots of things. He let himself be chased away from the last school. He's fighting back here, because he likes where he is and where he wants to be. So if you really want to do something for him, you have to let him see this to the end—make up for what happened before."

Shane glanced at him for a long moment, then shook his head. He pulled his hands away from Reed. "I shouldn't have come… I don't help you either."

"What?"

"You think I don't notice…?" Shane smiled a little. "I know that the way I act around you, I make you awkward. I'm sorry. I just…I can't help it." He stared at him a long moment, until it got odd and they both looked away. "But I guess if I have to learn, I have to start somewhere."

Reed nodded slowly.

"…I'll be out by today, then." He checked his watch. "If I go now, I won't even have to be at the party. Leave you guys alone."

The smaller boy looked up. Shane nodded to himself. "That's the best course, I think." He stood up, and stopped. "Oh." He sat back down. He pulled out something from his pocket and tossed it to Reed. "Super late Christmas gift. Better give it to you now. I wanted to give it to you at the gala, but I got distracted staring at your paintings."

Reed smiled faintly and opened it. He let the wrapper fall to the floor as he unwrapped what looked like a large ring with something embedded in it. He raised it to his eyes. "…what is this?"

"Hold it to the light like this," Shane took his hands and brought the ring's glass to the sunlight at the window. In the floor in front of Reed, where the light shone through, was the projection of a Rembrandt, magnified through the glass in the ring.

At his surprised expression, Shane smiled. "A master's work for a master painter."

Reed stared at it, amazed. Shane smiled at him and released his hands. "Stupid present, but there you have it." He got up and headed to the door. Reed came to and looked up. "Shane!"

"Yeah?" he said, glancing back, hand at the door.

Reed stood still, hands clutching the ring, staring at him. Shane just smiled and turned to leave when Reed, finally blurted out, "Wait!"

Shane stood at the door, a little confused. He looked back at the boy standing in the sunlight, curls lit up. It made him want to smile like an idiot so he just bit his lip and glanced away.

Reed's heart was in pounding in his chest. "…could you…maybe stay for the party?"

That was a surprise. Reed hastily continued, "You started this Logan mess, right? Stay and finish it."

"Is that such a good—"

"It's what Blaine would have done."

Shane stared, then sighed. He smiled a little. "…okay."

Reed smiled nervously and nodded. "All right."

Shane nodded to him, smiling a little, and he left the room to go to his own. Reed looked down at the ring in his hands and, now alone, had a spazz attack, flailing to himself before flopping onto the bed with a thump. What the hell are you doing, Reed Van Kamp?


"Kurt?"

Kurt looked up when Blaine came into the kitchen. The countertenor had Ethan by the front of the shirt, holding a cookie bowl away from him, while the other twin was being held down by Dwight onto the floor. All of them looked at him, blinking.

Blaine tried very hard to overlook the fact that there were cookies, flour, and eggs all over the kitchen, and tried not to mention to Kurt that his immaculate hair had a streak of that flour and that his cheek had cookie batter. He just smiled. "Can I talk to you outside for a minute?"

They all looked at each other. Kurt took the cookies and released Evan, hugging the bowl protectively before going to Blaine. He was sure he heard Ethan whimper when he took the cookies with him but he ignored them. Blaine held the door open, but just when Kurt was about to step out, he stopped. He turned, tossed three cookies back—a loud squabble ensued—and followed Blaine, offering the bowl.

"Thanks," Blaine grinned, taking one. Kurt took one as well, and followed him out past the living room where plastic multicoloured balls were scattered everywhere. They sidestepped the ornamental neon light bridge over the chocolate-rum "pond" connected to the waterfall, and ducked past the sets of swings with rails topped by swirlypops in the hall.

Kurt marveled at how immunized he was to all of this at this point.

Blaine didn't say much—he simply took his hand and led him to the elevator. When the chrome-plated doors closed, he let out his breath and released him. Kurt glanced at him. "What did you want to talk about?"

For a moment, Blaine lightly drummed his fist onto the wall, looking contemplative. Then he said, "…is it true that…Logan told you he loves you?"

Kurt stopped eating his cookie. He swallowed and glanced up at him. Blaine stared back at him, only expectant, with no other decipherable emotion. "…yes," Kurt finally answered.

Blaine let out his breath, licking his dry lips and nodded somberly. "Backstage… before I went on?"

"Yeah. …who told you?"

"Wes and David."

"Oh…"

Blaine seemed to deliberate for a moment. At that moment, the bell sounded, and the elevator opened to the ground floor. He nodded to Kurt to follow him. The two of them walked outside, through the lobby, and into the street, where well-dressed people emerged out of cars and entered buildings with the same sophisticated air as they did.

After a moment, Blaine said, "It's…probably none of my business but I just—" He finally just let it go and looked up. "…did you tell him anything? In answer, I mean?"

Kurt shook his head. "No. Not yet." He sighed. "I tried yesterday." He glanced at him. "And it is your business. He's got history with you. And not a good one. That's kind of what worries me."

"I'm just saying that while I understand that some people will get…attracted to you, he's just—"

"And I'm just saying that I have my own mind of the matter," Kurt said, arching his eyebrow delicately. "And that mind is…rather made up, as we speak." He glanced away. "Logan is just the way he is. And…I think he's trying. I've seen my share of people who are trying themselves to death, myself included. So he's…" He let it trail off and shrugged.

Blaine stared at him, a little surprised, and he lowered his gaze. "…right." He nodded a little. "Of course you would. You're kind of headstrong. You have every right to make up your own mind."

"Right…" Kurt nodded slowly. He glanced at him. "So…"

"No, I was just…wondering," Blaine waved it away absently, feeling rather crushed. Commiserating in his head had seldom been this bad. "Not a big deal."

"Blaine, anyone ever tell you that your face is so expressive that you could retell Don Quixote with your facial expressions?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.

"What?"

Kurt glowered at him. "It's a big deal." He flailed at him. "Your face tells me so." He walked up to him. "Look, do you want me to hate him that much?"

Blaine stared at him, surprised. "No, I mean—not hate, just…"


"They are not singing off the same page out there, are they?" Evan muttered from where they were peeking at the lobby doors, chewing on cookies. Ethan sadly shook his head, taking a piece from the cookie his brother held.

"This is sad, this is just…" David shook his head.

"What exactly is the conversation here?" Dwight asked, blinking.

"What Kurt is thinking is Why does Blaine want me to hate Logan all that badly just because he's his ex even though he's trying to change now—does he want to get back with him or something?" Evan said in monotone.

"And what Blaine is thinking is He likes him and he was going to confess and damn it I was an idiot for thinking I was really going to be able to get Kurt to fall in love with me," Ethan added in the same tone.

"Or something like that," they both finished.

Wes swallowed his cookie, looking disgusted. "Wow, these two need to get hit with cinderblocks."

"Lots of cinderblocks," the twins agreed.

"Where are Reed and Shane?" asked David.

"Shane's in his room, getting ready to book town. Reed's in his room mumbling entire monologues incoherently to himself while buried under a pillow." Dwight blinked. "I think he's possessed. I tried to sprinkle holy water on him, but he just threw a pillow at me and told me to go away. I left a ring of rock salt around his bed just in case, so he doesn't escape."

"You are so lucky we like you, dude…" Wes sighed.

"Rock salt never hurt anyone innocent!" Dwight shot back.

"Would you be quiet now, I'm trying to eavesdrop here," snapped David.

"But they're slowly eating all the cookies as they talk," Wes whined to him.


At some point, conversation waned and the two were left with an awkward pause that just left both wondering what on earth had gotten into the other's head. Kurt, who was getting rather annoyed, finally said, "Why are we arguing about that guy so suddenly?"

Blaine stared at him. "I don't know, it seems pretty relevant right now considering you and I are…"

"…are…?" Kurt prompted expectantly.

"He's…" Blaine was sure Kurt couldn't actually be this off from the topic. "…he's kind of between us both, isn't he?"

All the other Dalton boys now gestured with their hands expectantly, waiting for their Alice to make the connection. Kurt just gave Blaine a rather narrow-eyed look of disbelief.

"He is…?" Kurt blinked. What the…you really consider him as between us? Because I don't. "How does that happen? The way I see him is completely different from the way I see you."

Though the Windsor boys were all but jumping as it came that close to Kurt actually confessing right then and there, the prefect just stared. "So you do just like him, then? In spite of everything?" I can't let him do this, I thought we really had something already!

"I don't think he's a saint, but I think he needs to be given room to fix his mess without the rest of us hammering down at him. Is it wrong that I want to give him a chance?"

"This is painful, this is officially painful and I'm going to lock them in the pantry," Wes was halfway into the revolving door when the others grabbed him back.

"That's fine, then," Blaine said, looking at Kurt's expression and feeling anxious. "I'm all for him not flipping out half the time either. But…I really thought that you…" He stopped.

I really thought that you would pick me.

He let out a long sigh and then put a hand on Kurt's shoulder. He smiled a bit as he said, "It's nothing. Whatever you decide, it's… it's really your choice to make. And I have to be happy about that."

Kurt gave him a confused look. "What…?"

"About Logan," Blaine said. "If…that's what you really want then…I'm just sorry I got in the way." He turned away and headed back indoors.

"Blaine!" Kurt followed him, now more confused than ever. "You're not in the way!" He grabbed his hand, holding tight. "Whether he's there or not makes no difference!"

Blaine stopped, and glanced back to him. He seemed to consider for a moment, then smiled a little bit. "…it does to me." But he held the hand tighter when he saw Kurt's anxious expression. "Hey. Don't look at me like that." He smiled a bit more and went closer to him. "It's all right."

"Can we not fight before New Year?" Kurt asked, looking a little irritated, wanting to throw him off even as his heart went pounding away. His face didn't show it, but he was sure his hands did—they clutched at Blaine's with the tremor that could have been seen as cold. "This is ridiculous. I made it to the New Year because of your help—I'd be in a dumpster in McKinley otherwise."

"I suppose…" Blaine smiled faintly, still holding his hands, wondering why they were so cold when they, when Kurt was really getting worked up, were usually warm.

"Yeah…" Kurt rolled his eyes. "For all we know, he might not even show up anyway."

Oh… Blaine only smiled at Kurt. …I really think he'll show. After he sees that…he'll show. And then…game over.


"I am this close to throwing an actual cinderblock at them," Wes muttered from the doors. "And it won't take me long to find one."

"They're holding hands, it's a good sign," David pointed out.

"Yeah, but they've been holding hands since they first met…" Dwight grimaced, feeling more like the reluctant "fairy godparent" than anyone else. He wondered sometimes why he let himself dragged into these things. "Some progress would be nice."

"Didn't he kiss him under the mistletoe, though?" Evan supplied.

At that, the others looked down at him, staring in shock. "When was this?"

"Before winter break, at school, Blaine's room, doorway," grinned Ethan, sighing like a mother. "It was the cutest, sweetest, snuggly-wugglyest grossness you ever saw in Windsor."

"We needed to see a dentist after," Evan added with a smug smile. "It was that sweet."

The others weren't sure on whether to look happy or completely grossed out, so Wes settled for a frown and said, "Why can't we go back to that…?" He flailed to the two outside. "Before Logan puts the moves on?"

"That's up to them," Evan said. "Unfortunately."

"Well we'll never get anywhere," David looked contemplative. He suddenly looked up. "Crap. They're coming inside. Quick! Elevator!"

The foursome immediately ran to the sole elevator that led to the condominium, running around the bend just as Blaine and Kurt re-entered the building. The dour of them nearly crashed into each other to swipe their thumbs at the pad—the twins had put in all their fingerprints so they could come and go as they please—before the elevator doors hissed open and they ran in.

The door hissed shut just as Kurt and Blaine came around to the elevator.

Kurt had yet to release Blaine's hand, and he decided that while he had this moment, he had to ask. "…Blaine. About…that time you kissed me under the mistletoe."

The other boy stopped and turned to him. For a moment Blaine looked awkward, but then he said, "What about it?"

Kurt walked up to him directly, throwing caution to the wind. "Did you kiss me because I was under some mistletoe or…" He swallowed and trained his eyes directly into his.

Blaine took all of two seconds to prepare a response. He pulled the hand he held, bring Kurt just one bit closer. When he looked at Kurt's lips, he didn't even try to hide it anymore. He held him there carefully, waiting for any sign of him pulling away, but received none. After a full seven seconds, Kurt turned red and lowered his gaze. That allowed Blaine to think a little more clearly. But he smiled slightly and released him. "…does that answer your question?" he asked gently.

"Very much, yes…" Kurt breathed automatically, turning his eyes to the wall and feeling relieved as sanity returned. That…was so bad for the heart right there.

Blaine just smiled to himself. And because Kurt had been so forward himself, he decided to reciprocate, as the elevator slowly returned and announced its presence. He glanced to Kurt and said, "…maybe it would be safer if you stood by me during that party."

Kurt raised his eyebrows at this. Blaine just shrugged lightly with a smile and added, "You don't want to be in the middle of a crowd of strangers when the lights go out."

The elevator doors opened and the two walked inside as Kurt shrugged as well, hiding a smile in the corner of his lips. "…sounds all right."

What followed was the most unbelievably tense elevator ride upwards to the condo, but for some silly reason, the both of them were smiling.


The force of the music that came from the condominium was at a level when each bass pulse felt like a wall slamming into the skin. The prismatic lights in the room could downright blind a body, and this was after the lasers that leapt from wall to wall, traversing the expanse of the bodies in the massive condominium, each and every one having been forewarned to wear their best "childlike" outfit to fit the theme.

As a result, the Playground-Willy-Wonka-factory madness that the Twins had created was crammed wall-to-wall with gorgeous "kids". As Warblers and Dalton boys descended into the condominium by way of a special invitation—flashing their house badges at the bouncers by the elevator—so did the girls who were also invited, or were their dates.

Kurt had never seen so many beautiful girls in his life. Half of them were over five feet seven inches at least, and they were dressed up in knee socks, lacy dresses in petticoats, curly pigtails, or even shirts, shorts and suspenders—all of them a fleet of endless legs. The Dalton boys—after a semester of a predominantly testosterone environment—were extremely happy at the surroundings.

"Oh thank the stars…" Wes sighed as he sank into one of the gargantuan, microbead-filled pillow chairs that was made to look like a giant jellybean. He leaned over, taking a champagne-glassful of the spiked chocolate mixture that flowed in a river through the room. "After Tabitha ran off with Derek I was positively deprived."

"You are currently surrounded by a hundred gorgeous girls…and you're thinking of the Banshees' personification, Tabitha," David nodded slowly as though trying to make sense of it. "Okay…"

"And half the time, you're messing with Blaine and Kurt…" smirked Evan, who was drinking a bright green cocktail that turned red at the bottom, his immaculate clothes already mussed with the dancing on the floor. Ethan grinned, drinking the same type of cocktail as he said, "So yeah, basically, all you've got are us guys."

"I'm too invested with those two at this point," Wes complained. "If they'd only make an effort…"

"Their problem is that they like each other way too much," Reed said, shaking his head as he sipped his apple juice—it was the only thing he trusted himself to be drinking in this party. "They're most afraid of going too far and then ruining things. They don't think they can afford to ruin what they have and take a chance."

"Well it's a new year…" sighed Evan, looking to the TV screen, watching Times Square continue to go crazy. The clock was ticking. "At least, it will be in an hour," Ethan nodded.

"Already?" Reed asked, startled.

The music started getting even louder. Candy confetti was falling down from the ceiling as the cannons blasted with each five-minute mark. The two men manning the DJ booth looked disturbingly like the pair from Daft Punk. The massive widescreen that ran down one side of the hall flickered and changed displays. An air raid siren carried through the room, making everyone look up as a computerized voice said, "One hour until the New Year."

The place exploded into excited cheering and chatter. The music swelled, filling the room with pop music. Some of the guests started going to for the malted milk ball-shooting guns (the amount of candy arsenal in the room was appalling) and pelting each other.

It was at this point that after one particularly excellent volley from the guns and a few snippets of drunken singing from some Warblers, the elevator doors hissed open and admitted Logan Wright into the party. With the crowd so thick, the music so loud, that the Windsors didn't notice at once, and they didn't hear the other Dalton boys greeting him as he came in.

The lights flashed through the condominium and Logan walked in, smirking to himself as he looked around. Some of the girls cast appreciative looks at him as he came in, but though he smiled at them, he was not interested. His head hadn't been this clear in days. He knew what he wanted.

Logan spotted Blaine—he was with his brother, talking to him by one of the doorways that led to other rooms. He came close enough to hear what they were saying, but they were so wrapped up that they didn't notice him.

"I saw your bags—" Blaine said, loudly, to be heard over the music. "Why did you start packing?"

"I'm leaving right after the party!" Shane said loudly back. He smiled faintly at his brother. "I've done enough damage here. Going to go back to Colorado early and make more problems there instead."

Blaine looked concerned and confused. "Shane, if it's about the video—"

"No—no…" Shane held a hand out to him. He clearly had some drinks in him, but not enough to be lost or even considered too drunk. "I'm going. That's it. I'm only here because…well because an angel asked me to." He grinned.

Logan nodded to himself. So his hunch was right—it was Shane who slipped him the video of Blaine and Kurt singing together.

Blaine said, "Look, you don't have to go—we might have overreacted—"

"Blaine, seriously," said Shane, shaking his head, alcohol releasing some inhibitions. "I can't keep doing this to you, or to Reed… I'm going to go home and be good. Be good and stop being such a freaking mess."

The thought of his brother returning days early to his charade for his father wasn't a pleasant thought to Blaine. "Look, you made one mistake—"

"One?" Shane started laughing like a maniac, scooping up one of the cocktails as a waiter passed. Blaine took the cocktail out of his hands, set it down on a nearby surface and pulled his brother off to presumably a safer room to talk.

Logan watched him go. He moved forward and picked up the cocktail the brothers had left behind, and then proceeded to find his target.

He found his quarry talking with the Hanover prefect, dressed in that same interesting manner—a blue turtleneck and what appears to be a gigantic, red, fur-lined hoodie that was so large that it had to be bunched all up around his shoulders, making him look like the kind of doll that girls loved dressing up.

Kurt was laughing at something Justin was saying—in relation to how the Stuart parade float once burned and smoldered for days on end as a casualty of war between Windsor and Stuart's notorious rivalry—and he looked up as Logan arrived with a smile. "Hey!"

Kurt looked amused. "Hey! You're…not in dress code?"

Logan wore one of the impeccable gray ensembles that owned the Parisian runways this season, and just grinned. "Sure I am!"

"Oh? As what? A political son?"

Logan pretended to be wounded. "Ouch…" he smirked. "No, actually, it should be obvious that I'm the big bad wolf. All gray and all that." He looked at the red jacket on Kurt and grinned. "Little Red Riding hood?"

"Just because you're taller than me…" Kurt rolled his eyes.

"Hey Justin!" Logan smiled, shaking hands with the other prefect. Justin smiled and raised his glass to him in response.

"You look well," Justin said. "Better than you did before!"

"I kind of do, don't I?" Logan smiled. "I feel great!" He looked down at Kurt and smiled at him. "Extremely!"

Kurt was a little surprised. "Well you do look better!" he voice broke just slightly as he tried to talk loudly over the music. Both Justin and Logan laughed. Kurt turned red and shoved at Justin.

"Here," Logan said, handing him the cocktail with a smile. "Wet your throat. If you lose that voice, the Warblers will get in trouble."

Kurt eyed the cocktail worriedly. "Uh…no, pass." He shook his head. "I have an extremely bad history with alcohol."

"Oh?" Logan blinked, intrigued.


"Blaine!" yelled Reed, running to him. Behind him, the lights flashed. Countdown came to thirty minutes. He slipped on some of the plastic balls on the ground and flopped onto the carpet. One of the Warblers sitting nearby said, "Reed, dude, are you okay?"

"Fine…" he brushed himself off. Blaine reached him, with Shane right behind him, and said, "Whoa, easy Reed. You didn't drink anything, did you?"

"No," Reed answered, shaking his head and his brushing insanely expensive pants off. But he looked at him with wide eyes. "I heard one of the Stuart boys say that Logan's in here already."

"What?" Blaine looked around quickly. He couldn't recognize anyone well through the flashing lights, music and all the bodies in the room. The party was going crazy and more people were coming in—and Blaine could see that some of them weren't Dalton anymore. He had no idea how they got in, but the Twins didn't do something soon, there was going to be some serious damage.

He pushed through the crowd immediately, looking for Kurt. He had thought that as Logan hadn't shown up for two hours since the party started, he may have changed his mind. Shane took Reed by the hand. "Come on, let's go tell the Twins that their party's going overboard." In his free hand, Shane held his hand-carry for the plane.

Reed spotted it easily as he used it to part the crowd. "You're leaving already?" he asked.

Shane only nodded. "Yeah. After this, I'm gone. But first I've got to get to the Twins, then I'll back Blaine up." He glanced back at him. "Then gone." He grinned.

"…are you drunk?" Reed asked suspiciously.

"No, actually—I had a few, but I'm good at holding my liquor—that's why I get the happy job of driving everyone home all the time. And believe me, you will lose count of how much puking can be done in a car."

Reed looked grossed out—and he slipped on one of the malted milk balls on the ground. Shane felt the tug of him falling and immediately reacted, turning pulling him up and spinning him right up against and catching his free hand, and they ended up looking as though they came out of a Fred Astaire movie.

Reed stared up at him. "…whoa."

Shane looked back at him, a little stunned. "Oh, I…I take up dance in my spare time." He shrugged quickly. Seeing that Reed was right up against him, he released him quickly. "Right. Okay. Sorry. The Twins?"

"Right, the Twins," Reed nodded hastily and the two headed off.


"Fifteen minutes to the New Year." The room exploded into cheers and explosions of conversation, people moving around, running to each other, preparing to face the new year. The feed on the widescreen revealed the throng in Times Square, watching the ball drop.

Blaine turned and found himself face to face with Logan. "Hello, Blaine!" said the taller boy, smiling a little. "Interesting party, even though it's getting out of hand." Around him, people continued to dance and party happily in the massive playground the Twins had built. It was just the two of them now, staring.

"So you're here too now?" Blaine looked back up at him. As a serious conversation, it was awkward as they had to talk loudly to be heard. They screamed over the din.

"I think you know why I'm here," Logan answered. He seemed unbelievably self-possessed. Or was it simply self-assurance?

"Where's Kurt?" Blaine asked coldly.

"He's with Justin, I haven't done anything to him," Logan said easily. "I haven't even given him any alcohol. Relax!"

"Think you'll understand when I say, no, I think I'll keep my guard up," Blaine replied giving him an incredulous look. "That's the only reason you're so focused right now. And Shane told me what he did."

"Ah…" Logan nodded, smiling. "I figured it was Shane who'd drop me a message that big. It was too ballsy a move for anyone in Windsor to do, actually!"

He was definitely back to his old self. That calm self-assurance was Logan without medication. It was fine as long as he stayed calm. It was only when he was angry that things got dangerous. Blaine had the advantage of experience as he treaded through thin ice.

"So now what are you going to do?" Blaine calmly gazed up at him. "You can't make him do anything. Even I can't. It's his life and he gets to choose."

"Well that's why I'm here," Logan sighed, looking around. "I came here as myself! Not as a drugged down version, not as a crazed wackjob! Just me! It has to be a fair game or nothing at all!"

"You see that's your problem," Blaine shook his head, moving up to him so he could be heard even over the noise. "You think of this as a game! You've always thought this is some kind of game! You did it to me and to…" He shook his head. "This isn't one, Logan. Do you even genuinely care about him? Because if you're just doing this to beat me…"

Logan closed his eyes, shook his head and started to laugh. "Why are we talking about this, in the middle of a crowded room, screaming?"

"Because then we can yell at each other all we want!" Blaine answered.

"Then if I'm going to scream it at you, I damn should—I'm not doing this to beat you! You both are going to be stuck with me! Even if he picks you over me, I'm not going to give this a rest!"

"Good!" Blaine retorted. "Because then I'll maybe consider you a changed man. He's trying to get me to believe it, but until I see it, I don't think you should be near—!"

"We'll see about that." Logan suddenly fled.

Blaine turned and ran the opposite direction. He had to find Kurt before the lights went out. Not to kiss him, or to do anything—but just to make sure that whatever anyone did that night, including himself, it was Kurt who makes the decision.

No one else.


"Five minutes to the New Year…"

"There!" yelled Wes, pointing to Blaine, who pushed through the crowd to them. "Blaine! Over here, man! Come on! Where the hell have you been?"

"Where's Kurt?" Blaine asked breathlessly.

"We haven't seen him," said Reed, looking anxious. "We saw Justin and he said he was with him, and then he left to go find you!"

"Where's Logan?" David asked loudly.

"He's here—I saw him and he's still around here somewhere!" Blaine looked around. "I have to find Kurt. It's almost that time."

"You really want to kiss him for New Years, don't you, man?" Dwight stared at him. Blaine shook his head. "No. I have to make sure he doesn't get forced into one."

The Twins suddenly looked up. "We better move!"

"Why?" asked Reed.

"Because we've set the lights to flicker like crazy at the three minute mark before complete darkness! If we're going to find Alice, we better find him now or we won't find him at all!"


Logan stood in the middle of the gyrating bodies that danced to the music. The lights were beginning a pre-emptive flicker, slow that would gradually speed up. He looked quickly around for any sign of Kurt.

And then he spotted a bright flash of red in an oversized hoodie. He smile and raised his voice as he moved through the crowd.

Kurt looked up as the slim, gray body stood in front of him. In the flashing of the lights, the clothes looked like metal. Like the armor on a knight. Against his great height—he had to be at least as tall as Finn—Kurt looked up to meet a pair of intense green eyes that he recognized from the very first time in the choir room.

Logan leaned close to him and murmured, "Red isn't your color. You look like a painted rose."

Kurt ducked from such close proximity but said, "Well I think it's kind of nice."

"Blue is more your color," said Logan, smiling.

Kurt considered a little. "…blue is actually my favorite color. But red is festive and so here it is." Feeling a bit uncomfortable about that stare, Kurt finally said, "You…you look a little more like your old self, you know?"

"Is that good or bad?" Logan asked, blinking almost innocuously.

Kurt looked up at him, wondering. "I…honestly don't know."

"Well…maybe I'm finally making some progress," Logan smiled. "And you know…I can honestly say it's because of you."

"What?" Kurt almost laughed. He shook his head. "No, I think for once, you can have whatever credit you're giving me."

"Seriously," Logan smiled. "…do you remember what I told you backstage…?"

Kurt hugged his arms, feeling awkward. He swallowed. "Can't forget. …first time a guy ever… A guy ever told me he was in love with me." He gestured anxiously. "Can we not talk about this here? In the middle of the crowd?"

"Crowd's best place to talk…" Logan stepped closer to him. "No one listens."


At that moment, the lights began to flicker.

"Oh no…" the twins looked up as the lights flickered to a palpitating pace.

"Three minutes to the New Year."

The screaming reached a fever pitch. Times Square was going ballistic in the screens everywhere. The lights danced, changing color with each beat of light and darkness.

"Kurt!" Blaine cried over the noise. "Kurt!"

The Twins pushed through the crowds, determined to get to the control board at the DJ's station but there was simply no way through with all the pushing bodies. They had to turn on all the lights while they could.

"Evan!" Ethan yelled.

"Yeah?" his twin cried as they pushed.

"I think this party got a little out of hand!"

"Ditto!"

The Windsors were pushed apart as they ran in different directions, looking for their friends. David stood, torn between what he had to do and what he needed to do. He had a phone in his hand and he had to call Katherine for the New Year, but his friends…

A hand landed on his shoulder. It was Wes. Wes could find him anywhere. In the flickering light, his friend nodded. "It's okay, man. Do what you got to do. We've got this." And he ran off, hopefully to avert crisis. David swallowed, nodding to himself, and he fled to find an alcove, dialing Katherine's number as he did.

Dwight came tearing past Justin, who they'd roped into helping. "I lost Reed!"

"What?"

"I was hanging onto him like a minute ago! I lost him!"

Justin scanned the flickering hysteria. It was impossible. With the lights, the crowd, the color—there was no way that anyone would find Reed with his size. He would be on the ground by now, knowing him, making it all the more dangerous.

He pushed Dwight. "Go—just go!" He cursed mentally. What the hell, Logan. What are you—you show up once and Windsor goes crazy!


"Two minutes to the New Year."

There was a second wave of cheering. The foam started spraying into the room. Whatever the Twins had planned, no matter how the night went, they were definitely going to get into huge amounts of trouble for this party.

Justin was right—Reed was on the ground at the moment. He got knocked back when the cheering began afresh. There were only two minutes of the year left.

Reed got kicked in the shins by someone unseen. He choked back a cry and struggled to his feet, trying to get his bearings. A sob escaped him—he felt lost.

"Reed!" a strong arm grabbed him through the dark and pulled him against a body, tight. "It's okay! I got you, I'm here. You're okay."

Reed was confused for a minute. "Shane?" He shakily held onto him.

Kurt pulled away, looking around at all the flashing lights. "I—I have to find the others already!"

Logan grabbed his hand and held it tightly. "It's okay—I'm right here! Don't worry."

"Kurt!"

The countertenor looked up quickly. "I think I heard Blaine."

"Did you?" Logan looked around.

Blaine ran into Justin as he crossed the floor again. "Have you seen either of them?" he asked as soon as he recognized his friend.

"No," Justin shook his head, looking around. "You'd think a guy as tall as Logan would—" he stopped. "—is that them?" He pointed to the direction near the windows.


"One minute to the New Year."

The screaming reached a fever pitch. Times Square was cheering. The ball made its way down progressively.

Kurt peeled his hands away from Logan. "Logan, Blaine's looking for me."

"Stop thinking about Blaine for five seconds!" Logan finally burst out, holding tightly onto his hand. "I want to be with you for one minute without having to listen to you talk about him!"

"Calm down, Logan!" Kurt snapped. "I thought you were okay now—why are you getting so angry?"

Logan swallowed and answered, "I'm not medicated."

"What?" Kurt stared. "Why?"

"Kurt!" Blaine called again.


"Thirty seconds to the New Year…"

"I didn't take them," Logan shook his head. "I wanted to be able to tell this to you again so you know I mean it when I say it!" He held his hands tightly. "I tried, I really really tried but I feel when I'm with you. I thought it would be okay if I just tried, but it's not worth it."

Kurt stared at him, speechless as Logan continued, "When I'm numb I just don't feel happy or sad, even when you're there. You said it yourself—I didn't look like myself. This is me, Kurt—this is who I really am. And I'm sorry that I'm a terrible person when I'm not medicated, but the truth is—"


"Twenty seconds to the New Year…"

"—but the truth is this is the me that's horribly, ridiculously in love with you and I just can't do anything about it!" Logan clasped his hands.

Blaine reached them, hearing Logan's words, and he stopped immediately, staring.

Kurt stared at Logan without confusion or hesitation. He only lowered his eyes and shook his head. "…I know who you are. I know what you're like with and without medication."

"Ten…nine…eight…"

"The truth is…I want you to get better. You can be so freaking better than this! With or without medication! Whatever it takes!"

Logan shrugged, shaking his head.

"You don't have to be alone." Kurt stressed.

"I'm not." Logan smiled a little. "I'm with you." He leaned forward just as Wes came skidding next to Blaine. Blaine kept him back.

"Seven…six…five…"

Logan stopped, an inch from Kurt's lips. Kurt's hand was pressed to his chest, keeping him at bay. Kurt stared steadily at him, heart hammering in his chest. "I can't."

"Why?"

"…I love Blaine."


"Three…two…one! Happy New Year!"


Times Square erupted into a volley of deafening fireworks and brilliant lights. The condominium burst into cheering and screams of Happy New Year wishes. And all lights in the Brightman condominium died. Bodies pressed against one another, grabbing and clutching for New Years kisses amidst happy squealing.

In the chaos, Reed felt Shane hold him tightly against him. He felt scared at first, then just puzzled. "Shane…?"

"It's okay…" Shane whispered quietly in his ear in the darkness. "I've got you. I'll keep you here until the lights come back on."

Shane kept his hands around his waist, nowhere else. He simply remained there, keeping Reed from being jostled around, protecting him from being grabbed by the bodies in the room. Reed blinked in the darkness and clutched at him.


In the darkness of the foyer, it only by the lights of the buildings and the fireworks outside, David leaned against the wall, smiling gently. "…Happy New Year, Katherine."

A gentle voice on the other end, the respirator obstructing her voice slightly, answered, "Happy New Year, David. I miss you."

"I told you I could spend New—"

"No, David." Her voice sounded as though she were smiling. "I just miss you. Come back when you can. I'll be waiting."

David smiled. "All right."


Blaine stared at Kurt, the expression of amazement in his face unseen in the darkness. His eyes remained fastened on the spot where he last saw Kurt.

Logan released him slowly. He murmured in the dark, "…I know you do. …it was terribly obvious."

"I'm—"

"You'll have plenty of time to be sorry later, when I get better at this and get you to change your mind," Logan said, an effort to restrain himself more than evident in his voice. His fists were clenched in the darkness. "In the meantime…" His shaking hand reached out in the dimness and gave Kurt a slight push, sending the countertenor falling into another body.

All the lights in the Brightman condominium returned—all of them simultaneously—in a powerful hum of electricity. Confetti exploded into the air, golden and falling down over them. The crowd erupted into the cheering as a golden blizzard set down

Kurt looked up at Blaine, the one who had caught his arms. Blaine looked at him with a smile, and Kurt turned red at the sight of him. "Happy New Year, Kurt," Blaine murmured.

He smiled. "Happy New Year, Blaine."

From the DJ's booth, the Tweedles were holding the switch that turned on all the lights, having just jammed it to position. They looked relieved as they looked at each other.

Everything else vanished from Kurt's mind as he looked up to Blaine. "You…didn't happen to hear any of that, did you?"

"I actually did." He was holding tightly onto him, and the prefect leaned close amidst the deafening fireworks and answered, "…and I've loved you since I first saw you."

Kurt smiled, a faint flush creeping up his face as he remained close. He nodded, twining their hands together as Blaine kept him close. The fireworks went off in deafening bang, punctuating their words.

"Finally!" Wes all but flopped onto the carpet in relief. David walked back into the party, pocketing his phone and looking relieved and happy. The Twins leaned against each other, smiling. Fireworks erupted outside, in all directions, screaming into the air and exploding into shards of light.


Shane looked up at all the lights and sighed in relief. Reed, crushed against him, took a breath as Shane let go. "Okay. The sea of hormones has faded off." Shane smiled. "Go on."

"Okay…" shakily, Reed brushed himself off and glanced around. "We have to find the others."

"Yeah, let's go find everyone," Shane said, smiling up at him. "Happy New Year, Reed."

Reed smiled at him and nodded. "Happy New Year, Shane." He looked around and then saw a familiar blond head making his way to the elevator. It was Logan. "Where's he going?"

Dwight was about to ask that same question as he reached Logan, who had just stepped into the elevator. "Where's Kurt?" he demanded, holding his holy water sprayer.

Logan simply gestured to the party with a smile. Dwight blinked, glanced back, then turned back at him and frowned. "What's the matter with you?"

To which the prefect simply shrugged and said, "It's a New Year, Dwight. Fun's just beginning. He's the Hare to my Tortoise, but the race is still going to be a while."

"Hare…?" Dwight blinked, confused. "Wait, wasn't Blaine the Rabbit?"

Logan just grinned. The elevator doors hissed shut. Logan glanced to the mirrored walls and smiled to himself. He'd never felt more like himself in a long time. Sure, he didn't get the kiss—and Kurt admitted that he was in love with Blaine…

But after days of meds, he couldn't remember a time when he looked forward to making plans this much.

So this is what it feels like to be comfortable in your own skin…

His phone rang at the lobby. It was Derek.

"Hey! Happy New Year, man! How'd it go? Did you get Windsor's "Alice" yet?"

"Happy New Year to you too, mother. No not yet," Logan smirked. He sighed happily. "But you know me, I like a challenge when it interests me. I've done this once before. And you know what they say…it's easier to catch what's already tied down."

"What?" Derek sounded baffled.

He stepped out into the street, where the car was waiting. He smiled and glanced up at the party. "I can't wait to get back to Dalton."


The party was sufficiently insane enough that by the time police got to the area and hour or so later to clear most of the mob out—"What underage drinking? It's all chocolate and candy in here, officer."—even the Tweedles were looking a little sheepish. The condominium was nearly totaled—there was debris everywhere and it barely even looked anything like its previous grandeur.

It was only after it was very late into the night—or very early into the morning of the new year—that silence returned to the Brightman condominium. It was now a vast ruin.

"Wow…" Wes said, looking around at the mess. Only the Windsor conspirators and a whole lot of Warblers remained inside the area, examining the damage. He looked at the Tweedles. "Your parents are going to kill you."

"Happens once in a while," Evan agreed, smiling.

"True…doesn't last very long," Ethan shrugged.

"I didn't even get to kiss anyone!" Wes whined. "And those Victoria's Secret models never showed up!" He glared at them. "It's not fair!"

"It's just a New Year's kiss, Wes," David rolled his eyes. "Overrated."

"You have Katherine—of course you think it's overrated!"

"Fine, come here." He grabbed his friend by the sleeve and kissed the top of his head. "There! Happy New Year, Wes!"

The Warblers burst into hysterical laughter as Wes gaped at him. The Twins seemed to find this particularly ridiculous and just cracked up, falling off the jellybean chairs. They might have had a few drinks as well, and this may be the reason for their heightened madness.

"Where are Blaine and Kurt?" Reed asked, looking around and finding no sign of the two.

"They went out," grinned Evan. "I think they went up on the roof to watch the sunrise."

"What about Logan?"

"He left," Dwight snorted, eating one of the swirly pops as he patted his pockets for his phone. "Said something about the tortoise and the hare—"

"Not the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon?" Ethan asked with a grin.

"Pretty sure he said hare," Dwight rolled his eyes.

"Huh…" Justin looked contemplative, sitting on one of the tables while ripping open a pixie stick. "Well he's a tough nut to crack, that one."

"I really thought he was going to come and kill Blaine or something," Shane shuddered, shaking his head. "Looks like he just really wants a fair shot at Kurt."

"It hasn't been fair since Blaine sang Teenage Dream," Wes smiled.

"Yeah, well it's not over yet," Dwight shot back. "When we get back to school, it's back to the old routine. New Year or not, I'm going to line my damn door in salt and you psychos can do whatever it is you want."

"You're one of us psychos, Dwight," David remarked.

"I assure you, compared to you people, I'm perfectly sane."

"I cannot wait for the day we see your psychiatric report."


On the cold, slate-gray rooftop, Kurt sat leaning against Blaine, asleep. Blaine, also half so, had his arm around him with some difficulty owing to Kurt's giant jacket. Their hands remained together, close proximity keeping them both warm. The sky had begun to change color.

As the first tinges of orange began to paint the sky, much the same way as Reed's paintings had done, Blaine heard Kurt murmur and roused himself from half slumber.

"…didn't get a New Year's kiss after all…" Kurt murmured, half asleep.

Blaine smiled and carefully nudged him with his shoulder, lifting his chin a little. "Hey."

The other boy blearily opened his eyes a fraction, "Hm…?"

Blaine smiled at his drowsy expression. "Nothing." He looked back into the view. The rising sun was going to get shattered by all the skyscrapers, but in the morning of the New Year, the city that never slept could've almost passed for peaceful.

"You know…" he said, "…it's technically still the New Year." He glanced down at the head on his shoulder.

Kurt blinked slowly, the haze in his eyes still there, but he smiled a little as he raised his head, leaning their foreheads together. "…technically speaking, yes."

Blaine was looking at his lips the same way he had done before. They were so close that they had the same breath and their eyelashes would have met. Kurt glanced at him through his veiling ones and murmured, "And so…"

"…technically…" Blaine agreed, "…this will count, wouldn't it?" He pressed his lips full against his.

They all lied when they talked about fireworks and kissing. A hundred thousand fireworks must've been going off all around outside when New Years had hit, but it was nothing like kissing Blaine properly for the first time at all. It was all touch, and breath, and warmth, and scent, and clutching hands that shook with restraint, with every thought evaporating like the mist when the first few New Year sunbeams pierced through the buildings.

Blaine released him just enough so that their faces remained close. He stared into Kurt's eyes with his heart pounding. Kurt looked back at him, without fear in his blue eyes. Their lips silently met again.

The sun rose over New York to the sounds of life returning to its paces, but Blaine and Kurt wouldn't be back to real life until the next half hour.


They stood at the airport, all of them, as Shane hitched up the backpack slung over his shoulder with a smile. He was the only one flying alone. Everyone else was taking the Twins' jet. "So I'll hear from you all, yeah?" he smiled. But he glared at Blaine. "Especially you. I'd appreciate an update every once in a while. But you can skip the parts about which bases you finally get to cover."

Kurt glowered at him, bright red, and Blaine smacked his arm lightly. "Stop it."

"Sorry, sorry," he grinned apologetically at the others. "Sorry for making all that trouble too. But at least I'll be out of your hair now."

"Drop us a line," Wes said, bumping fists with him.

"And remember to think, it's apparently very useful," David smirked.

"Come back soon!" said Evan, grinning.

"Or just transfer," shrugged Ethan.

"Into Windsor!"

"That would be great!"

"Sounds reasonable to me!"

"How about no?" Blaine glared at them. "I have my hands full with all of you already."

"I'll think about it, but I can't make promises…" Shane grinned, and then looked at Reed, who stood just blinking at him. He smiled. "It was really nice getting to know you, Reed." He extended a hand.

Reed stared at the hand for a long moment. And then he just went ahead and decided to go for a whole hug. Shane was a little surprised and turned bright scarlet. Coughing sounded from the rest of the assembled as an epidemic of snickering sounded.

"Move…" Kurt said, earnestly pushing them off to a different direction, glowering. "Move, give them some room, they have to talk."

"Wah?" Evan whined. His twin pouted. "But we—"

Kurt glared pointedly at them, and when it didn't work, he took out a piece of cookie from his pocket and crushed it in his hands. The boys followed without complaint, Dwight grumbling about haunted cookies and how they were all under the spell of its ectoplasmic goodness.

Reed pulled something from his bag. It was a small roll of paper in a paper tube. "Here."

"What's this?" Shane asked, even as he opened it. He saw a big splatter of red, green and yellow, but it swirled through the canvas. "I didn't know you did modern art."

Reed just smiled. "It's for one of my new sets. I'm going to paint people as I feel about them, painting the music I thought best fit them. This one…" he turned a bit red, "…is you."

Shane burst out laughing, looking at it. "It's crazy! I like it!" He smiled at him. "Reed, thank you. For everything, I mean. I know I freaked you out, but you…you put up with me."

"You do grow on people," Reed supplied with a smile. He paused before adding, "And I'll miss you."

Shane's smile softened and said, "…I'd tell you the same, but the magnitude of the "missing" part is kind of exponential in comparison to yours."

Reed ducked his head, blushing. "Listen, Shane…"

"I know." Shane smiled faintly. "…you don't like me the way I like you. It's silly, isn't it? Falling this hard so fast? But you make it so easy I just can't help it." He grinned. "Don't worry about it. I don't need you to answer me. I'm content just looking."

Face heating up, Reed swatted at him, only to miss and nearly tripped over his own feet. Shane caught his arm without missing a beat, pulling him back up and then releasing him. Reed blinked. "You're really good at that, you know?"

"I suppose so." Shane grinned. He looked up at the terminal screens. "Well… this is me." He turned back. "Goodbye, Reed. See you again sometime."

Reed smiled and waved. "See you."

Shane gave him one last hug—it lasted longer than was generally normal. And Reed's hands trailed over his arms even as Shane pulled away. The younger brother stepped back and waved at the older one. "Bye, Blaine! See you on vacation, I guess. Come home sometime."

"You going to be alright?" Blaine called back, a little worried.

"Nothing I haven't already handled! Bye!" Shane waved and hurried off to board, clutching the painting.

Reed stood there, watching after he disappeared, for so long that Kurt walked up to him and patted his cashmere-covered shoulder. "Hey. You okay?"

There was a pause. And entirely without warning, Reed grabbed onto Kurt and started crying. "Hey!" he let the fact that Reed was getting tears—and possibly snot—all over his Armani a once-in-a-lifetime pass of forgiveness and patted him. "Why are you crying?"

"If there was a word for it, I'll tell you—right now I can't," his friend answered through chokes. "I don't know why! I feel like an idiot! For heavenssake, Kurt, slap me or something, don't just stand there!"

David and Wes looked a little scared at that. Kurt rolled his eyes. "It's all right…take it easy…"

"I can't wait to get back to Dalton," Reed sighed, interrupted by sobs. "Everything was so simple."

"There, there…" Kurt hugged him, and shrugged at the others who were staring in shock and askance. Dwight gave them an I'm-surrounded-by-crazy-people expression.

"Well, people!" said Evan brightly. "Guess it's time to book New York and head back home."

"All the way back to Warbler Land," nodded Ethan.

Kurt, still hugging Reed, looked up at Blaine, who smiled. "I don't know about you, but I'm all New York-ed already."

"Great. When we get back you can start getting ready."

"What for?"

"My parents want to see you."


On the next episode: All the Windsor boys land at Dalton only to find that their Alice has to be in Lima for one more day. And so they decide to bring the crazy, and Blaine, to him for a change.