Hi, I'm CP Coulter and I'm your author for this fic.

I once again apologize (as I often do) for the time it took for me to post this episode. It's extra long, at over thirty-four thousand words, in the hopes that it'll make up for such a long delay. I won't pretend that this episode will make a lot of sense, as it's not meant to. It's been made so you can see the confusion of the Valentines' Fair first hand, and see that a great many things will be revealed in the mayhem. This will officially end the Valentines' Arc.

I continue to thank each and every reader who has put up with my delays, my...apparent madness, and for continuing to support this fanfic. It's been a crazy road, and it's not quite over yet, and I conttinue to hope that you enjoy my fic and my characters. I also continue to thank the real Dalton Academy Warblers, who quite obviously continue to tolerate us, their crazy fangirls, and our zeal. I'd like to thank Aaron Page for his in-character responses as Logan, Dominic Barnes for encouraging and reading the fic, and Riker Lynch for also being so amiable with the fact that people are trying to peg him and his brothers as the Tweedles, or just him as Reed. I'd like to thank Miss Lea Salonga for even glancing at my fic, and Mr. Moy Ortiz of The Company as well for the same (thank you to my friend austenheroine for this info).

As always, I continue to hope that you enjoy my fic, and this episode, and for even reading this far in it.

(The full tracklist for the ep can be found as usual at my tumblr, cpcoulter. tumblr. com)

(I do not own Glee, the Warblers, or basically anything except the OCs and the plotlines.)


Dalton

Episode 23 - Showdown


It was past midnight.

Blaine had changed his clothes and gotten ready for bed, but he couldn't sleep. His head was too full, and conscience refused to grant him truce. The thoughts of who got to be right, who got to be wrong—who had to break down first—

—and he remembered those blue eyes—

Clink!

Blaine looked up. He turned to the window.

Clink!

Another pebble struck the window. Blaine frowned and rose from the bed walking to the window where he heard the sound just as whoever it was kept going.

Clink! Clink!—Bang!

Blaine winced as one pebble—forget pebble, it had to be a rock—struck a window and downright cracked it. He quickly clasped the latch and pulled the window open, looking out into the moonlight.

Below him, standing in the cold ground, breath smoking in the chilled air, wrapped up in a thick coat and a scarf that was almost too big for him, stood Shane, grinning a little and brightening up even more at the sight of him.

"Hey Blaine!" he exclaimed upon seeing him.

"Shh!" Blaine hissed frantically, looking around. He tried to keep his voice down. "Shane, what the heck are you doing here at—" he glanced at the clock, "—two-thirty in the morning?"

Shane stamped his feet on the ground, hands in his pockets, trying to keep warm. "I took a cab, climbed a low fence—you know the ivy all over the walls make really good places to climb over? Anyway—"

"Shane, you're supposed to be injured!"

"—I mean yeah, sure, but not anymore, my leg is fine, I told you I've been working on it. It's not one hundred percent and I might limp if it gets particularly strained—"

"Shane!"

"Whatever! Let me in!"

"What is the matter with you? Why are you here?"

"You know how I haven't been answering my phone?"

"Yeah?"

"I…" Shane tried to collect his thoughts to adequately explain to his indignant older brother, but only managed to have a miniature spaz attack and flailed his arms. "Reed was calling me that whole time?"

Blaine groaned and rubbed his face in his hands, brushing back his currently unruly black curls. Fantastic. At two-thirty in the morning. "Shane…"

"I mean, like, what the heck, dude? I thought you were the only one calling me! He was calling? Messages? Like, buried under all your missed calls and your messages? Is he mad at me? Is he mad at me? Oh man—"

"Shane—"

A window pushed open on the side Blaine's was on. Dwight poked his head out blearily, looking annoyed and very armed with his wood and silver weapon. "I'm sorry to interrupt your charming soiree at such a blessed hour of the night, but I'm this close to shooting him down with my crossbow. Blaine, please tell me that this is, in fact, Shane and not some creature of the abyss sent to keep me from my regular sleeping habits and dull my keen hunting senses?"

"I'm sorry, Dwight," Blaine began with a sigh.

Another window opened to the right and Evan peeked out, looking drowsy, and Ethan did the same with a yawn, but nevertheless looking deeply amused. "What did we miss here…?" Ethan asked.

"Hi Shane…" Evan yawned and was answered with a, "Hi twins…" from Shane down below as Blaine rubbed his eyes, exasperated. "Come inside, Shane…" he muttered.

Shane was hopping up and down on the ground anxiously. "Wait! Answer my question first, Blaine! Is he mad at me? Tell me!"

"Blaine—" Dwight had the crossbow aimed.

"Come. Inside." Blaine glowered at his brother and disappeared from the window. Shane blew out his breath in a groan. This wasn't how he had wanted it to go at all. If only he'd gotten better sooner—

Evan smiled blearily at Shane, elbows propped on the windowpane and said, "He's furious. Reed is. He probably wouldn't want to see you."

"Ever. You broke his heart. To bits." Ethan added with the same drowsy smile.

Shane turned white as a sheet. "What?"

"Mm-hmm…" the Twins continued to smile at him.

"…please tell me you're kidding," Shane breathed.

"Partially."

"Maybe."

"Yeah, you and Blaine?"

"Single for Valentines."

"For good."

"Yes."

Shane's eyes widened in horror. "Oh no. Ohno. Ohnononononono…" He broke into a run towards the entrance, but ended up crashing into his brother who had just come striding out into the grounds, still wearing a shirt and pajama bottoms. Blaine caught his brother's arm and frowned at him. "Come on. Let's go."

"Wait, I have to talk to—"

"You are not waking Reed at this hour of the night. That will get you killed." That, of course, was courtesy of the said boy's roommate who might not be so thrilled at being awoken at this hour. Kurt was angry enough, he didn't need another aggravation.

"But—"

"Don't listen to the twins, they're only messing with you—ignore them…" Blaine dragged his brother off.

"Good night, Shane…" the Twins chorused, waving.

Dwight rolled his eyes, pulled back his crossbow and vanished into his own window, grumbling about possession and the curse of Valentines' Day. It was officially Fair day, as far as everyone is concerned, and the day certainly started in an inauspicious manner already.

Windsor was still dark as a tomb and their footsteps sounded hollow on the wooden staircase when they ascended. As Blaine pulled a still rapidly talking Shane upstairs and to his room, his heart stopped as the door across his opened. A head of rumpled curly hair peered out, rubbing his eyes. "Blaine…?"

"Hey sorry, Reed, did we wake you…?" Blaine sighed as he pulled Shane along—and found Shane anchored to where he was on the floor and immobile. He turned to his brother and found him and Reed staring at each other.

Reed blinked away the sleep in his eyes, wondering if he was actually awake for a moment—because this really couldn't be happening right now. "…Shane…?"

"Reed…" Shane stared. He turned crimson. "I…um…" he let out his breath, having a small spaz attack with his hands for a minute in a failed attempt to look composed. "Hi."

"Hi," Reed answered softly, looking down.

"I'm…" Shane swallowed, wringing his hands. "I'm here for the fair." He ended with an awkward laugh, but the searching look he gave Reed said everything he couldn't.

Reed glanced briefly up at him and seemed unable to hold the gaze. "Oh… That's… really great."

With this new tension in the hall, Blaine was leaning his forehead onto his door, resisting the urge to bang his head on it. He just wasn't equipped to handle this at this hour of the morning. This was just too much running on low sleep, very little dinner and no breakfast.

"Reed, what is it…?"

And it just got worse. Blaine's head snapped up when he heard that voice. Kurt was standing behind Reed in blue silk pajamas and he didn't seem to see Blaine until the older brother walked forward next to Shane. "Oh," Kurt murmured when he saw both Andersons standing there. Blaine stared a little, concerned, when he saw the red around Kurt's eyes.

Shane looked a little confused now, at the tension between Kurt and his brother that seemed to have no explanation, but he caught Reed's eyes and the shorter boy shook his head slightly as though to say, "no." While a little slow sometimes, Shane wasn't completely dense, so he just nodded…

…and said, "Are we all going to fix this mess?"

Blaine stared at him, aghast, wondering if Shane had actually lost his mind. Shane kept talking. "I mean seriously! Look at this! This is nuts! Blaine! Seriously, you're fighting now? Now? Honestly. I mean, I'm an idiot, I missed all those calls by myself but what's going on here?"

Reed dropped his face into his hand and Kurt leaned his forehead onto the side of his door, wondering if he was having a hallucination. "Seriously!" Shane continued indignantly as he Blaine took his elbow, saying, "Let's go…let's go inside…"

"But—"

"In the morning, Shane…"

"I just—"

"In the morning," Kurt echoed, making them all look at him. He looked at Blaine a moment, then lowered his eyes. And Blaine looked intently back, eyes unwavering, and a small smile tugged at Reed's mouth at the sight.

"Yeah," Blaine agreed. And he pulled his brother into the room. Kurt grabbed Reed's shoulder and pulled him back in quickly, the smaller boy grinning at him by now, and Kurt admonishing him with his eyes.


I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.

It's Valentine's Day, and from the beginning, I've never liked this holiday.

Situation considered, I don't see how this one would be any different and I'm not holding my breath.

unfortunately, ignoring it doesn't make it go away.


The Fair was deafening when it finally came to full swing. Dalton's gates were open and people streamed into campus. The normally serious and formal atmosphere of the school was completely diffused by the sheer amount of décor that the boys had managed to unleash on the grounds. In their defense, they claimed that it was all the better to attract all the girls from the other schools that had been invited to come. Living in an all-male environment, the occasions when the school open to admit girls in were always made the most of.

Aside from the local people coming in to participate and the girls from Dalton's sister school Dobry Hall, coming in, there was representation from schools all over the region and, as it would appear, from outside of it as well.

A gang of teens carrying one of the maps handed out in the entrance now arrived, holding the map up. Mercedes, dressed in glimmering Valentines finery courtesy of some of the pieces Reed had given her, lowered the map with a frown, revealing the attendance of Finn, Rachel, Mike, Tina, Artie, Brittany and Santana.

"All right. Where is he," Mercedes growled.

"Easy," Tina said warningly as she looked around. She was dressed in a celebratory mass of deep wine lace, hair curled and pulled back, and looked very pretty for the day. Mike couldn't take his eyes off her. "I'm sure he's around here somewhere."

"Which he?" Rachel asked, looking around. "Kurt? Or Blaine?"

"Either one, I want to knock both their heads in." Mercedes glowered.

"Mercedes, please, they can do that by themselves," Santana rolled her eyes, standing with her hand to her hip and wearing in a tight dress in such a way that no boy within a thirty-yard radius could concentrate. It didn't help that her equally gorgeous best friend, towering over Artie, was dressed in shorts and suspenders, stood so near her. The effect was devastating. "If you ask me," Santana sighed, "this is just what happens when you don't jump to the next base! They've been together forever—"

"Weeks?" Finn stared.

"—and they just probably need to work it all out horizontally," Santana gave them a witheringly sweet smile.

"Seriously, though…" said Tina, looking around. "This doesn't count as spying, right? You said those Warblers are performing."

"Well if we see them perform, that's just happenstance," Rachel said matter-of-factly. "It's an open performance. Everyone gets to see, and so will we."

Finn just sighed and rolled his eyes. "Let's go. Come on." And he led them off towards a direction down the grounds, Brittany saying, "I'd like a candy apple…do they have that here in the circus…?" as they left.

Artie was just about to tell her that he'd find her one when he saw a few people acting very strangely among the crowd. If New Directions were worried they would look like spies, these people, by comparison, might be James Bond fans for all of their sneaking around behind the booths.


Pure Energy did not spy. They most emphatically do not spy, nor do they need to spy, and if they ever remotely had to for any reason, they didn't send their best performers out to do it. That was mainly what Shay—the beautiful black girl with the endless braids—and Mia—their blonde acrobat—were complaining about as the three girls hopped from booth to booth. Brie, the brunette and the second captain, ignored the two of them and looked around at the crowd, eyes narrowed.

Why did Tom send them over? She was fine with going—all these good-looking rich boys, just to go "sightseeing" was enough without having to do any actual spying—and of course if she was going, the other girls would want to come. Devon and Leo went too—Devon because Shay makes her boyfriend go everywhere, and Leo because he had nothing better to do—but Tom himself stayed in New York with most of the team.

If seeing these Warblers perform was so important, why didn't Tom come along? And why the Warblers? Vocal Adrenaline was the team to beat this year. Even New Directions must be more worth spying on than these cushy spoiled rich boys who probably had fall mats beneath their risers when all they ever do was sway.

What was the big deal, to echo Mia's sentiments? Was there some secret weapon here Tom was particularly worried about?

"No, Devon!" Shay was nearly yelling into her phone. They had been trying to find the boys for an hour now. "You, and Leo, get your breakdancing asses here near…near…" She looked at Brie. "…where the hell are we?"

"Uh," Brie narrowed her eyes at a nearby plaque, "Hanover House."

"Hanover House!" Shay yelled into her phone. "Now, Dev, I mean it!" And she jabbed her thumb at her phone with a vicious glare. "Men."

"Well there's a whole lot of them around here," grinned Mia, watching some boys leave Hanover House, especially one tall European-type. She gave him a nod, a wink and grinned. The boy made a double take at her and just smiled briefly, but immediately kept moving, looking a little concerned.


"Justin. Dude. That hot girl just winked at you." Spencer Willis stared at his prefect with wide, incredulous eyes as he followed him towards the South and Main. "What is the matter with you?"

"Not my type," Justin said absently as he pulled out his walkie talkie, looking for a specific channel. "Too much glitter on her makeup. And too much skin exposed to be humanly safe for this outdoor temperature."

Danny Abbot, one of the few Hanover Warblers, rolled his eyes as he flipped through his Sidekick. "Justin, no one is your type. If anyone had been your type, you'd be engaged by now. Do you even try?"

"I do try! I just don't like them after the first date…" Justin grumbled. "Leave me alone…"

"Whatever, man," Spencer rolled his eyes. "Your folks are still going to kill you."

"It's their fault for sending me to a demmed all-boys school when they want me to get engaged before I even hit college," Justin retorted, looking annoyed. "I still have the rest of the school year to go. I'll find a girl I would even remotely consider marrying on my own, I don't need mum and dad to intervene."

"Dude, there's got to be like two dozen girls prepared to marry you in that list your parents had back in England," Spencer narrowed his eyes at him.

"They're not marrying me, they're marrying my family," Justin snapped. "This is going to sound disgustingly storybookish—believe me I know—but I stand by the idea that I want to marry someone I actually want to marry and would like to marry me back. Is that so unbelievable?"

Spencer and Danny looked at each other with sidelong glances that explained that while they understood the sentiment, they were not sure of its true practicality—the time constraint involved was heinous, and they had heard too many good things about European girls. Presently, the walkie talkie crackled. "Hey, Hanover!"

Justin raised it to talk. "Windsor, save me—my fellow Hanovers are trying to force me into marriage again."

A pause. And then Charlie carefully asked, "…have Spence and Danny begun channeled your parents' spirits?"

"You have got to stop hanging around Houston, mate."

"If I could, dude, I would. But I'm stuck with him and the rest of that house until graduation."

"Windsor House still standing?" Justin smirked as he walked through the fair, the other boys following him. "Or did you decide to blow it up yet again this morning?"

"Dude, shut up. I did what I had to do."

"Mm. You keeping an eye on Blaine and Kurt?"

"I left Blaine to medical duty with the rest of the crowd and Kurt to runner duty for the stage people. They should be fine. Blaine's crazy brother came by, so Blaine's got that ball and chain with him. How about your prisoner of war?"

"I left Logan at the information booth under guard." Justin grinned. "I picked the most mundane, harmless job I could give him for the fair. Surely he couldn't mess things up from that end."

"Sounds quiet." Charlie must've been grinning at the plight of their fellow prefect. "I suppose he was grateful."


"I freaking hate Justin Bancroft."

Derek burst into laughter from the candy-striped information tent. He was leaning at one of the posts of the frivolous tent with the big obnoxious "information" sign hanging outside. Logan sat at the desk, moving around papers of maps, students, events and programs that encompassed the fair. Why they couldn't give him all this stuff digitally was beyond his comprehension especially after Dalton boasts one of the most devastating tech minds in Ohio—who incidentally had been hauled by Charlie out of his hole and was currently wandering the Fair with his head still ducked down onto his netbook.

"Hey on the upside—you're not running around like Kurt and Blaine are," Derek said casually with a shrug as Logan stripped off his uniform jacket. "You get to stay still."

"I'm a freaking secretary." Logan buried his face in his hands, repressing a breath of frustration. "I've been reduced to a freaking secretary." Without looking up, he picked up a folder and swatted Julian's side with it—the actor had been sitting on the table dressed in dark clothing and wearing sunglasses. "Get off the desk."

Julian made a face at him, rolling his eyes from behind the glasses and got off the desk, going around the table to enter the tent. "Well you're incredibly bitchy today."

"I thought you'd be in a better mood at least now that Pavarotti is back," Derek commented.

Logan eyed him from the side. Yes, the prize warbler miraculously reappeared within Stuart House that morning. Bailey had been the one to find him first, and was trying to pry out the compromising Hermes scarf still in the cage when Logan had come into the anteroom. Bailey looked like deer caught in headlights, but Logan simply picked the scarf out and handed it to him. He couldn't give it back to Kurt himself, so he let Bailey do it.

"Whatever…I'm sure the Windsors must've just gotten tired of looking after him."

"Wouldn't it be ironic if Blaine ended up getting awarded with him for the next year?" Julian smirked. "Since he seems to be doing a far better job at things than you."

Logan finally put down his pen and glowered at the two Stuarts in dark glasses in the tent. "What are you both even doing in here?"

"Keeping you company?" Julian suggested sarcastically. "You know we die without being within fifteen feet of your majestic presence at all times."

Derek made a snort of derisive laughter and Logan just glared at him, eyeing the dark glasses Derek also had propped on his hat. "Tell me you both aren't hiding out in here," Logan demanded.

"Derek accidentally sent a mass message to all of his girlfriends," Julian said with a snort. "And now they're all here. At the fair. Looking for him."

"Congratulations," Logan said to Derek with a raised eyebrow. "What shall I have them put down on your headstone? 'Here Lies Derek, Killed by Greed and Libido'?"

"Julian's hiding here too," Derek pointed out.

"Unlike you, I'm hiding from paparazzi and fangirls," Julian grumbled, pushing up his glasses. "Dalton is open to the public, some of my fans already know I study here—you do the math."

"Why didn't you just tell them you weren't attending?" Logan asked.

"I told my publicist to tell them I flew to Miami for a photoshoot, but that didn't get out soon enough. I've already spotted cameras around here and some of my crazier fans."

"Man up and face them," Logan snapped. "Stop being so dramatic." He graced him with a glance. "You'll be all right while you're in school grounds. I don't care what you do, if you're not going to be useful, get out of here and go somewhere else."

Derek expected Julian to make a scathing retort about how Logan was just as, if not more, dramatic than he was, but Julian just glared at the prefect wordlessly. The actor felt Derek staring at him, and looked up, bestowing him a withering glare that told him to shut up without having to say it out loud.

"All right, then." Julian got up abruptly, grabbing his body bag and pushing up his dark glasses, all with a smile that was supposed to be a condescending grimace, but was, in fact the bitterest thing Derek had ever seen. And without another word, the actor strode out of the tent and into the crowd.

Logan and Derek stared after him in surprise. Logan frowned. "What the hell is the matter with him?"

"You told him to leave, he left," Derek said coolly. But he knew what Logan meant. They didn't think he would actually leave. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Logan really didn't seem to care.

Logan glared at the direction the actor went. "He's the biggest priss I've ever seen and that's saying something considering who I know," he mumbled and started to organize his papers again. Derek wanted to chuck a plastic chair at him. There was no way anyone could be that dense when Julian had actually made it so obvious by pulling down his guards enough for the dramatic walkout.

Or maybe he really just was blinded by Kurt at the moment.

I give up. Derek decided irritably. I freaking give up. You'd think we would have less drama of this in an all-boys school. But no…I had to get stuck with the most tempestuous prat in Stuart and Dalton, as well as a gargantuan primadonna with confession issues. Screw it, I'm moving to Hummel's old school, maybe it'll be peaceful there by comparison.

Of course he would be wrong. But he didn't really know that.

"Hey," he suddenly said, nudging Logan. "Look at those guys. Haven't we seen them before?"

Logan looked up to where Derek nodded to, and sure enough, there was a pack of people looking around, as though looking for someone. Logan's eyes landed on the jacket on the tallest boy and frowned. "Great. McKinley."

Just as he said this, after a brief squabble in the group ended with the smallest girl striding up to the information booth looking as though she were restraining herself from exploding at everyone standing there. "Hello," she said with a big show smile. "Do you know where we can find Kurt Hummel?"

Logan raised his eyes to her and smiled a little. "Rachel Berry, right?"

Rachel blinked and did a double take at him, and then she held herself up a little higher as she looked at him and finally recognized him from Sectionals and the party they last crashed at Dalton. "Oh. Yes. Logan, isn't it?"

Logan smirked slightly. "I see that my notoriety has reached McKinley."

"Well, considering who you are, your notoriety must have spread far more than that," Rachel said, but not unkindly—simply stating fact. She cleared her throat. "Have you seen Kurt?"

Logan considered her and then the people a way off behind her and then looked at Rachel again. "You can try near the stage. But he's on runner duty, he could be…anywhere in the fair."

"Runner duty?" Rachel frowned. "Well, aren't you supposed to be preparing for a performance?"

Derek blinked. So they didn't know yet. Logan sighed and leaned back on his chair, looking almost too tall for his seat. "The Warblers still are. They just don't include me, Kurt, or Blaine."

"Why not?" Rachel asked as her frown deepened.

"Is there something wrong here?" Finn asked, finally walking up to the tent. Rachel glanced at him, but Logan got up. "Finn, right?" he asked. Rachel saw that when Logan stood, he was at equals with Finn—that didn't happen often.

"Oh, you're…" Finn frowned a little, a little cautious. "You're Logan. You're that guy that, uh…came over before?"

"I am." Logan nodded. "We haven't actually met properly." There was a tense pause between them all, until Logan nodded to the direction of the stage. "I told her you could probably find Kurt there. Running around."

"All right, then." Finn smiled a little. Derek snorted and shook his head from inside the tent as the McKinley students went back to their group and then departed for the direction of the stage. Kurt's friends seemed to have virtually no idea of what happened just yesterday. If they knew, things would be a great deal more complicated.

"You realize, when they find out, Kurt's stepbrother will hunt you down, right?" Derek said. "Or that girl with them who looks like she already wants to hunt someone down."

"Her name is Mercedes, and I don't doubt that for a second…" Logan answered calmly. He considered Finn. "I could probably take him, though."

"You're not supposed to be taking him anywhere?" Derek raised an eyebrow. "You're this close to being expelled."

"True…" Logan sat on the table silently. After a moment at staring at the floor, seeming lost in deep consideration of things that he'd always imagined he should've thought about but never really did so seriously, he looked at Derek. "…I screwed up, didn't I? Bigger and worse this time?"

"With what?"

"Kurt…Blaine…school…life?"

"Welcome to high school." Derek got up and sighed. "On the upside, admitting you have a problem is your first step." He moved to the exit of the tent—

"…I'm…I think I'm going to stop chasing after Kurt."

Derek stopped at the statement he wasn't expecting to hear until senior year at least. He turned slowly. "Pardon?"

Logan was looking at him intently, gauging his reaction. "I mean…seriously try. Before, I…I wasn't really trying. I just felt like…if I really liked him, I couldn't back out that easily. I think…I should try now. For real. …if I really cared."

Slowly, Derek turned to his friend. "You're serious."

"Yes."

"Good…" Derek nodded.

"Yeah."

A pause. "Not that I'm not completely relieved, but…what brought this epiphany on?"

Logan shook his head, looking down. "I'm…tired. Not—not in the way you think. I'm tired of…him looking at me like he's so defensive. That's one thing that's never changed. He's so…guarded when he looks at me, like…he was scared." He smiled briefly at Derek. "The best moments I've ever had with him were each time he smiled at me…when he looked at me and smiled without any guards up. Only ever happened…maybe twice."

Logan sighed deeply—tired far more than he really should be. "…I just wanted him to look at me."

"It doesn't mean that he doesn't care about you, Logan."

"The point is—if I keep…if I keep doing this, I will lose him. I have lost him. I think…I have to pull back. I have to let him go."

Another pause. Derek looked up at him, a little uncomfortable. "Are you…going to be all right?"

Logan rose from the table and sat back down on the chair. "…I have to try." His knuckles were white as they clutched at his pen. He shook a little. "…I have to try."

Derek considered him and finally realized what Julian meant. Logan was so far into Kurt right now that there was virtually no way that Julian would even appear as a blip on the radar. And looking at it from his end, yes, he could see how much that would really sting. It must've really been something else for Julian—to have withstood it these past years. Maybe the running helped. Or maybe he just couldn't stay away. Just like Logan couldn't just leave Kurt alone.

Derek just exited the tent, muttering, "You are so dense."

"What was that?"

"Nothing! I'm going to brave the warzone and hope karma doesn't hit me!"

"Hey!"

Derek stopped and glanced back to see Logan lifting the tent flap and looking at him with a frown, irritated. "Make sure Julian doesn't do anything monumentally stupid while he's running around. I don't want to be have to fend off fangirls or paparazzi when they go overboard."

The urge to say it all to his face was overwhelming. Derek almost felt furious. But he wasn't about to tell Logan anything that Julian wasn't prepared to say himself. This was Julian's problem, not his. So he only gave him a shrug. "Fine." And strode off before he did anything else.

Logan wondered, as he walked back into the tent, if his friends were disappointed that he gave up, or if they were just glad he was trying to help himself for once.


"So if you're so dying to go with Shane for the fair, why are you hiding under my coat?" Kurt asked in exasperation at the shorter boy clutching onto the back of his coat and looking at the crowd apprehensively. It was difficult to pull Reed along and juggle the stack of equipment that he was supposed to be carrying to the direction of the stage.

It was looking to be a long day of errand duty—especially after the boys from the AV Committee woke him way too early via cell to help them setup the stage. Of course they were Stuarts—if they were Windsors, they wouldn't have woken him just after dawn.

Reed had woken with him and had been attached to him like a duckling following its mother. Kurt frowned down at him. "I'm sure Shane is up by now, aren't you supposed to be with him for the fair? You've been whining about it for days."

"It got awkward," Reed mumbled, ashamed of himself and dreadfully so. "…you know after he didn't call, and I got upset and…he just suddenly shows up and…and I got huffy and…I thought I'd show him what it was like having calls ignored and—"

"You're mad he let you down," Kurt clarified as he set down the equipment by the audio station.

Reed groaned helplessly. "What am I doing, Kurt? What have I become?"

"Oh settle down…" Kurt sat him at one of the chairs as he then struggled to untangle to wires in his hands. "People get huffy, they do things they're not proud of, they say things they don't mean—"

"Way to project on me, Kurt—"

Kurt just glowered at him. All right, maybe it was true. He said "this morning" to Blaine but he had yet to even have a chance to sit down and stop and have a chance to fix what they had between them, even if he did know what he was going to say or do, and he didn't. But the both of them were currently running on duties up and down the fair and if he hasn't actually seen Blaine all morning then it wasn't for lack of trying.

Reed sighed. "…you think I should answer his calls?"

"How many times has he called?"

Reed held up his cell phone. There were at least twenty-four missed calls from "Shane Anderson" as the screen said, and at least thirty-eight messages. Kurt sighed. "Has Blaine called you?" Reed asked as he pocketed his phone.

Kurt shrugged as he finished coiling the wire. "I haven't had a chance to check. Besides…it's a big fair and he must be busy too anyway. Once we finish this insane day, we can talk." Kurt threw a microphone into its case and snapped it shut, irritated. "I can't believe that I'm not singing for this Fair. Look at this crowd."

"It's totally packed," Reed admitted, looking pale. He paused, staring at the crowds milling about and looked at Kurt. "Do you think if I beg Harvey, he'll swap you with me? I mean you're willing to do it and I—"

"Oh no you don't," Kurt glared at him. "One, Harvey won't cave. You saw his face. And believe me, if I thought I could convince him, I'd be talking to him right now and not leaving until I could get onstage. And two, you are not going to back out from your first solo."

"It doesn't matter if I get a first solo or not," Reed whined, flopping over the chair like a rag doll. "No one's going to care, and I care about the spotlight far far less than you do—"

"Reed! You are not throwing away this opportunity, you are not—or I'm going to disown you," Kurt glowered at him, hands to his hips. "You call yourself a Warbler? Get up. Come on." He grabbed Reed's hand and tried to pull him off the chair, but Reed went completely limp—and flopped down onto the ground like a soggy coat and didn't get up. "Reed! Come on, you're acting like a child."

Reed reluctantly got to his feet and brushed himself off as Kurt gave him a deeply disapproving look. The curly-top looked guiltily at his friend. "I'm sorry, I know I shouldn't be like this around you especially since you wanted to be singing for the fair… But…I really don't feel confident right now."

Kurt pursed his lips. "Well you've got to stop psyching yourself out." He took Reed's gloved hand. "Come on. Let's go."

"Go where?"

"We're going to get you comfortable singing in front of this crowd."

"What?" Reed looked like Kurt had just suggested that he abstain from Paris Fashion Week. Kurt ignored the sudden lack of color in Reed's face and pulled him along the fair grounds. After a morning of running around with the equipment committee and helping set everything up, Kurt probably knew where everything was at this fair already.

A trio of Warblers had worked together to set up a kind of closed recording booth, with a very good mic setup—so couples could sing love songs to one another and bring home a CD of the song. It was actually very clever and was already rather popular. By the time they got there, there was a crowd of girls waiting their turn, hoping to record their own songs, and boys hoping to serenade girlfriends, as the booth gave you the option to kill all sound outside, or to allow the boys manning it to turn on the speakers outside so people could hear you.

The latter one was surprisingly popular.

When Reed saw where Kurt was taking him, he immediately stopped like a dead weight that nearly jerked Kurt back. Kurt rolled his eyes. "Come on. You're going to do this. You really want to be this anxious when you perform later? You performed during Winter Fest for crying out loud."

"Yeah, but you were singing with me and that made things a little easier!"

Kurt glowered at him. "Are you sure you want to be this anxious? Shane will be watching you perform no matter how awkward you get around him."

When Reed's face turned crimson, it had the desired effect. Kurt smiled and went past the line to Bailey, who was, predictably, one of the boys who came up with the music booth.

"Hey Kurt!" he said cheerfully, pulling his headset down—once again, you could hear the music beating loudly out of them. "Looks like our booth's a hit. It'll make a pretty big piece of contribution."

"You all don't come from the same House though," Kurt remarked.

"Yeah, well, we decided to split the profits three ways, so each House gets a share," Bailey grinned at him and Reed, who smiled brightly up at him.

"Not bad," Kurt grinned, hand to his hip. "We need a small favor."

"You want to try it out, huh?" Bailey grinned in answer.

The music began to play over Bailey's headset and into the outside speakers the moment he hit play over at the controls. Reed giggled from inside the booth as Kurt slipped the headphones over his head. This did seem rather fun. "I'm only singing if you are too, though," Reed reminded him.

"Doesn't that defeat the entire purpose of this exercise?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.

"Kurt, you are not leaving me in this booth—I swear, I will run out. I will."

"All right! All right…" Kurt rolled his eyes pulled on his own headphones, the two of them standing close to the studio microphone. This was probably the only time he'd sing for a crowd today anyway. "Just sing. You know this song." Outside, the people in line watched curiously at the two good-looking boys at the microphone.

Bailey waved to them and gave them the signal as he flipped the mic switch, signaling that they were ready. Kurt, who stood in front of the glass window, now moved out of the way so as to not block Reed's view of the crowd. As "Fools Like Me" started to play, Reed still looked a little awkward and gave Kurt a meaningful look, begging him to go first. Kurt sighed, smiled a little and leaned forward.

Everybody go…

The party's over

I want to be alone in my head, in my bed tonight

You never show…

The girls outside burst into exclamations of delight. There were giggles as they tried to peer in, wondering who the elegant-looking boy singing to the microphone was and who his charming, curly-haired friend was. The Dalton boys in the nearby booths looked up at the familiar sound of Kurt's voice and started to grin.

Kurt nodded in encouragement to Reed as he sang, "I'm right back where I started…" and Reed joined in, "When it comes to wanting you…"

"I can't have what I wanted..." Kurt continued, nodding to Reed with a smile, and the both of them sang:

But I did, I can; I was, I am only human; living, dying

Just like any fool who ever breathed…

If love is blind, if love's a drug;

It always is, it always was and love was surely made for fools like me…

Kurt smiled, sensing the crowd gathering outside the booth, looking curiously in and wondering who was singing. He smirked. At the very least, this would help Reed get over his nerves and Kurt could still get his audience. He now shot Reed a look, and his friend, clearly feeling better now, leaned forward to the mic and sang,

I know where I'm going

I'm tripping, I'm sliding around, that's ok

At least I'm excited…

The two of the joined together again in song, both leaning close to the single microphone:

It wasn't how I planned it (wasn't how I planned it; Feet are where I landed; At least I understand it now)

My feet are where I landed… (feet are staying on the ground)

But I did, I can; I was, I am only human; living, dying

Just like any fool who ever breathed…

The crowd outside began to grin in approval of the two inside the recording booth, and Bailey was grinning so hard that he could barely stop himself from turning up the volume just a little bit more.

And from among the row of booths not too far from where the music came from, Shane was standing, listening transfixed, hand clutching onto his brother's jacket. "Blaine. Blaine!"

"I'm not deaf, Shane, I can hear it…" Blaine answered, a small smile on his lips as he lifted his head from fixing the first aid kit. He glanced to his brother, whose expression suggested that he may have been listening to angels and not merely a pair of high school choir members.

Fools like me; Fools like me…

"You want to go closer?" Blaine suggested patiently after it seemed that Shane is immobile and could not be pulled away from the sound.

"Yesplease." was the automatic response, and it was Shane who pulled them towards the music.

But it was easier said than done, when they reached the periphery of the music booth, there was already quite a crowd that gathered, listening to two of Dalton Academy's famous choir's members. Both students and guests were surrounding the booth, and Blaine could've sworn that he saw a McKinley jacket flit through the bodies in the crowd.

Shane jumped up and down to see, and past the sea of heads, he saw the two inside the booth, moving to the music and singing with smiles.

Maybe it's the sanest thing or just the sweetest kind of dream

But love was surely made for fools…

Love was surely made for fools…

Love was surely made for fools like me…

The music stopped and a cheer rose from outside the booth, led by the Dalton students. Bailey grinned at them from the window, giving them a thumbs up, and Kurt and Reed laughed as they slipped off their headphones and hung them up before heading out of the booth. They were greeted by applause and appreciative looks from the crowd that had formed.

"Oh, I can definitely understand how Rachel lives on applause, you know, on times like these…" Kurt breathed with a satisfied smile as he looked around the crowd.

Reed, while grateful for the reaction gleaned from the crowd, eyed him sideways. "Then forget Tinkerbell, you two must be the undying rulers of Fairyland."

"I heard that."

The two of them looked up to see the two incumbent divas of New Directions to their left. Rachel glowered at them, hands to her hips, but it was Mercedes who looked downright mad. Kurt stared at them with wide eyes. "You're here already?"

"We're all going to talk." Mercedes grabbed both Kurt's hands, but she gave Reed a notably brighter, friendlier smile. "Reed, hon, do you think you could find the boys for us? We lost them in the fair and we were kind of planning on yelling at Kurt and Blaine at the same time?"

"What?" Kurt hissed.

"Okay," Reed smiled a little nervously at Kurt's dagger glare but sped off to a different direction. Before Kurt could even protest, Mercedes' expression turned dark again and she pulled them off into the throng of the fair.

And from the crowd, Brie glanced to the other members of Pure Energy coming up to her before turning her eyes back to the combination of Warblers and New Directions that just split into two different directions.

"Not bad at all," Leo muttered, eating a candy apple, watching them go.

"Man, shut up," Devon grumbled, frowning. "Is that what Tom had us fly from New York for? Sheesh."

"Don't even front, you know they were good," Shay snapped at her boyfriend, expression also looking dark.

"That was only two of them, Brie," Mia added, for the first time not looking so complacent. "What do the rest of them sound like live?"

"We'll see," Brie finally said, authoritatively as their co-captain. She smirked a little. "Besides…singing in a music booth is one thing. I'll bet you those boys will crack under pressure of a real show." She had to admit, her feathers were a little ruffled at the surprising display, especially from that taller one in the booth, but the smaller one didn't look like performance material. "What do you say we show them how it's done…?" she murmured.

"Wait." Leo frowned, walking up to her, eyes darkening. "You want us to—here?"

"Now?" Mia echoed, looking a little worried. "We're in their turf, Brie, is this such a good idea?"

"Hey, this isn't a competition," Brie smirked. "We're just…having fun." She walked off. This, and those Warblers, is so not competition at all.


Shane pushed through the dissipating crowd and suddenly found himself having lost sight of his goal. Kurt and Reed were nowhere to be found—he was sure that they were standing just outside the booth a moment ago, and now they were gone as though they'd evaporated into thin air.

Quickly, he pulled out his phone and dialed Reed's number, seeing if he could get a hold of him. "Shane, I told you, don't just run off," Blaine said, appearing next to him with a frown. The way he glanced around the crowd suggested that it may not have been just Shane he was looking for, however. "I'm supposed to be responsible for you, remember? And I've got to go back to the first aid tent."

The call went straight to voicemail. Shane grumbled and hung up, looking very distressed. "He's still not answering."

"If he hasn't answered the first two dozen times you called, what makes you think he'll answer now?" Blaine replied, pulling his brother away.

"Well I know you're upset, but don't take it out on me, Blaine," Shane protested. "That's your habit, you tend to get wrapped up in your big dark cloud of angst. And unlike you, I'm willing to go find Reed and grovel if necessary!"

"Well, he doesn't seem to be partial to listening to you grovel right now," Blaine sighed. "I'm just saying let him cool down."

The crowd was thickening already. And his phone just alerted him of a broadcast from the Fair's first-aid group—that they were suddenly getting some people who were experiencing weird side-effects from some kind of food from the fair. Blaine had the disturbing suspicion that Drew and Satoru had actually made good on their plans and that they've contaminated some of the food with whatever they managed to cook up at the last minute.

If last year was indication, opening the school to the public usually amounted to quite a bit of work on those assigned to the Fair's first-aid tent, but this certainly will double the work. Blaine felt apprehension rising to all new levels—how was he supposed to find Kurt in this mess now?

"But you're supposed to be talking to Kurt too," Shane whined as though Blaine were not already completely aware of this fact. "Can't we just find them both already and fix this?"

"I tried calling and he's not answering either." Blaine sighed as he sent a text blast to everyone in Windsor: Drew laced the food. Find out what! "I figured it was because he was busy, but if he has time to sing with Reed, then I guess he must be avoiding me. Can't say I blame him." He grumbled to himself, "…I really did act like a jerk."

"Your angst cloud is there again."

"I can't help it, Shane."

"That's why you should come with me and let's settle this!" Shane said with wide eyes at his brother. "You can't lose Kurt, Blaine—you've lost too many people already. And I've never seen you this into a person before. Ever."

"Don't you think I know that?" Blaine said finally, turning to him in exasperation.

Shane's face split into a grin, not really one to let his brother's mood get the better of him in times like these. "So? What are we waiting for? Let's go talk to them." He grabbed Blaine's hand and he took several running steps into the fair—and promptly stopped.

Blaine patiently peeled his hand away. "You have no idea where they are, do you?"

"…no."

Blaine's phone was going crazy with the first aid team looking for him. "All right, Shane. I promise we'll look for them, but for now, let's go to the tent? Because I have to find out what Drew put in the food and what food he put it in, if only to make sure no one else eats the stuff. Besides, once I find out what it is, I'll have to let Kurt and Reed know so they can stay away from it too. I can't have Kurt eating that stuff."

"It's likely that it'll be the first thing Reed eats, seeing as how he's so danger-prone, like you said," said Shane, looking worried as Blaine walked on.

Shane sighed deeply. He wondered if Reed was still in a bad mood. He didn't mean to, for heaven's sake. What did a guy have to do around here? Because at this point he was willing to do next to anything! That look on Reed's face that morning! Shane wanted to smack himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid…Alexander Graham Bell should smash the first telephone onto my head…

A strawberry-blond head went past one of the booths. Shane stopped instantly. Was that…?

"Shane?" he heard Blaine ask.

"Just—just give me a second." Shane was walking off quickly through the crowd, eyes to where he saw him go past. That was him, it had to be. He didn't know what he was going to do, but groveling sounded good. Or just—anything, just to get Reed to talk to him!

So scared of breaking it that you won't let it bend

And I wrote two hundred letters I will never send…

Sometimes these cuts are so much deeper then they seem

You'd rather cover up, I'd rather let them be…

Shane ran to the bend but found no one. Where…? He looked frantically around and saw a flicker around another corner. He bolted to it just as Blaine managed to catch up to him.

So let me be and I'll set you free…

Nothing. Again! Shane let out his breath in a groan. He kept slipping through his fingers! And yet as he saw another flicker of a familiar expensive coat go past one of the booths, he get to his feet again and sang desperately,

I am in misery

There ain't nobody who can comfort me, oh yeah…

Why won't you answer me?

The silence is slowly killing me, oh yeah…

And he continued as he began to run forward again, dodging fair-goers and jumping over things in the way,

Oh, you really got me bad

You really got me bad

Now I'm gonna get you back

I'm gonna get you back…

Blaine wanted to grab Shane by the back of the jacket but his brother had already run off again. What in the world was wrong with him? He would've made to further chase after his brother until he thought he heard a familiar voice. He quickly turned—and he could've sworn he saw Mercedes pulling along the boy he was madly in love with.

Pride, will, and responsibilities flew out the window at the sight of Kurt. He ran to him.

Your salty skin and how it mixes in with mine

The way it feels to be completely intertwined…

Not that I didn't care, it's that I didn't know

It's not what I didn't feel, it's what I didn't show…

He pushed through the crowd, moving past the stalls, and then laying his hands to one of the booth walls as he peered around to see Kurt being led off elsewhere.

So let me be and I'll set you free…

He moved forward, determined, from where Kurt was now standing still, looking as though he were having an intent discussion with Rachel and Mercedes. The three divas were all talking with frowns on their faces. Blaine quickly ran towards them.

I am in misery

And there ain't nobody who can comfort me, oh yeah…

Why won't you answer me?

The silence is slowly killing me, oh yeah…

A troop from St. Patrick passed in front of Blaine in an excited crowd, and by the time the entire group had managed to pass by, the three divas were gone. Blaine stood, stricken, and looked around in alarm until he saw Rachel's scarlet jacket heading towards the direction of the booths near Stuart. He immediately followed.

Oh, you really got me bad

You really got me bad

Now I'm gonna get you back

I'm gonna get you back…

Blaine was determined not to lose sight of them and as he ran, Shane was running nearly to the same direction, following after the sight of Reed's hair in the crowd—he was leading what looked to be a tall brunet, wearing a football jacket. He felt a little apprehensive. He's not going to spend time with that guy for the Fair was he? Was he?

You say your faith is shaken, and you may be mistaken

You keep me wide awake and waiting for the sun…

Blaine kept his eyes on Rachel's bright jacket and Kurt's brilliant scarf, made sure they were going in a certain direction, and proceeded to go for a short cut to make sure he ran into them at the next alley. New Directions was here. They're going to be furious. From the look on Mercedes' face, she was furious. But if there was anyone he needed to explain to, it wasn't them—Kurt. He had to get Kurt back, he knew that at he breathlessly sang,

I'm desperate and confused, so far away from you

I'm getting there, I don't care where I have to roam…

Shane panted, his foot starting to throb a little, but he ignored it. Where did Reed disappear off to? Why was he going with those guys, and why wasn't he picking up his phone?

And not far off, Blaine was commiserating. Shane saw his brother as he found himself standing in front of the same booth as Blaine, they both looked to the direction that they had seen the two go to and they both moved to that direction, dodging people as they went.

Why do you do what you do to me, yeah?

Why won't you answer me, answer me yeah?

Why do you do what you do to me yeah?

Why won't you answer me, answer me yeah?

They dodged a maelstrom of paintballoons when they passed by one of the booths the Twins had already set up, being narrowly missed by the projectiles—one grazing Shane's shirt—and they both reached the spot where the whole group was supposed to be passing at that very moment:

I am in misery

And there ain't nobody who can comfort me, oh yeah

Why won't you answer me?

The silence is slowly killing me, oh yeah

Only to be met with no sign of them.

Oh you really got me bad

You really got me bad

And now I'm gonna get you back

I'm gonna get you back…

Shane was panting, a hand on his recently-recovered leg. He felt like Greg House on a bad day. "Where did they go?"

"I have no idea, I was sure they went this way…" Blaine stared around for any sign of Kurt. How could they have just disappeared? "Maybe they went—"

POW!

And both Andersons found themselves dripping in white and red paint, stunned into openmouthed silence. The rivulets of red and white streamed off their faces, hair and clothes, courtesy of obscenely large paint balloons thrown with surgical precision. Behind them, an explosion of hysterical laughter echoed from two identical voices.

"Direct hit!" Evan crowed.

"'Their weapons are powerful, sir, we can't take another hit like that!'" Ethan quoted, grinning from ear to ear.

Blaine gaped at them, virtually unable to react.

"Hey, you pass our booth and not say hello, you're just asking for it," Evan grinned.

"So, hello," Ethan said happily, smirking.

They were still met with stunned silence as the Andersons continued to drip. Evan swept forward and draped his arm around Blaine's shoulders. "Oh come on, grumpy gills. You've been down all morning, we've seen you!"

"Cheer up!" Ethan said happily, an arm around Shane in a similar manner. "It'll all work out, you'll see. There's no point in getting so down when everyone else is so happy you know?"

"We're all having fun here and you should too!"

"Lighten your mood a little bit—trust us, it'll make the talk afterwards a little easier when your mood is better!"

At these words, Shane closed his eyes and carefully wiped the paint from his face with his hands. He looked like a strawberry milkshake at the moment but he looked spectacularly composed for someone usually given to flights of insanity similar to the Twins'. "Blaine…" he said very calmly as he glanced at his brother, righteously indignant. "I'd like your permission to annihilate them."

"Oh, I'll help you," Blaine growled as he lunged for the twins, who whooped in delight and bolted off, throwing more paint balloons at the two Andersons.


Julian hissed in irritation as a pair of tall blond twins raced past him, their paint balloons narrowly missing him as they pitched them at a pair of highly colorful Andersons, flinging paint in all directions as they ran.

The actor glowered at the sight of Blaine, red, white and pink paint matted onto his curls and paint still dripping off his face, and wondered what in the name of all that is good in Hollywood Boulevard that Logan ever saw in that short tenor. Sure he was very easy on the eyes and he could carry a tune, but besides that…

Hypocrite. That's what caught your eye with Logan in the first place.

His own mental voice was turning against him. Wonderful.

It did not take very long for the women in the Fair to catch on to the fact that Julian Larson was wandering the vicinity, with no bodyguards and virtually unprotected save for fellow Stuarts who probably had no idea of the actual results of what happens when he materializes in a public area.

The first two girls who realized who he was nearly broke their necks with their double takes as their respective dates were forgotten. Julian had momentarily pulled off his dark glasses to rub his eyes—there wasn't much sleep for him last night after he tried to go over and over about leaving Dalton. In the end, the result was the expected, "Screw it—I'm tired. I'm out."

His schedule, his work, his life may be downright punishing in the glare of every halogen lamp in Los Angeles, but it was better than scorching under Logan's contempt. Why the hell were they even friends anyway?

That was what he was thinking when he approached one of the food booths and tried to find something to eat. A girl nearby had eyed him and whispered to her friends. After some prodding, she approached, maintained prudent distance, and politely asked if he was Julian Larson.

What was the point of saying no? She knew the answer, the question was only out of formality. So he said he was. Though the group politely asked him to sign their sleeves and take a couple of shots with the cell phone cameras (the boys running the food booth snickering the whole time), it was only a matter of time before things went downhill.

Julian's food went untouched as they swarmed closer, the small pack gradually thickening. A person would have been unable to perceive that he was actually in turmoil inside due to the day's bad start and the fact that he was ravenous. When Julian was "on", he was really at it. Too well-drilled in Hollywood to do otherwise.

That was when the official Julian Larson fanclub members haunting the fair realized what was going on.

He literally had seconds to escape. The fair marshals already realized what was going on but they could only do so much as they tried to intervene, and Julian needed to get out while he could.

That was when he met Adam.

The hand that grabbed Julian's wrist was incredibly strong, belonging to someone who was just his height and size. The Dalton boy who grabbed him through the crowd was tugging him along so fast that Julian thought he'd fall over.

"Come on!" came the hiss of the boy wearing the Dalton uniform under his thick black coat.

While the marshals tried to calm everyone down—nobody was very happy, of course and some of the girls did pursue the actor—the tall, dark-haired boy who snatched Julian along bounded through the crowds, taking off his ski hat and pulling it over Julian's in an attempt to camouflage his far too well-tended locks.

"Who the hell are you?" Julian demanded as they two ducked panting into an alley by the South and Main, incidentally the same place where Karofsky had taken Kurt some time ago. They now tried to catch their breaths, panting, and Julian tried to observe his unlikely rescuer. He looked his age, taller and a little broader around the shoulders. The boy was grinning, but nevertheless looked embarrassed. "Adam Clavell," he responded, voice sounding low.

Julian looked him over. "Why are you in uniform?"

"I'm a new transfer; I didn't know we didn't have to wear uniforms for today. Then I just couldn't be bothered to change out of it." His badge was visible on his lapel. A Hanover boy.

"Yeah well…" Julian tried to catch his breath. "Thanks for the save, I guess."

"Movie stars lead rough lives…" Adam sighed, taking out a cigarette and placing it between his lips. His hands were pale and shaky, bare in the cold air as he lifted his lighter. Julian eyed him, and he seemed to notice. "Oh. Sorry. You don't like it when people smoke around you." He crushed the cigarette underfoot.

"How would you know that?" Julian raised an eyebrow.

Now Adam looked more embarrassed, lowering his gray eyes. "Sorry. I… I guess I'm also a fan of yours."

Julian snorted as he leaned on the brick. "Out of the frying pan and into the fire…" He looked at him with amusement. "You pulled me out here for a private interview?"

"Not really…" Adam answered with a shrug. "Besides, I already have your autograph. You don't remember but you gave me one way back in Something Damaged's second season. It was the first time they announced you were going to be recurring."

Julian's lip curled into a smirk. "You are my fanboy."

Adam looked chagrined. "I know, I'm creepy."

The actor now wondered which way this kid swung, since most guys were more interested in the show's cast of pretty girls. But did it really matter? "Anyway…" Julian got up and looked around. "The sea of raging hormones is gone." He pulled off the silly hat from his head and tossed it to Adam. "Thanks for the save. I'm going."

"Hey wait." Adam came up to him and pulled out a couple of sandwiches from his pockets and handed them to him. "You hadn't eaten. I saw those girls get the better of you. Here."

Roast turkey. Julian's favorite. Of course the fanboy knew what he liked. In spite of himself, he felt amused with this one. He nodded to him, handing him the other sandwich. "Let's go get something to drink with this."

Adam's face lit up. "Oh. Okay."

Julian emerged from the alley, trailed by Adam, who looked more awkward now that he wasn't galloping like a horse over the grounds, and as they walked, Julian sighted Kurt, Reed, and a fleet of strange kids he didn't recognize. Kurt was the only one sitting. Everyone else surrounded him.

"Hey, you mind if we make a stop at the information tent?" Julian muttered.

"Why?"

"A friend might like to know his 'diva' is getting cornered."


"And that's what happened?" Mercedes finally said, glowering down at Kurt after the long and tense story was finally finished.

"Just about," Kurt sighed deeply, arms crossed over his chest.

"…Okay then—now I just don't know which one of you I want to season and then grill first."

They had begun talking since they started walking, but they couldn't get to a spot in the Fair was quiet enough for them to actually talk about it all. Every time they would move to a new spot, something else would be happening there—one pitfall after another in the school-turned-labyrinth—until they sought shelter near an area in South and Main that wasn't as frequented.

Reed had arrived with a few more members of the McKinley Glee club (because honestly, how could he fail to spot Finn's head bobbing over the shoulders of the rest of the crowd?). In attendance at the gathering were Rachel, Mercedes, Santana and Finn, but the others remained missing-in-action in the fair. He also couldn't locate Blaine—who was probably among the frenzied first-aid group who were apparently fielding a stream of kids who ate something in the fair that had them running to the bathroom every fifteen minutes.

The whole group finally sought shelter by some unfrequented benches by the South and Main, and finally the events were fully recounted, including what happened in the hall, the cafeteria, and the punishment.

"So you're not performing either?" Rachel asked, sounding almost more sympathetic about the loss of limelight than the actual boyfriend fight. Kurt eyed her incredulously but said, "No, I'm not. Not one of us will."

"I think I should have a talk again with that Logan guy," Finn said, frown etched deep into his brow.

"No!" Kurt immediately said, staring hard at him. "Leave it alone. It's done."

"It's not done until I say it is," Mercedes snapped. "Now I'm not bothered about tall, blonde and Abercrombie over there in the tent—I am bothered about how stupid that fight between you and your man is."

Kurt winced slightly. The term "his man" had been applied to Blaine by his friend for the first time and it felt like an accusation. He glowered up at her and retorted, "I would've at least thought you all would be on my side here. I think I made a pretty fair point—that he's set up a double standard and that I've done nothing worthy of being accused of adultery. Because compared to some of the antics you all have done…" He raised an eyebrow. At the merciless assault of the truth, several faces from his friends colored deep crimson, in varying degrees of discomfort and inward rage.

It was Finn who sighed and sat down next to him and said, "Look, we're not saying what he did was right either." He shrugged a little. "I mean, that was a pretty jerk thing to do and he shouldn't have gone off on you like that."

"We're just saying that it won't be solved if either if you both don't just confront each other and tell him what you're telling us now," Mercedes said.

"Excuse me, hasn't he already done that?" Santana raised an eyebrow. "And this was the end result. What, you want them to have this little scream-fest in the middle of the Fair?"

"Then fine, it's time for you prizefighters to have a round two," Mercedes raised an eyebrow. "And this time, you're both are going to have to listen to the other side and try to see it from the other person's end."

"I've been trying to see it from his end for the past days," Kurt grumbled, arms crossed over his chest.

"Then it should be easy." Mercedes glared.

"You did say you did want to talk," Reed added softly, looking at his friend. "And I'm pretty sure that Blaine wouldn't be the one to ignore you. I think he wants to see you too." He sat next to Kurt on the other side. "The day after you guys fought, I saw him standing outside his room like he was waiting for you. He looked…a little crushed when I told him you'd gone ahead."

Kurt glanced at him a little, then to his friends, who looked at him expectantly. "All right, but can I ask—is there some reason you all are bearing down at me like this?"

"Kurt, we've seen how happy you've been…" Rachel answered with a shrug. "We just want to make sure it stays that way?" She grinned.

"Honestly now," Mercedes raised an eyebrow. "You can't tell me that at least part of the reason you're griping right now is because it's Valentines' Day and you and him are fighting."

"I don't even like Valentines' Day," Kurt pointed out.

"But you do like him, right?" Mercedes smirked when she was met with frigid silence and a glower from her friend. "All right, come on." She pulled him to his feet. "Let's go find him, and then we're going to get to the bottom of this."

"Now can I go talk to that Logan dude?" Finn asked, still frowning. "To make sure he stays out of it?"

"No, Finn," Kurt sighed in exasperation. "I already screamed at him in the hall, I think he got the picture." The girls stared at him and he rolled his eyes. "One of my less fine moments, but I was in a mood at the time. I haven't actually seen him all day…"

"Well he did seem a little subdued when we saw him," Rachel said, blinking. "I suppose it worked."

Of course it would work, Kurt knew that. He had driven the point home with Logan that way because it felt like the only way to get him to listen. And maybe he should have been firm right at the beginning, but he'd just always felt that half of the reason Logan was so insistent was his condition. He had to start reminding himself that the reason was only part that—and that the rest of it was also the Logan who wanted his way and got it if he could.

But he did care. He cared about how this would affect the one who felt so strongly for him.

"Oh no you don't," Mercedes glared at him as she tugged him along. "I can tell what you're thinking of and you're not going to complicate this right now. First, we deal with you and Blaine, and then we deal with him."

"We ought to find the others too before they get into any trouble in this place—what happened to them, anyway?" Rachel muttered, looking around.

"We lost them after Britt started to pull Artie around the fair—overexcited." Santana rolled her eyes, but was on the phone. She made a double take as she looked at a text. "Wait. Looks like she's is in the first-aid tent with the others."

"What for?"

"How should I know? All she says is that Artie and Tina ate something bad."

Finn looked confused and concerned. "I don't get it—all I saw them eat are those chocolate chip cookies."

Kurt looked at him in surprise. "Cookies? What cookies?"

Puzzled, Finn pulled out a clear bag of cookies from his jacket pocket and held them out. "These." Kurt grabbed them and stared. They looked almost exactly like the ones he made for Windsor House. Finn added, "We got them from one of the blue-and-gold-stripe booths."

Kurt winced—hearing about anything came from blue-and-gold was hardly ever good news. And then Finn suddenly clutched his stomach like he'd been punched in the gut. "Actually…come to think of it… I haven't been feeling all that good since we—"

Mercedes cringed away as a loud burbling croak came from Finn's stomach. "Let's go," Kurt sighed deeply and took Finn's elbow and pulled him away. "First aid tent."

"Oh good," Rachel grinned. "You did say Blaine was on duty—we might run into him."

"I think I'd rather go to the bathroom…" Finn groaned, looking pale.

"No, let's go see if they can give you any kind of medication first…" Kurt insisted, pulling him along. Finn's stomach made another gruesome croak and the group immediately gave him a clear berth.

"Oh, Finn, that sounds really bad…" Rachel winced as Kurt led them back into the fair grounds. Finn was starting to groan like a dying cow.

It was at this point that Kurt spotted a familiar face in the crowd and immediately caught his attention. "Charlie! Hey, Charlie!" He waved to get his attention over the heads of the crowd.

The prefect, looking only slightly frazzled, looked up and ran up to him. "Hey, Kurt." He looked at Finn. "What's with this guy?"

"Another casualty of Tweedle war," Kurt grumbled. "It's cookies. It's the cookies, Chaz—you better get them off the booths."

"I highly doubt the Tweedles have anything to do with this—they freaking love your cookies," Charlie muttered, glancing at Finn as he unclipped his walkie talkie from his belt to alert the other prefect. "But Drew and Satoru might have decided to make their own batch and this is the end result."

"How many times do I have to tell you guys not to try and domesticate yourselves without proper supervision?" Kurt demanded.

"Don't tell me, Kurt, they're the ones who—"

"Dude!" Finn almost yelled to Charlie. "Bathroom! Where?"

Charlie stared at him. "You're going to have to head into that building—" he pointed. "South and Main—all the port-a-potties are full—"

Finn tore away from Kurt and bolted so fast that one would've thought he was gunning for a last-second touchdown, barreling past people who didn't seem too bothered—the sign must have been common all day. "Aaand we've lost Finn," Santana snickered.

"Speaking of the Tweedles," Charlie frowned at Kurt. "The havoc they're making is that apparently they're throwing paint balloons at people, so you better watch yourselves. I think they're trying to advertise their paint-balloon booth as a form of Valentines' vengeance. Your boyfriend and his brother had been hit pretty badly."

Both Reed and Kurt winced. "Was it that bad?" Reed asked.

"Ask for yourself—there's Shane right now."

And there Shane was, having come full stop just several feet from them, mostly cleaned up but the clothes couldn't be helped—his clothes like Reed's paint smocks after a session of nonstop painting. His hair still had streaks of paint Shane looked startled possibly not expecting to find them right there. Kurt stared at his condition in disbelief.

"Oh Shane…" Reed stared, stunned, looking him up and down. "What happened?"

"This is actually the cleaned up version," Shane grumbled, looking chagrined. "I think I inhaled some of the stuff."

"And Blaine?" Kurt prompted, unable to stand the idea that Blaine would have to be running around looking worse than how Shane looked right now.

"I think he's in the first aid tent."

At this, Rachel and Mercedes scooped up Kurt's elbows. "In that case—off we go!" The two divas grinned as the third glowered at them before he clipped Reed's shoulder and nodded over to Shane. Reed turned crimson and gave him an "I get it," look as the McKinley students all but carried their ex-member off.

"Good luck," Charlie snorted, patting Reed on the shoulder before hurrying off as well, presumably to go yell at two errant cookie-makers, which left Shane and Reed standing together.

They looked at each other, and Reed turned red, looking away. "Um…"

"Uh…" Shane scratched the back of his head, looking awkward. "Should I begin groveling now?"

"What?" Reed blinked.

"I…pretty much messed up the last few days, I'm sorry. And I did say that I was supposed to be at your beck and call, and…I kind of wasn't, that was really idiotic of me and I just ended up upsetting you—I mean you haven't answered the last forty-eight calls I given you and…and…and I'm talking too much again." Shane dropped his face into his hand.

Reed glanced at him a little. "…should you be on your foot like that? You're limping a little bit."

"Me? Nah—I'm fine! I'm great, awesome—about that groveling—"

"Shane." Reed frowned.

"I've been focused on getting better all this time," Shane finally sighed. "I wanted to take you to the fair without crutches. But you know how much of a scatterbrain I am and how easily distracted I get—so I put away my phone so I could concentrate on just getting better and not pestering you."

He shook his head. "Should've thought that through a little more. Didn't think about you calling me… I figured Blaine would be nagging me off the hook, but—why am I still talking? Feel free to shut me up anytime, Reed, seriously—"

Reed laughed a little, and Shane looked up with a spark of hope. "Hey, I made you laugh. Is that a good thing?"

The artist just rolled his eyes with a little smile. "You're really insane."

"Blaine tells me that a lot. But mostly these days it's you I'm crazy about so…"

Reed turned such a deep shade of crimson that he feared he'd burst a blood vessel. Shane was starting to grin again at the sight of it and Reed glared at him. "I was going to forgive you but if you're going to laugh at my expense—"

"Okay, sorry! Sorry!" Shane hurried up to him, grinning.

"Stop straining your foot—go sit down or something," Reed told him.

"My foot is fine," Shane waved it away. "I said I was going to take you to the fair, and I'm taking you."

"We're already at the fair, Shane."

"Then let's go have fun!" Shane grabbed his hand and pulled him into the crowd. Reed couldn't help but smile at the younger Anderson's excitement—and he wondered why in the world some things couldn't be as easy as this all the time.


Charlie glanced up a little and he watched Shane and Reed go past. He smiled to himself. That's one down I guess. And then he turned his attention back on Wes, who was helping repair one of the archways that the Twins had bashed through in their earlier antics.

"Damn it, Chaz, we're working ourselves to death here!" Wes protested, flailing and nearly concussing the Windsor prefect with the hammer as he did. "How should I know where the Tweedles are? Did you check their paint balloon booth or their Hall of Mirrors?"

"I already checked." Why the Twins even had two attractions (and how they managed to run it) was beyond Charlie's understanding, especially since they apparently were at neither one. The paint-filled balloons were left alone in a giant basket on top of nearby booth setup. With the arsenal being completely left alone, Charlie was starting to worry that the Twins had decided to change tactics and do something else more damaging.

"They're not there, and they're not in the Hall of Mirrors they set up in Orion. I don't see why—that one's a little popular today. But the Hanover rollercoaster is still killing us. Their line is going up the bleachers." Charlie grumbled to himself. If they kept up that way, Hanover will score their third year of winning.

"Well I don't know," Wes shrugged. "They could be anywhere—they love the Fair. Personally, I think I ought to be out there looking for Kurt or Blaine. Much as I'd love to be working my butt off on Valentine's Day…" he grimaced as he got up. "…It worries me that they've still not worked this all out."

"Well, Justin kept Logan locked away in the information booth—they should be able to talk it out without interruption if they had the chance," Charlie shrugged.

"Speaking of Justin…" Wes hammered the signboard to place. "Tell him that the new Hanover boy's looking for him."

This made Charlie look up. "The new Hanover boy? You mean Adam?"

"No, the other one," Wes wiped his hands on his jeans.

"Other one?" Justin said they recently had but one new person at Hanover, and that was the quiet Adam Clavell who they still haven't gotten to talk all that much.

But Wes shook his head, looking tired. "The short one. Foreign exchange. What was his name? Laurel?"

Charlie stared at Wes, aghast. "What?"

Wes looked around a little impatiently and pointed. "Him. Over there!"

Charlie turned to see a short boy in a Dalton uniform—one of the few who were in uniform—that seemed a little big for him, running past one of the booths, trying to look over people's heads. As he ran, he kept one hand on the newsboy cap on his head. It was very Oliver Twist.

Charlie shook his head with an exasperated sigh as he unclipped his walkie-talkie from his belt. "Hey Wes, why don't you take five or hang out with David or something?"

Wes muttered under his breath, "He's with Katherine. And I don't have a date. Didn't think it was polite to interrupt."

"Jealousy isn't flattering on you." Charlie evaded Wes' kick and spoke into the walkie as he strode off after the small form. "Hey, Hanover! You alive?"

The walkie crackled in response as Justin's voice carried through the channel. "What?"

Charlie was striding quickly through the crowd, eyes fastened onto the short "Hanover boy" who was looking around. "Where you at?"

"By the food booths. I'm starving. You want anything?"

He was getting closer to the boy now, who seemed distracted by the nearby ring toss booth. He shook his head with a sigh as he approached his quarry in silence.

"Me? I'd like you to get over here near the row of ring toss games."

"Trouble?"

"For you, yes."

He finally arrived at his oblivious little target. Charlie immediately reached out and grabbed the boy by the back of the blazer, pulling him back and up. "Hey!" came the outraged shriek—that was just too high pitched.

Charlie grinned, grip on the blazer tight as he knew that he was right on the money with his hunch. "The hat was a nice touch," he said casually.

"Let me go right this minute, Charlie!" piles of blonde hair came down as the cap got knocked down with all the furious struggling from the smaller form. A pair of blue eyes glared up at him, while the heart-shaped face was scarlet in humiliation.

"Charlie, what's going on?" Justin demanded.

"Justin?" the caught one gasped in horror at the voice.

Charlie sighed and lifted the walkie again. "Come get your sister, Hanover."

"Damn it, Laura!"

"Look, little girl—" Charlie began.

"I'm only a little bit younger than you, thank you very much, and you'd better remember that," Laura Bancroft glared at him. "Now let go of me."

"All righty." Charlie dropped her unceremoniously—Laura landed on her feet and brushed herself off.

Justin sounded imperious. "Laura, you stay right where you are—I'll be there in a bit and you'd better have a good explanation for this."

The young girl looked completely frustrated and just crossed her arms, grumbling. "This is ridiculous, honestly. A girl can't go into a public event anymore?"

"You're supposed to be in London," Charlie reminded her. "And you know that. You can't just go across the Atlantic whenever you feel like it, Laura. And traveling by yourself can't be all that safe for you."

"I'm not a baby," Laura grumbled.

Charlie sighed at his best friend's little sister. This wasn't the first time Laura had mounted an attempt to infiltrate Dalton, and one wonders why her parents even let her run around so freely for someone who was supposed to be at school. Maybe she just missed her brother. He raised the walkie talkie again. "Hanover, on second thought, stay there, we'll go to you."

He then nodded to Laura. "Come on. Let's get you some lunch first before Justin reads you the riot act again."

Laura brightened up immediately—she could usually count on Charlie to be a little less uptight than her brother. "Oh, all right. Can we have those cookies that everyone seems to be eating?"

"No."


"What do you know," Dwight stared, watching Charlie walk off with the short blonde girl who appeared underneath the hat. "Charlie got himself a 'talking flower'."

"Don't even," The Tweedles chorused with grin. "That's Laura Bancroft."

"Bancroft—Justin's sister?"

"Uh huh. We like her. She's nuts." They both now looked at the Hunter who had been skulking around the fair as though he loathed it and its heart-crammed goodness with all of his soul. "What about you, little Knight? Not galloping after a fair maiden of your own?"

"If it were that easy, I'd be doing it right now," Dwight retorted. "But no, duty calls. I've detected some pretty heavy bad vibes coming from certain points in this fair and I have every intention of seeking them out and exterminating them for the good of everyone in here. Which is why I brought you."

The Tweedles stared at him. Dwight just rolled his eyes and turned the Twins to the front—pointing towards the stage area where currently, the dance competition was happening.

In the grand tradition of trying to see the craziest and borderline most embarrassing thing a person would do for the sake of giving their significant others a dazzling Valentines' Day, a few boys had chosen to hold an event in the Fair that would have people out dance one another to win an all expense paid dinner date at a rather pricey French restaurant. A good number pairs were trying out (most of the boys were dragged on by their girlfriends who were dying to have a fancy dinner date)—but there was definitely a disturbance in the Force, as Dwight had said.

He had happened to be in the area when disaster struck. First appeared a pair of African-American teenagers appeared, and they were the first people to actually ask for a certain song to be played for their dance. This wasn't against the rules, and the stage crew consented.

As Jet's "She's a Genius" started to blast out of the speakers, the pair began to effectively slaughter all the other pairs that were currently in the running. They danced without a slick of self-consciousness and they could definitely move. The applause they garnered knocked the other pairs out of the game.

As a crowd slowly formed to watch the pair of dancers, they were "confronted" by a different pair—this time one with a pretty blonde girl and a lithe boy in cargo pants and massive sneakers. They confronted the two with bright grins, not the least bit intimidated. And as the first two danced, the crowd cried out in amazement as the new pair matched their movements exactly before going off to their own style of dance—one that involved some rather acrobatic moves. The blonde girl was particularly good and the strong boy with her could easily toss her into the air in flips.

The first invading Pure Energy pair (Devon and Shay) were laughing at the two acrobats (Leo and Mia) and didn't seem the least bit intimidated. They countered the two with a succession of freestyle hiphop dance moves before both pairs ended up going at the exact same dance moves.

By now Dwight had long since recognized who exactly these kids were that were invading the dance floor. He'd seen the video during New Years' after all. He'd found the movements familiar. If he hadn't been sure before that these were the kids from Pure Energy, he was sure now that he'd seen the looks on the Tweedles' faces.

"What are they doing here…?" Dwight hissed. "Are they spying? Are they spying on us?"

"Oh this isn't spying…" Evan said with a small, cool smirk on his face, watching the two pairs on the floor move.

"This is a challenge, I think," Ethan smirked similarly.

"Excuse me…" A tall brunette girl pushed past the Tweedles with a smile—she glanced at them as though she reserved that look exactly for them—and she headed straight through the crowd and to the pairs in the middle of the floor. Without hesitation, she performed a series of back handsprings that landed her into the middle of the group and she danced in the middle of them, taking the lead and seamlessly integrating herself into their dance moves. The crowd cheered and hooted as the baffled stage crew stared on, not sure of what exactly to do at this sudden invasion of dancers.

As Brie, the leader, performed a particularly complicated move with Shay and Mia before she threw her hair back and smirked directly at the Tweedles.

The Tweedles smirked a little more. "Oh, so it's going to be like that, huh…?"

"What are you talking about?" Dwight asked.

"They're showing off juuust a little bit," said Evan, turning around with his twin and striding off.

"Hey wait!" Dwight protested. "You're just going to leave and let them go on like that? They've got to be challenging you!"

"Oh we're not going to take it lying down," Ethan assured him. "Stay there, Dwight, try to keep them in your crosshairs if you can—we'll be right back."

"What? What are you going to do?"

The Tweedles only smiled. "Gather up some Momeraths, of course."


Derek ran past the Tweedles—he was concerned about those devious grins on their faces, but he was far more concerned about saving his own skin. He rushed past the people on the fairgrounds until he spotted someone familiar and flung himself at him.

"Derek, what the hell?" Julian demanded as his obviously bigger friend was currently seeking shelter behind him of all people, clutching onto Julian's coat. Adam looked a little alarmed, but Derek immediately said, "Jules! I swear to god, you have to save me—"

"Now what did you do?" Julian snorted, raising an eyebrow. "Tell me it's not Tabitha."

"If it were only Tabitha. Heather and Louise saw me already. And I already heard that a couple of my exes are freaking haunting the place. I'm on the edge here, man!"

"Who is this…?" Adam asked, looking at Julian in confusion.

"Dead man walking, apparently," Julian pursed his lips at his friend, who was still clinging onto him. He rolled his eyes with feigned sage-like patience. "This is really pathetic, D, just thought you should know."

"Man, don't even try to lecture me—I saw you running for your life earlier." Derek then nodded to Adam. "Was you, yeah? Nice save, Hanover kid."

"Thanks," Adam stared, still a little baffled at him. "Um…my name's Adam, though."

"Whatever," Derek looked back to Julian, who he was forced to follow as the actor had already resume movement. "Where are you going? Why are you in the open where you're this giant target for every fangirl in the fair?"

"We're not antelope," Julian retorted. "I'm going back to the information tent, and tell Oh Tempestuous One sitting there that a certain someone he's obsessing over is being ganged up on by a ragtag bunch of kids from some other school."

Derek looked a little confused for a moment as he followed, but then he said, "You mean Kurt, right? Oh, those kids are probably the ones from his old school." He snorted. "They really like getting involved even though he doesn't go there anymore."

"How sickeningly sweet," Julian grumbled. "Nothing to worry about then?"

"Unless you call them being on Team Blaine a problem," Derek snorted.

"Well, it's not me who has the problem, then…"

"Please. It is your problem."

"Is there something I'm missing here?" Adam asked, a little confused, but the two ignored him.

"But you should know something," Derek said, looking a little doubtful, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets. "Logan said something to me about his issues with Kurt earlier in the tent."

Adam looked up. "Logan…? Logan Wright? The Stuart prefect? The one who had that big fight in the hall and the cafeteria, right?"

"Wow, new kid, you've really gotten wind of everything pretty fast," Julian grumbled sarcastically.

"Come on, who hasn't heard about that?" Derek snorted. "And he elbowed you in the face, when you were trying to hold him back, you were bleeding."

Julian laughed hollowly as Adam stared in shock. Derek then shook his head and grabbed Julian's elbow. "But anyway—this is important. After you stormed off in a huff at the tent, Logan said—"

"Speak of the devil." Julian looked up at the tall form now advancing at them from the direction of the information booth. Devil indeed—even Derek was startled at the dark expression on Logan's face. He looked furious and he was storming directly towards them, glaring at Julian in particular.

Baffled, the actor stared up at him as Logan finally reached them. Without a moment's pause, he unleashed wrath on Julian. "What the hell is wrong with you?" he demanded.

"Now what do you want, you raving lunatic?" Julian snapped back harshly, glaring at him and practically exasperated. "Until now I've been a football field's distance from you!"

"I thought you were supposed to be inconspicuous?" Logan almost yelled at him. "There's a maelstrom in the information tent, all your freaking fangirls are demanding that we produce you from wherever hellhole you've been hiding! So much for worrying about getting seen—they said that you've been running around signing autographs and now they all want one!"

"And?" Julian raised an eyebrow coldly. "This is a problem because…?"

"Because it ends up being my damn problem!" Logan exploded. "I've got enough people freaking out about the stupid food poisoning incidents from those loonies at Windsor without you parading your primadonna self all over the fairground—"

"Now hold on, Logan—" Derek began but Logan directed a blaze of rage to him as well. "And you! All five of your girlfriends and exes have already been to the damn booth looking for you! Shouldn't you just man up and let them throttle you already?"

Derek glowered at him. "Hey, you've been in a bad mood all morning—

"Try year," Julian snorted and Logan narrowed his eyes at him.

"—and you don't have to take it out on us!" Derek snapped.

"Well it's not like you're making it any easier for me!" Logan hissed furiously. He turned to Julian and fumed. "You could've lain low but you couldn't help yourself, could you? You just had to prance around."

"Hey wait a minute," Adam stepped forward, frowning. "This isn't fair—"

"You noticed?" all three Stuarts rounded on him a moment before turning back to one another. Adam gaped at them and Bailey materialized at his elbow. "New kid! Psst!" And he pulled him away from the three who were squabbling.

"Stay out of that one," Bailey hissed.

"What's going on here?" Adam demanded, gesturing to the three Stuarts.

"Leave it alone," Bailey begged. "Seriously—you don't want to get involved in the crossfire."

"He's yelling at Julian for no—"

"You have to let them work it out—"

Another outburst from Logan made them all look up. "I don't care what you have to do!" Logan yelled at Julian. "I just don't need this right now, Jules—I really don't! I've got enough on my mind without you having to make it harder for me!"

"It's always about you!" Julian nearly screamed at him. He was flushed and furious, more out of control than Bailey or Derek had ever seen him. "I may be the big celeb around here, Logan, but you're the one who's always in center stage! Outside and in your head! So you can just go to hell—because I'm not catching this anymore!" Julian backed away, shaking his head. "Screw friendship if you like to call it that—I'm sick of all this. I'm just your little tow-along anyway."

"Julian!" Derek protested.

"I'm out!" Julian yelled back. "I'm so out of this whole thing." He glanced back at Logan, but he looked more disgusted with himself than with anything. "I can't believe I stuck around for this." He strode off, pushing his dark glasses up so hard they nearly cut the bridge of his nose. "Adam! Let's go."

"Don't do it, you don't want to get in it, seriously—" Bailey told him, but Adam was already gone. He glared at Logan darkly and followed after Julian.

Aghast, Derek looked at Logan in pure, unadulterated disbelief. "What is wrong with you, man? You don't spare anyone, do you?"

Logan was more stunned than anyone, surprisingly. "I was just telling him that—"

"Yeah, you were just telling us how hard it is for you," Derek said sarcastically. He shook his head. "Great job. Awesome. You really drove the point home." He shoved Logan once before walking off.

"And now you're going?" Logan asked.

"You know, Logan…" Derek turned around and opened his arms, "You know how you said back in the tent that you wanted to change? Here's a nice big hint: stop driving friends away. Because apparently we're the only people who can stand you—and you're losing us. Him more than me. But that doesn't really make a difference with you, right? Or does it…?" Derek turned around and stomped off after Julian.

Bailey watched them go, crestfallen, and looked to Logan, who stared after them. He walked up to him, worried. "Logan…"

"Don't, Bailey. Don't."

"Hey, right now—I'm all you've got," Bailey said, glancing up at him. He looked apologetic. "Logan. Nobody said it was going to be easy. But…you know, they could've helped. That's all they're trying to do. Even their patience has a limit, though. And I think you pushed a little too far this time."

Logan just turned and walked back to the tent. "I apparently do that a lot." He moved his fingers through his hair, as though trying to get his thoughts together. "They leave just like everyone else."

"That's the thing, though?" Bailey smiled. "They'll be back. They're your friends."

"Didn't you hear Julian? He's done."

"When's that been ever true?" Bailey grinned, hands in his pockets. "Think about it. They've been your friends forever, haven't they? Or didn't you notice?"

Logan paused and then glanced back to him. Bailey smiled more, knowing he's at least given him something to think about. "I have to go back to work…but you, Tipton—you really have to stop working so hard to keep everything calm and happy."

"I'm not a Hanover, but I like harmony in Stuart House," the other boy responded. Logan just waved him off and left.

Bailey stood, watching him curiously with a bit of a smile. All things considered, this wasn't the Stuart trio's best moment, but it wasn't the worst situation they've had either. Bailey thought the situation over and decided that if he actually pushed the right buttons, he might be able to get the whole mess sorted out. If he still had time, that is.

"Bailey!"

A pair of chipper twins immediately grabbed his shoulders as the shorter boy yelled in surprise when they tugged him away without preamble.

"We need you to take over the stage's sound controls!" Evan declared.

"What for?" Bailey stared.

"Just do it—we've got some retaliation to carry out!" Ethan informed him with a big grin.

"Is whatever you're planning on doing legal in the state of Ohio?" Bailey asked immediately.

"Fairly sure," they assured him.

"Okay, then…"


"Just so you know, people could sue you for intentionally poisoning people," Kurt glared, arms crossed, at Drew and Satoru, who were standing sheepishly in front on the first aid tent. "What were you thinking?"

"It wasn't intentional, that's flat," grumbled Satoru.

"How hard could it be to make cookies?" Drew muttered.

"You don't make cookies using laboratory equipment!" Kurt shot back, wondering why, for a pair of apparently incredibly brilliant young men, this little fact escaped them. "And you don't put "love serum" that you yourselves haven't even tested yet!"

"And your friends make twenty four." Blaine sighed as he came out of the first aid tent, looking tired and, as Kurt had expected, still a little paint streaked. His hair was washed out at least, the curls free of product. "We're going to need a bigger tent—the clinic is already full, according to Ms. Summers. And I don't know how many your stepbrother ate but he looked like a pretty bad case."

"Considering that it's Finn, I'm imagining about a couple of bagfuls." Kurt rolled his eyes.

Inside the tent, Mike was holding up Tina's head from a bucket. Her reaction to the cookies was a little different: she'd been nauseated and was throwing up. "Well at least for some people, it's all coming up the other way." He winced at another retch from his girlfriend.

"Oh Asian god, kill me," Tina groaned, leaning against Mike, who patted her. "I never want to eat cookies again."

Brittany just returned to the scene with Artie, her wheeling him back to the tent, with Artie looking very pale but smiling wanly. "I think Artie's going to live," Brittany said with a triumphant smile. "He took a long time in the bathroom but I think he got rid of all the bad stuff."

"Congratulations," Finn grumbled, being forced by Rachel to finish a whole bottle of water to prevent him from becoming dehydrated.

"Oh god…" Santana winced and sprayed air freshener over them all.

"Santana, don't do that—oh…" Kurt groaned as the sufferers in the tent caught a whiff of the spray and Tina began to puke again.

"This is insane," Blaine said, looking around as the trouble in the first-aid tent. "I don't think we've had food poisoning this bad before."

"You mean this has happened before?" Kurt narrowed his eyes at him.

"Basically every year something bad that's food-related happens…" Blaine sighed. "But not this bad. The fair regulars usually know to steer clear of the food. I knew I was in for bad news when Charlie put me in this duty."

There was a pause as the two of them realized that they were actually having a fairly decent and easy conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with the disagreement the two of them had been having. Mercedes was smirking from where she stood, just waiting for them to realize this. The two of them stared at each other for a long moment before they ended up looking away out of awkwardness.

"…can we go now?" Drew asked tentatively.

"No," both Blaine and Kurt said immediately, frowning.

It was at this point that the Tweedles came skidding in—one with Shane and Reed in tow, the other with David and Katherine (followed by a very indignant Wes) in tow.

"Hello, friends plus talking flowers!" the Tweedles chorused, looking wildly excited, in levels that assured everyone who knew them well that they were up to something again.

"This better be good, you two," David glared, looking annoyed and peeling Katherine away from one twin.

"You nearly decapitated Reed!" Shane protested.

"We're calling an emergency performance," The Tweedles declared without preamble. "Come with us immediately, all of you. Including you guys!" They nodded to the McKinley people as though they were all the authority necessary.

"We're not Warblers," Rachel raised an eyebrow.

"We know," said Ethan.

"But we need you," nodded Evan.

"Just for today."

"Because you can sing."

"And dance."

"And very well at that."

"Well…" Rachel smirked a little triumphantly as the McKinley kids preened a little bit. "Of course movement is one of our specialties."

"We need Mike and the Cheerios especially," the Twins said. Evan turned to Shane. "You too. Because you can dance."

"And Katherine!" said Ethan with a grin. "Because she's still the best dancer in Dobry Hall."

A series of protests rose up from the entire group, asking mainly if the twins had lost their minds—which was something asked on such a day-to-day basis that the twins didn't find it at all offensive and more of a compliment than anything. The twins waited for them to calm down enough to get their words in. "We're serious, and we don't have time. We need to answer to a challenge. Stat."

"Katherine shouldn't be straining herself!" David protested.

"No, I can do it," Katherine blinked, looking a little startled.

"And Shane's foot!" Reed exclaimed.

"I can dance on it if I try," Shane answered.

"You're both not helping!" David and Reed chorused as the two dancers winced.

"Give us one good reason to back you up on this impromptu madness," Wes asked, arms crossed over his chest.

At this point, the twins' phone rang. Evan was the one holding it and he put it on speaker phone when he saw that the caller was Dwight.

"You guys, where are you?" The hunter hissed. "They're still there—those New York kids are totally killing the few who've already tried to step forward! They're starting to sing and dance! And that tall girl—she's asking for challengers! The audience is already getting swayed to their side! I don't know how you all are going to beat them, but you better come up with something or they're going to kick your asses up and down the fairgrounds!"

Silence in the tent. They all looked at each other.

The Twins very calmly looked up at the rest of them. "A whole bunch of New Yorkers just kicked in the front door of our Regional house. They came all this way and we shouldn't disappoint. Well…?"

Kurt pulled himself up to his best height and raised an eyebrow. "Well. That makes it a little different." He glanced to New Directions. "Team up just this once?" he proposed to the group around him.

Rachel and Finn looked at each other as co-captains of New Directions, and then to the others who stared back at them, and nodded. They looked at the Twins. "We're in."

Then Tina puked. Finn's stomach made another croak and he had to race off again, narrowly missing Artie and Brittany as he barreled off.

"Go—go on without us," Tina groaned, pushing Mike forward. Artie nudged Brittany along. "Yeah, get out of here and go get them, girl. I got to go to the bathroom…" he looked ill again.

"We'll take him," Drew suggested. "You guys better go."

"We're late already!" the Twins grabbed Brittany and raced off. Shane raced off after them and Katherine, shrugging at David with a grin, followed, and forcing her boyfriend and the best friend to follow. Reed sighed and did the same—the rest of the newly-formed Warbler-New Directions combine racing off.

"I still don't think this is a good idea," Reed hissed as he ran, stumbling a little, alongside Shane and Kurt. "What the heck are we supposed to do?"

"Do it the Windsor way, I guess…" Blaine answered. "We wing it. We always wing it."

As the twins pulled Brittany along, they both looked at her with bright grins. "Hey talking flower," Evan said with a devious smile.

"…do you dance to Ke$ha?" Ethan asked.

Brittany, not opposed to being pulled along by the playful blondes, looked puzzled but smiled. "I like Ke$ha. I said that I was going to perform a song of hers once…" She glanced at the other McKinley kids, who just stared at her, baffled.

"Well good, because you're singing with us," smirked the twins.


"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Mia hissed again as she passed Brie in the dance. The boys, Devon and Leo, were preoccupied with whipping the crowd to a frenzy as the group danced together again. "I mean, we're catching a whole lot more attention than—"

There's nothing left to say; Don't waste another day

Just you and me tonight; Everything will be okay…

"What are they going to do?" Brie hissed to her as she swirled across the dance area. "Sway to the beat on their pretty leather shoes? Please…"

"The both of you please shut up—and sing!" Shay snapped, her big performance-level smile still perfect on her face as she leapt into the middle and was immediately picked up by her singing boyfriend who danced along with her.

If it's alright with you then it's alright with me

Baby let's take this time let's make new memories…

The group swept across the floor, their movements fluid and voices harmonizing together into the chorus, confident and unflinching, basking in the glow of the crowd's appreciation. The boys took the lead of the song, clearly enjoying their time in the spotlight while they had it.

Do you remember…

Do you remember…

Do you remember…

All of the times we had…

Brie changed positions on the dance floor again and finally caught sight of a pair of tall blond boys smirking right across her. The same ones she'd seen earlier, and ones she'd already identified as Warblers, the twin pair.

She immediately perked up at the sight of them. Unlike the other Dalton students, these two didn't look at all apprehensive—in fact, they looked deeply amused. She raised an eyebrow but kept performing.

Do you remember…

Do you remember…

Do you remember…

All of the times we had…

"Well they're good." Mike whispered as he stood with the others.

"Really good…" Wes nodded a little, surprised.

"Yeah…" Rachel shrugged and smirked. "But we're better."

"Hang back, dwarf," Santana replied, pushing past Rachel with a cool smile as she and Brittany stood together. "Let the pros end these posers."

"Are you sure you're going to be all right?" Reed asked Shane apprehensively as the taller boy tightened his boot laces. But Shane only smirked. "Hey if we beat these guys, I take you to rollercoaster?"

Reed turned pale. "Hall of Mirrors—that's it."

"I'll take it."

"I still don't think—" David began but was promptly shut up by his girlfriend's look. Katherine then grinned. "Stop thinking. Focus on the fact that you're going to have to show those guys up. They obviously think you can't dance."

"Well they're not going to know what hit them," Wes smirked as he stepped up beside David. "They just crashed the wrong territory."

Kurt looked at Blaine, who looked back at him and nodded. Kurt glanced to the sound control area of the stage and grinned as Bailey caught his eye and grinned. The Stuart Warbler ran to his fellow House members and unceremoniously booted one of them off the controls. "Excuse me!" he grinned.

Let's bring it back (Bring it back!)

Let's bring it back (Bring it back!)

Let's bring it back (Bring it back!)

Let's bring it back (Bring it back!)…

Pure Energy kept dancing, but they knew something was happening when the music began to change—warping out of their music like a DJ's remix. The crowd looked around in surprise at the sudden change.

The twins strode forward to the dance area, flanked by the group they had gathered, and the Dalton students who recognized them cheered, realizing that they were intending on performing. The emcee on the stage yelled, "We've got challengers!"

"All right, Warblers…" Brie smirked as she stepped back a little.

The twins grinned. "What do you mean Warblers?" Ethan asked innocently. "We're just having a little bit of fun, aren't we?"

Surprised, the Pure Energy group stared at the pair and the currently inconspicuous students behind them. "Huh?" Brie stared.

"Don't be so serious." Evan grinned.

On cue, Bailey blasted the music from the speakers as the twins began to sing and dance in unison.

My first kiss went a little like this—and twist—and twist—

The twins separated as Brittany slid forward, flipping her long blonde hair back with a grin, body pumping to the beat.

Well my first kiss went a little like this—and twist—and twist—!

Brittany gave them one more blown kiss before she rejoined the twins. The crowd started to burst into cheers as the twins and Brittany started to dance together, Brittany's devastating dance moves drawing the crowd's attention. She was alternating dancing between the two boys who moved perfectly together. The twins took the thread as the music pounded, the crowd clapping to the music:

I said no more teachers and no more books

I got a kiss under the bleachers hoping that nobody looks—

Lips like licorice—tongue like candy

Excuse me miss, but can I get you out your panties?

There were screams of laughter from the crowd as Brittany pretended to look shocked and pushed both boys back—revealing the rest of them moving in.

The entire group now moved forward—the twins standing in front of them and performing a series of movements in perfect synchronization for a few moments before the rest of them took up the steps and started to copy the dance along with them, the twins and Brittany singing with smirks on their faces at their stunned opponents' faces.

In the back of the car—

On the way to the bar—

I got you on my list (I got you on my list)

At the foot of the stairs—

With my fingers in your hair—

Baby, this is it—

The crowd burst into cheers as Shane and Mike dived forward past the twins and started to freestyle. Shane swirled ahead in front in a series of complicated dance moves—his footwork barely even hindered by his injury. Mike literally somersaulted over him as Shane slid down onto the ground and the crowd exploded. Mike landed flawlessly on his feet in a grin, body grooving to the music.

The rest of them started to chorus with the twins, dancing along with them and letting the music set the wild pace that drove the thickening crowd into a frenzy.

She won't ever get enough—

Once she gets a little touch—

If I had it my way, you know that I'd make her say:

Ooooooh

Ooooooh

Mike and Shane split apart in dives and David literally backflipped into the dance floor. The crowd exploded in cheers as David turned behind him just in time to catch Katherine, flipping her over him in a swinger's move before twirling her back towards the other girls.

She won't ever get enough—

Once she gets a little touch—

If I had it my way, you know that I'd make her say:

Ooooooh

Ooooooh

The boys danced forward in a firing squad line as they sang and they jumped backwards as the whole line of girls stepped forward, Santana snapping her fingers at the Pure Energy group:

Well my first kiss went a little like this—and twist—and twist—!

The Twins whirled around and grinned to the rest of them. "S'all yours—" they whispered, stepping back. As the music continued to beat and the group sang, they formed a small semicircle, giving way to the main dancers of the group.

Mike made a handspring into the center and started to freestyle again. Brittany slid towards him and the two of them danced together in a manner reminiscent of their spectacular Sectionals win. As Mike stepped back, Shane moved forward alongside him as Santana took her spot next to Brittany, the group of them dancing together.

In the back of the car—

On the way to the bar—

I got you on my list (I got you on my list)

At the foot of the stairs—

With my fingers in your hair—

Baby, this is it—

The boys invaded their space again—this time with the Twins scooping Santana up and throwing her into the air. The crowd burst into cheers at the basket toss as the twins caught the brunette and the whole team drove forward again, forcing the Pure Energy kids back—the combined group now had full control of the stage. The audience went crazy.

The boys' movements flung themselves forward into the dance, taking the Twins' lead as they all sang.

She won't ever get enough—

Once she gets a little touch—

If I had it my way, you know that I'd make her say:

Ooooooh

Ooooooh

The girls were led by Brittany forward again, but they paired off with the boys, who bumped with them to the beat. The Mike and Shane took after David's lead and sprang forward as the twins grabbed Brittany and Katherine, flipping the girls right over their heads. The whole group danced together amidst the deafening music and the screams of the audience. Kurt and Blaine grinned at each other as they danced with Rachel and Mercedes, the whole group trying to keep up with the Twins' lead.

She won't ever get enough—

Once she gets a little touch—

If I had it my way, you know that I'd make her say:

Ooooooh

Ooooooh

The twins catapulted Brittany forward between them—she tucked and rolled and then splayed out in a perfect split. The crowd roared as Shane and Mike leapt over the Twins' lowered, linked hands—David twirling Katherine one last time—before the twins grab Brittany's hands and pull her up between them in a flourish.

She won't ever get enough—

Once she gets a little touch—

If I had it my way, you know that I'd make her say—!

The fairgrounds erupted. Applause rang from all directions and even the boys at the control were jumping up and down, wildly elated. The Warbler-New Directions combined group grabbed at each other, leaping up in excitement.

Pure Energy was rendered more than a little speechless. Mia glared at Brie enough to singe eyebrows. "Sway, huh? Where the hell did all those stunts come from?" she demanded.

Brie glowered at her as Devon added, "Well hell, they've got something packing."

"Oh shut up," Shay muttered at her boyfriend.

The Twins were laughing, hugging Brittany, before they turned back to the Pure Energy kids and shrugged as though to say, "Lighten up!"

The emcee, laughing hard from onstage—possibly at the stricken look on the Pure Energy kids' faces or the fact that Bailey's own hysterical laughter was infectious—waved to the crowd. "All right now! So what did you guys think of that? And here we thought this dance party was going to be a little boring! Who would you say is the winner?"

The crowd roared in answer as the McKinley and Dalton group just continued to laugh at each other. The Twins waved to the emcee to catch his attention. They were smirking. "We're not here to compete. Just having fun."

Kurt raised an eyebrow at the twins, but he saw what they meant when the tallest girl from the Pure Energy group looked as though she'd just swallowed lemon juice. The Twins smirked and waved the emcee towards the other group with shrugs. "Let's not be so serious all the time…" they said casually.

Kurt smirked and waved at the New Yorkers before he and the entire group departed the dance floor amidst confusion and claps of encouragement from the whole crowd.

Brie bristled at the sight of them and tossed her hair as she turned around. "Let's go."

"What? After all that, we're just going to leave?" Leo stared at her.

"We've seen enough." Brie strode off, fuming to the tips of her hair. Mia and Shay looked at each other and hurriedly followed after her, a little concerned, but Brie said nothing, too busy running everything through again.

All right. Maybe this was what Tom wanted them to see—this was what Tom sent her to Ohio for. Because that—she glanced back to the group of boys and girls still grinning at each other—was definitely was something worth looking into.


"Ow…ow…ow…"

Reed frowned at Shane, who was limping a little more openly now. "I told you. Now sit."

"You're kidding—I feel great!" Shane breathed, and he flopped onto a bench. Reed only rolled his eyes as Blaine smacked a cold water bottle onto the side of Shane's face. The younger brother was thrilled. "Yay!" He drank as though he were from a drought.

The whole group had taken shelter away from the crowds again, although it was clear that some of them were basking in the popularity their little stunt had earned them. They were rejoined by the ailing members of New Directions who seemed to have somewhat recovered.

Mike bent down from where Tina was hugging him and shook hands with Shane with a grin. "Those were some great moves."

"Right back at ya," Shane grinned weakly. "Though the last time I tried bouncing around like that, I think I broke a mirror."

"You guys were great, I heard," Artie grinned up at Brittany, who was sitting on his lap again. "It's too bad we didn't get to see it all that well—what with the puking and the running to the bathroom and all." He shot a look at Finn, who was still looking pale from where he was standing, trying to keep Rachel from being a little too enthusiastic—Todd, Dwight's roommate, was a reporter for the Dalton newspaper and was planning on putting the little stunt into the Fair coverage and was interviewing her. The McKinley star was only too happy to oblige in more than a few comments.

Wes was fanning Katherine with a folder he'd found somewhere, the girl also seated on the bench where Shane was. "You all right, Kathy?" he asked worriedly.

"I'm good…" she grinned tiredly up at him, catching her breath. "Best Valentines ever. Best fun I've had in a really long time too…"

Wes smiled down at her. "Well, don't force it too far. David's going to freak more than he already has." He glanced to where David was a short distance away, getting another bottle of water for her.

Katherine followed his gaze, then back at him. After a contemplative moment, she smiled at him. "Hey. I hardly ever get to thank you for looking after him."

Wes gave her an incredulous expression. "What are you talking about? That's kind of my job—especially since you can't look after that scatterbrain twenty-four-seven." He grinned. "So when are you booking back into Dobry? It might make him feel a little easier if you were nearer."

"I do miss the girls," Katherine laughed a little. "I might go back…it depends on my mom." But she looked at him. "But—how about you, though? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine—why are you asking?"

Katherine considered him. "…I just figured you were a little down. You're not exactly your usual self lately. Something bothering you?"

Wes beamed. "Oh yeah, definitely. I'm surrounded by these nutjobs." And he jerked his thumb to the Windsors. "They're my bother."

"Mmm…" Katherine nodded a little, and David arrived with the water. "Here," he said, smiling at her. She took it from him and smiled. "I'm glad to see you can still dance."

David burst out laughing. "Well I was dancing with you—I can't look too out of my league."

"Where did the twins go?" Blaine asked, looking around at their haphazard group—the twins had evaporated into thin air again. Brittany, who was leaning her cheek on Artie's head, said, "They were following a talking flower… They said she has nice stems."

Artie gave her a look. "I think they meant she had nice legs, though…"

"No, they said stems."

"Ah, same thing."

Santana raised an eyebrow but looked intrigued. "Those weird twins never stop, do they?" she commented, hoping to spot the terrible twosome.

"Not since I've known them," Kurt sighed long-sufferingly. "Well at least they're terrorizing other people and not us at the moment."

Blaine laughed a little. "Give them time. They'll eventually be back."

Kurt laughed a little and he and Blaine ended up staring at each other. This kept up long enough for Santana to groan and roll her eyes. "For crying out loud, this unresolved sexual tension is stifling the rest of us—go make out already or something."

"Santana!" Finn burst out as the pair immediately stared at her, scarlet and shocked. Santana just tsked and rolled her eyes. "Oh please, you were all thinking it."

Wes very carefully put down the folder he was previously fanning Katherine with. "Well! So much for the entertainment—David, Katherine, how about that Hanover rollercoaster?"

"Sounds great!" Katherine grabbed David and Wes' hands, and immediately started dragging them off, trying very hard not to smile as she did so.

"Shane! Hall of Mirrors?" Reed said with big meaningful eyes at Shane—although the act was completely unnecessary: Shane leapt to his feet as though his ailment completely evaporated. The younger Anderson, grinning from ear to ear, actually swept Reed up in a bridal carry, winked at his brother and raced off, ignoring Reed's indignant commands to be let down immediately.

"Well, if we're not needed here…" Artie grinned as Brittany laughed, wheeling him away, Santana rolling her eyes with a "finally…" as she stalked off with them. Mike and Tina followed suit—but mainly to find Tina another garbage pail to barf out of.

"Can we just say…" Rachel began, but Finn grabbed her hand and tugged her off to the direction of some other fair attraction or another.

It was Mercedes who left last, and she bestowed Blaine a truly withering look for a moment before directing that same expression (on less intense levels) to her friend, who just gave her a pained smile in return. As Mercedes finally strolled off, brushing her hands off as she did so, Blaine gave Kurt a look and waited until his eyes met his again.

"So…" Kurt nodded slowly. "It looks like we're to talk about this or risk being dismembered by two different Glee clubs."

"It would appear that way…" Blaine nodded, pressing his lips together in a grim line.

It was fortunate that the others had left as the awkward silence that followed could've sent the group throwing their hands up in exasperation. But it was Blaine who broke the silence first. "Listen…I think…I think I went a little out of line."

"A little." Kurt responded with the lightest shrug of the shoulders. But he gave him a long glance. "I wasn't completely oblivious, I think… Maybe I did consider that it would…aggravate his situation somewhat…"

Blaine just nodded, thumbs hooked to his pockets and looking a little awkward. He sighed and shook his head. "…what happened anyway…?"

"What do you mean?"

He sighed deeply. "…how did we get here, I mean? Because…there are some parts of it that I can't remember anymore. I mean…I don't see the point anymore."

Kurt smiled very faintly as he glanced around, looking for a distraction. "We are both apparently easily swayed by our moods. And we apparently respond badly to certain…provocations…"

"I miss you."

Kurt looked up. Blaine was staring at him with those eyes of his that said so much in a single look. Kurt swallowed, gazing back at him, not really knowing how to respond to that sudden openness that left the other boy vulnerable.

"I really do," Blaine added, for emphasis, eyes never leaving Kurt's.

Kurt, rather taken aback, felt his hands shake slightly, and he clenched them, putting them in his coat pockets. He exhaled with only the slightest tremor in his breath, trying to get everything he wanted to say in a coherent form in his mind—

—and Kurt's phone went off, along with the walkie still with Blaine.

From Blaine's walkie, an indignant voice from one of the medical team howled, "Blaine! Dude, where are you? Come on—we need help back here at the tent! Quit playing around!"

Kurt tried to restrain his sheer frustration as he lifted his own phone to his ear. "Kurt, for crying out loud—check your messages more!" came the yell of one of the Stuarts. "You've had your fun! Come on already, we need you to help us set up for the next event!" And hung up without as much as a goodbye.

"Charming, these Stuarts," Blaine commented blandly.

"Such sparkling personalities," Kurt remarked, rolling his eyes. He pocketed his phone and raised his eyes to Blaine again. "…looks like you'll have to miss me just a little longer."

"I'll come find you when I finish," Blaine murmured. "And then we…deal with this. Figure out where we stand."

Kurt closed his eyes and nodded. And they had to do this at Valentines. "Right."

"Blaine!" the walkie talkie yelled again as Kurt's phone bleated out the arrival of yet another message. Both boys groaned and split up, Kurt striding off towards the stage, possibly determined to school the Stuarts in how one properly conducts a phone conversation.

As he fled, he glanced back to where Blaine had gone off to, and found that he was still within sight. He had stopped a distance off and was helping Miss Medel, who looked a little nauseated. On any other occasion, Kurt would've considered that Medel had one of the cookies, but now he just felt apprehensive.

He wondered if Blaine would notice what he and Reed had already figured out, but the chances were unlikely, with all the food issues in the fair. He also noticed that Mr. Harvey was standing next to Miss Medel, and blinked in surprise at the sight of a tall dark-haired woman with him. His wife?

This is cutting it a little close, isn't it, Mr. Harvey? Kurt glanced away in disbelief. Miss Medel must be freaking out inwardly as they went.

As Kurt fled the area, mulling about what he was going to say to Blaine later and the mess that their choir directors seemed to be throwing themselves into, he spotted the Twins—who were tailing a pretty brown-haired girl in a neat white coat. They followed her with grins on their faces. Kurt groaned; where was Charlie when you needed him?

The Stuarts can wait. The twins needed to be reined in.


"Hello, pretty talking flower!" Evan said, popping out in front of the girl, who jumped, looking startled.

Ethan materialized behind her, holding out a white rose they'd snatched out of one of the flower booths. "A flower for a flower!"

"Oh…thank you." The girl, who looked as though she were just their age and with kind hazel eyes, awkwardly laughed, not quite sure what to make of this pair of blond boys. She took the flower with a grateful smile. "Hello to you too…"

Evan tilted his head curiously at her. It wasn't often that a girl this pretty walked around a Dalton Valentines' fair alone. What with so many boys who would be willing to accompany a straggler. "Why are you alone?"

"Do you not like the fair?" Ethan asked.

"We can take you around and see more!" they chorused.

The girl smiled, looking a little apprehensive but not completely freaked out by the two of them. "Um…no thank you, honestly—" she smiled and looked around. "I was just dragged along here by my girlfriend and she ran off to find this guy—"

Evan brightened up immediately. This was even better than they thought. "Oh so you have a friend with you!"

"Let's find her so there'll be four of us!" Ethan said eagerly, going up alongside the girl.

"No, really, you don't have to—" she said, looking worried.

"What's your name?" the twins asked in their usual forward manner, looking at her intently.

"Becca," she replied, looking puzzled. "And you…?"

"Evan," said one twin, "and Ethan," said the other. They both cracked identical smiles that made her smile again. "We saw you watching us dance earlier."

"You were very good," Becca replied, beaming at them, more comfortable with this particular subject.

"You didn't stay till the end," one twin commented.

"I told you, I was looking for—"

"The both of you—" hereupon Kurt appeared behind the twins, grabbing the backs of their coats and pulling them back. He glowered at them in spite of the fact that they still towered over him. "—stop freaking people out!"

"Oh hello, Alice." The twins blinked at him in surprise, and Kurt glanced to the confused-looking girl. "I'm sorry, they have the inability to comprehend certain social etiquettes."

"Are all boys here this…odd?" Becca asked, staring at the twins. "And is Alice really your name?"

"No," Kurt snapped. He looked at the twins. "Leave her alone, or you're going straight back to Windsor House where you can't drive anyone else nuts."

"Actually…" Becca looked the three of them over, possibly noting the fact that they all had Windsor pins on their jackets and coats. "You're all Dalton students? All of you?"

"Yes," the twins immediately said, Kurt still holding them firmly by their coats. They looked a little comical, since the twins were bent back somewhat.

Becca smiled. "Oh well, good, maybe you can help me. I'm looking for a student. Do you know Blaine Anderson?"

All three looked at her in surprise. Kurt released the twins and moved forward, eyebrow raised. "Yes. Why?"

"Do you know where I can find him?" she asked. "We've been looking for him since we arrived but we can't find him."

"We?" Kurt echoed.

"Oh so he's the boy your girlpal was looking for," the twins said, understanding.

"Well he's at the medical tent, he's on duty for that team," replied Kurt, arms crossed and frowning. "Why are you looking for him?"

Becca simply shrugged with a small smile. "We have history."

All three Windsors stared at her in complete and utter surprise. Becca seemed to be pleased with their reaction and said, "Blaine at the medical tent, huh… Rather fitting, I imagine. But do you know if he'll be there for a while?"

"Possibly, but he might get called off elsewhere," Kurt responded, not liking this more by the minute, feeling a strange twinge in his gut.

"Well I'm sure the people there can help me track him down if he's not." Becca smiled. "I have to go find my companion and tell her I've found him. Thanks for the help. What's your name?"

"Kurt Hummel," he answered, smiling briefly. "I'm his boyfriend," he added clearly.

The twins were now repressing smiles and were failing badly. Becca now looked genuinely surprised. "I'm Rebecca Douglas." She shook hands with him, looking interested. "His boyfriend…? Well this is a surprise—I didn't expect him to have a boyfriend. He used to be pretty…reserved."

She grinned easily, and Kurt gave her a forced smile. "Oh, you'd be surprised with his history these days."

"Should be an interesting talk, then."

"Alice, your phone is ringing like crazy," Evan prompted.

"Will you stop calling me that in front of people who don't understand what you're saying?" Kurt hissed, staring at them both as he pulled out his phone and glared at it.

"Well you guys look busy so—I'll go find my companion," Becca smiled. "I'll see you later—hopefully you too, Kurt." She smiled and hurried off without another word.

Kurt watched her go and looked at the Twins, who grinned at him. "Easy now, Alice. You've got that what-is-happening look on your face again," Evan smirked.

"You have to remember," Ethan said, patting his shoulder, "that things can get a little crazy here." A text message arrived for them as well. This time Ethan had the phone, and he pulled it out of his pocket. He and his twin peeked at it, and burst into hysterical laughter.

"Now what?" Kurt asked, sounding as though he was having a migraine, and he really did feel that one was setting in.

"It's Dwight!" Evan grinned. "He says…"

"Shane and Reed are in our Hall of Mirrors," grinned Ethan.

"And they've been separated," said Evan.

"And hopelessly lost!" Ethan burst into laughter again.

"And you find that hysterical?" Kurt yelled after them as they immediately bolted off to the other source of interest that their limited attention spans found conceivably attractive. For all he knew, they were going to try and worsen the situation somehow.

Kurt pressed his hands to his temples, waiting to wake up from this crazy dream—because he definitely had to still be asleep in his dorm and he just never woke up. This couldn't be reality. Crazy didn't even begin to cover this fair. Just when he thought the flood was over


"Reed?"

"Shane?"

"Where are you?"

"I'm right here!"

"Where?"

"Other side of the wall."

"…you're going to have to jump so I can see you, you're too short."

"Shane!"

"I'm sorry—sorry! But I can't see you, honestly."

Reed sighed in surrender. He had no idea how the Twins managed it (then again, no one ever knew how the twins ever managed to do anything that seemed too far beyond the scope of human comprehension), but they had managed to construct an amazing Hall of Mirrors that must have encompassed the entirety of Orion Hall, from the entrance to the back exit. It was wall-to-wall mirrors, and in maze form. Each mirror panel had to much more than six feet high, and the paths really did get confusing since the only lights they left on were the small overhead ones dotting the ceiling.

The only means of direction in the entire place was the chandelier far above them, and it wasn't lit. At best, it only showed you if you were already in the middle of the hall. Otherwise, it didn't help at all.

The rule of the hall was simple. You enter with your partner together, and you have to leave together, otherwise the people outside won't open the door. You had to work together to get out.

Reed and Shane didn't know how it happened—maybe Shane thought Reed was following him and vice versa—but they realized that they were separated after a while. And they somehow couldn't find their way back to each other in the maze. Reed was starting to have the sneaking suspicion that some of the mirrors actually opened to other paths and the twins really did enjoy messing with people's heads.

"I texted Dwight to get the twins to save us…" Reed sighed. "But knowing them, they'd probably see how long they can keep us in here."

He glanced up when he saw Shane's waving fingertips over the wall trying to get his attention. "Hey, you okay?" Shane asked. "Can you see me?"

Reed laughed a little. "Yes, I can. Barely."

"Oh good." Shane sounded so relieved that Reed smiled. He stood up from where he was leaning against a mirror and looked up at the fingers at the top of the mirror. "You don't have to be so overly attentive. You don't have to make up for anything."

"Well I want to." Shane's fingers drummed lightly on the wall. "You haven't exactly completely forgiven me, I know that much."

Reed looked up incredulously, and Shane added, "I know because you haven't really smiled at me. I mean like, really. You haven't even looked at me in the face much."

I know I haven't, but not for what you think… Reed turned red. He still remembered all the things he'd been telling Kurt—about realizing how he actually felt about Shane. Half the reason it took him this long to even remotely consider the fact that he might be in love with the younger Anderson was the fact that he was still half confused as to why he was so attracted to him in the first place, and if it was any indication as to his orientation.

He still didn't have the answers.

But he did know he liked Shane. A lot. Romantically. And it was the only thing that was definite in his head right now. And strangely, he didn't find that so unsettling. He'd considered perhaps telling him directly, as Shane really did seem to like him. But it was strange to even think about. He didn't know how to tell him, to get him to understand his situation.

"You've gone quiet."

Reed jumped at the sudden tone, and was surprised that it sounded so despondent. Shane said, "Do I really upset you that much?"

"I'm not upset," Reed smiled. "And you don't make me upset." He walked down the path he was on, fingers trailing over the glass. "You make me pretty happy, actually…"

Shane blushed to the roots of his curls. "Oh…really?" he said noncommittally, praying that the elation wasn't all that obvious in his tone. He noticed Reed's voice moving away, and followed in that direction.

"Yeah," Reed murmured thoughtfully. "You don't think you do?"

"I think I make you pretty uncomfortable sometimes, I know that much," Shane replied. Reed's voice was getting further away, but his own path had to stop to turn a corner that would also lead away from Reed's direction. "But you put up with me, so I figured I must be doing okay in spite of that?"

Reed stopped, noticing his voice getting a bit more distant. "Shane, where are you?"

"Over here. I think I'm going to end up going in a different direction from you."

"What?" Reed's voice rose, a little alarmed.

"Uh…" Shane looked around, disoriented at the high mirrors all around them. "Well, as long as we keep going, we're bound to end up running into each other again. Let's just try to find our way back to each other."

"I can't see you, and apparently I'm too short for you to find," Reed grumbled. "How are we supposed to know where to go?"

Shane paused, putting his hands on the mirrors and looking around. Then he looked up and grinned. "Hey. Sing."

"What?" Reed stared, incredulous from the corner he'd found himself in. "This isn't the time to—"

"Go on, sing! I'll sing with you—and I'll try to head for the sound of your voice, and you head towards me."

"That's ridiculous."

"Better ideas?"

Silence.

"Hey, you did say you were nervous for the solo!" called Shane cheerily. "It'll help calm the nerves since you'll have to bail for the prep as soon as we get out."

Reed winced. And in that, he was right. He sighed deeply and suffixed it a grumble.

Shane stood for a moment, listening in the silence, and then he heard Reed's voice rising from somewhere in the distance.

I'm still feeling the rain fall, bouncing off my skin.

How long do I have to wait for the sun to shine again?

Come out and paint me a rainbow, so I can follow it.

I don't know where it will take me, but I like wandering…

Shane smiled widely, heading for that direction, eyes lighting up at the sound of Reed's voice—following it like a beacon. Yes! he grinned.

Reed kept moving through the path he was on, looking around with a smile, finding one that led towards where he last heard Shane's voice sound from. He raised his voice, hoping it leads Shane to him.

Whoever you are, where will you be?

Are you the same old dreamer I've been waiting on for me?

Waiting for love, waiting for the same old dreamer on the other side,

Hoping no matter how far, I'm gonna find my way to you…

Following a rainbow…

Shane grinned as he found a path through a set of mirrors that led towards the voice. He raised his own voice, hoping Reed was also heading towards him as he increased his pace. He felt a little excited, a little hopeful, hoping that the song wasn't just a song—hoping that it was just a little bit more.

I'm gonna stop in the middle, hang my feet off the edge.

I got no reason to worry, I know I'll find the end;

And that's where you'll be waiting; I hope you don't forget,

That I won't quit 'til I find you, no matter the risks…

Reed blushed considerably at the sound of Shane's voice and happily went towards his direction. He had been at a loss with two different paths, but his voice led him to the correct one. As he moved forward, he could hear Shane's voice getting closer, and he began to smile again.

Whoever you are, where will you be?

Are you the same old dreamer I've been waiting on for me?

Waiting for love, waiting for the same old dreamer on the other side,

Hoping no matter how far, I'm gonna find my way to you…

Following a rainbow…

They were very close now, almost to the other side of the hall. And their voices were getting closer to each other. When Reed found a path, he could hear Shane's voice joining his so clearly that he must've been only on the other side of the wall again now, the two of them singing to each other easily.

Stuck in my mind—I'm wasting time—Still on my own—

I never thought that I would find my way into the light;

Dreaming to find…

Reed's fingers, trailing over the mirror wall, brushed against a pair of real ones. He looked up to find Shane standing there at the opening in the path, smiling brightly at him. Reed laughed, looking up at him, and gave him a hug of relief, startling the other boy, but Shane laughed in answer.

Whoever you are, where will you be?

Are you the same old dreamer I've been waiting on for me?

Waiting for love, waiting for the same old dreamer on the other side,

Hoping no matter how far, I'm gonna find my way to you…

Following a rainbow…

Shane took Reed's hand and led him down the single path that they now found, where a door was waiting on the other end. They'd found the end of the maze at last. He half expected Reed to let go of his hand as they headed down this path, but Reed kept his hand easily in his, walking with him.

I know I'm gonna find you, I know.

I know I'm gonna find you.

I know I'm gonna find you,

I'm never gonna let you go…

They reached the door at last and Reed sighed deeply in relief. Before they could even touch it, the door immediately opened.

The Tweedles were standing there with bright grins. "Congratulations," Evan commented casually.

"You two must've set the all-time record." Ethan replied.

"…for longest time taken to get through the hall," they chorused together, cracking up into hysterical laughter—so hard that the nearly fell over.

Dwight, who was standing next to them, sighed. "I don't know where Charlie is, but why I have to take care of all of you is beyond me," he commented irritably. "I brought the Twins, but they insisted on waiting for you two to figure it out on your own."

"Thanks, still," grinned Shane.

Dwight noted that they were holding hands and raised an eyebrow. Reed noticed where he was looking and turned red, but his hold on Shane's hand only tightened a little bit more. Dwight glanced at him, then shrugged. "Well. It looks like you two have worked it out. However, it won't please you to know that demonic interference of the Stuart kind have prevented Blaine and Kurt from working it out as of yet."

"Logan again?" Shane demanded.

"No, that House in general has vindictive occupants," Dwight said coolly. "Han told me that the Stuarts have called Blaine and Kurt off to their respective duties before they could properly talk. Honestly, I've tried to exorcise that House from its caffeinated regime of terror, but it appears I'll need a hunter army to take down evil of that level."

"Han is actually out…in daylight?" Reed stared. "…is he breathing?"

"He's got wireless internet, he'll live," Dwight dismissed. He looked at Reed. "Aren't you supposed to be preparing to sing? All of you supposed 'lead performers'?" he glared at the twins.

Reed paled, realizing the time. In moments, dusk would fall. The Warblers were supposed to bring in a final, grand performance. He was going to solo in front of the assembled crowd and he felt the blood drain rapidly from his face.

"You'll be all right," Shane smiled at him.

"You'll…be watching, won't you?" Reed asked him, half afraid of a yes and a no.

Shane looked at him incredulously. "Reed. I got hit by a landslide not very long ago. I'm supposed to be in recovery period. And yet I'm here. You realize that means even natural disasters can't stop me from watching you sing?"

"Leave now, please, you can continue all this sap later…" Dwight said, pushing the Windsor Warblers off to the direction of the stage, looking supremely grossed out by all the mush that was happening.

"You'll make a good prefect someday, you know, taking care of everyone like this," Evan suddenly said, grinning at Dwight, who stared at him and his twin, questioning their sanity for the fifth time that day (the average was usually eight).

"True," Ethan agreed, also smirking. "Hey, we're not going to be here forever. When we graduate, you'll be turning into senior. Someone'll have to take over."

Dwight only snorted and rolled his eyes. "I seriously doubt that. I'll be far too busy making sure all the occupants of the house are alive and un-maimed."

"Well what do you know, that's exactly how Charlie describes his job…" Reed beamed.

Dwight pushed them all on, the twins running ahead as Shane held onto Reed's hand again and ran after them. He grumbled to himself as they went off, but realized something.

"Where is Charlie?" Dwight wondered out loud, looking around. Instead of following after the others, he stopped in his pace and glanced about, feeling something amiss.

It came completely out of left field and though Dwight had some ideas of his own psychic capabilities (which could either be truly accurate or completely nonexistent), he was sure he felt a bad vibe coming from somewhere else—somewhere not too far off.

He turned to the direction he felt it in and realized why: Julian and some boy he didn't recognize were off by the courtyard steps behind South and Main. Now, in Dwight's good days, he'd never really been fond of the Stuart celebrity, but there was something different about the vibes.

Julian was sitting at the steps, staring so hard onto the ground that something was liable to catch fire. But he didn't look angry. Just as though he were trying to sort himself out. And the boy Dwight didn't recognize looked completely distressed in his condition.

There was something wrong here, Dwight knew it. But he couldn't put his finger exactly on what. Was it the fact that Julian, far from all his usual candor, was now sitting as though he'd just been at the wake of some great tragedy that he still couldn't properly react to?

Julian and the new boy looked like they were having an argument: the new boy trying to get something out of Julian, repeatedly asking him questions, but the actor—after ignoring several of his queries—was just too annoyed and got irritated with him. Whatever they were talking about, it looked serious.

Finally Julian got completely fed up and left. Dwight watched the new boy who clenched his fists as Julian vanished into the dimming light of the day. His fists were getting clenched so tightly that Dwight stared when he saw him positively shaking. The new boy looked around for a moment, a little disoriented, and he had to take a deep breath.

A deep, calming breath.

Rather spooked, Dwight stepped back and nearly ran right over Laura Bancroft. He jumped away from her, brushing off the contact in the hasty manner of someone who perpetually feared contamination of some kind. Laura was hardly bothered about that, but she looked up at him with wide eyes. "Did you see that?" she hissed to him without hesitation, nodding back to Adam, who was still standing there.

"Yeah," Dwight looked back and turned to her. "Do you know him?"

"Julian Larson, if the talking fangirls are to be trusted—and that boy over there, he's Adam. At least I heard someone say it. He's from Hanover, where my brother is."

"Well don't you think he's a little strange, that Adam guy…?" Dwight remarked, glancing back again. "And I don't expect you understand, but coming from a Windsor…"

Laura gave him a blank look. "…you don't know a whole lot of Hanover boys, do you?"


"Hey Hummel."

Kurt, who had been sent on an errand to retrieve something back at Warblers' Hall just before the group went onstage for their performance, nearly jumped out of his skin when Julian appeared behind him. He glowered at the Stuart, who was looking a little white today, and he began wondering why everyone in this whole school seemed to like ambushing him. Oh the price of fame—where he was virtually ignored in McKinley, everything fell to him—good or bad—here in Dalton. "You're worse than the twins. You just pop up out of nowhere," he told him.

"I'm going to get straight to the point," Julian said calmly. He walked right up to Kurt and extended his hand.

Kurt stared at the hand outstretched to him. "What is this for…?"

"I concede." Julian said with finality, a big smile on his face. Kurt, who had by now known what the smile of someone who may or may not have lost it completely looked like, recognized that look immediately.

"Concede to what?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.

"You don't need to know that in particular." Julian lowered his hand and shoved them into his jacket pockets. He shrugged. "But you win. I'm tired. I'm leaving."

Surprised, Kurt turned to him fully. "Tired of what? School?" He had heard from the others that Julian had a habit of appearing and disappearing from school due to his schedules, but as he always came back, Kurt assumed that the actor enjoyed being in Dalton.

Julian only shrugged. "Yes, but mainly, of Logan. I'm going. So he's basically your problem now."

"Wait—what did he do now?" Kurt asked, frowning. "And what do you mean he's my problem?"

"He hasn't done anything," Julian shrugged. "That's the problem here on my end… And he's your problem now because it'll mean that apart from Derek, you're going to be the only one left who cares about him."

"You're leaving Dalton. Permanently?" Kurt stared at him incredulously. "Have you told him?"

Julian glowered at him. "He doesn't own me nor run my life. He doesn't need to have a say in anything."

"That's a 'no'." Kurt crossed his arms and frowned at him as he moved a little closer. "I don't know what the deal is exactly that you keep trying to push me at him, but I can tell you that your I-could-care-less act doesn't work on me."

"Really." Julian's expression was as placid—and just about as cold—as a frozen pond.

"You haven't been turned down by a whole lot of people in your life, have you?" Kurt said, raising an eyebrow. "Believe me, I know unrequited bitterness when I see it. Firsthand experience. So you're not fooling me."

For the first time, Julian's face flickered in an expression of actual respect. He nodded slowly and leaned back, hooking his thumbs onto his pants pockets as a hollow laugh escaping him. "Right…"

"Mm-hmm…" Kurt gave him a smile that was far too knowing.

"Interesting of you to notice when he's the one who's been exposed to it all these years… I'd ask you not to tell him, but I don't think you will anyway."

"I won't?"

Julian shrugged. "Because it's not your secret to tell and you've been raised better than I've been—you actually have principles. That's your weakness." He leaned forward to Kurt. "But I don't have that. So I'm going to do the irresponsible thing and drop him onto your lap, because I'm really really tired of it."

"You and he are friends," Kurt pointed out. "He needs you right now and you know it. And you know how he's been. He doesn't have a whole lot of friends. You won't just drop him because you feel like it."

"Oh believe me, I will. I've done it before."

"But from what I hear, you always come back." Kurt matched his gaze without a twinge of doubt. "That's the trouble, right? It's not something you can just turn your back from. I haven't even known him all that long and I'm worried about his situation."

Julian snorted in derision. "You may know how it feels, but you don't know me."

Kurt stepped up to him, completely unimpressed by the other boy's bravado. With all he's seen, the spoiled actor wasn't even on his radar. "I know I've only actually talked to you a few times, but from this conversation alone I can already tell that you're more than willing to swallow your ego for his sake. And seeing as how you're probably more self-absorbed than I am, which is saying something, that's definitely a sign that you're not going to push away from him that easily."

Julian glared at him and Kurt smiled. "You're not leaving, Julian. I really don't think you are. You can say you will, but I really think you're going to come back just to make sure he's okay. Because even if you're not planning on telling him, he means too much to you." He backed away from the actor and started walking towards Warblers' Hall.

Julian clenched his fists and glared after him. "Since when did you turn into such a know-it-all?" he yelled.

"I was actually fishing—but thanks for confirming!" Kurt called back, as he grinned and strolled on. "Good luck in telling him! Try singing! Seems to be all the rage nowadays in glee clubs!"

"You're going to start holding this over my head, aren't you?" Julian asked with a little less conviction and actually starting to sound a little worried.

He received a laugh in reply. A "Windsor" one, as Stuarts tended to call it now—since it was a laugh that meant "just wait and see".

Julian groaned in the corridor, clawing in the air momentarily in frustration before stomping off. He should have known this was going to be a bad idea. There was just no talking to a Windsor. But for the record, at least he now had an idea of what Logan sees in the boy.


When Kurt closed the door of Warblers' Hall, he leaned back on it and let out his breath out of sheer exhaustion. It was a far far longer day than he had expected out of this crazy fair, and being woken up much too early for it without being given all that much time to rest took a toll. He couldn't wait for the day to be officially over—and then he'd book the twins himself to have them do some retaliation on those sadistic Stuarts.

Kurt dropped himself on one of the couches and found himself sinking completely into them, facedown, feeling spent. He knew he should be getting up, he knew he should just get what he was supposed to get, go out, give it to the stage crew and help the Warblers prep for their performance, go check if Finn was out of the bathroom yet and send him home to Burt and Carole if he hadn't recovered, but right now, he couldn't will himself to get up.

He started to doze off a little, feeling too warm and comfortable, wanting to be alone for once, in a place where he could block out everything that he'd seen and heard today. He wanted to forget Warblerland for a few moments, and just be somewhere safe.

Warmth was starting to emanate from the small of his back, and half-asleep, he realized a hand was there, resting just carefully enough to catch his attention without forcibly trying to wake him. Kurt mumbled into the cushions, "…I'll drive you home later, Finn…"

A quiet laugh. "Are you still dreaming, Alice…?"

Surprised, Kurt cracked an eye open, and saw Blaine kneeling next to the couch, smiling a little at him. Kurt smiled back faintly. "…you scared me for a minute there."

"I told you I'd come find you," he said simply. "If you're this tired, I'll tell them you had to go back to Windsor." But he let Kurt take his hand to use it as a support to get up and sit properly on the couch.

"No…" Kurt let out his breath as he sat down. Blaine didn't quite let go of his hand, so he squeezed Blaine's hand a little. "…we did say we were going to figure all this out."

"Yeah…" Blaine sat down next to him. Kurt noted that he didn't have his walkie talkie with him. Clearly, he was not interested in getting interrupted a second time. "This really is… Well…I think this didn't have to last as long as it has. That and, if it goes on any longer, I am completely convinced that Mercedes will come to end me. And bury my body in the woods."

Kurt laughed a little with him, looking down. Blaine also turned away with a small smile, seemingly glad to also have earned a laugh and some degree of comfort between them. Their hands rested on the couch within an inch of the other's, but not quite touching.

Blaine closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Listen… I'm sor—"

"Stop." Kurt looked at him intently. "Stop right there."

Blaine stared at him. "But—"

"Well I don't want to listen to it," Kurt answered simply, even though he was clenching his fists over his knees now.

"Why not?" Blaine almost laughed at the intent look on Kurt's face.

"Because it's been made clear that we were both wrong somewhere." Kurt looked out the window. "And we were both right at the same time. No one wins."

"Kurt, I…" Blaine shook his head. "Kurt, what I did… It was the first test between us as a couple and I bombed it. I failed it royally. I should have trusted you and instead…" He stared at him for a long moment before adding, "…I can't pretend I didn't do that."

"I'm not saying you're to pretend you didn't, because you did." Kurt replied. "And I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't hurt by it… I'm also not going to pretend that I was completely sure that I wouldn't be leading Logan along by doing all those things with him. And that…I didn't tell you everything because I knew you would think…well, exactly what we fought about. If I had just told you what I intended, I don't think this would've blown up like this either."

"Well…I haven't told you everything," Blaine admitted.

Kurt shook his head. "…we actually need to talk more. Never thought that would happen to us considering all the talking we do when we're together…"

"And I didn't think I'd ever feel this jealous ever," Blaine commented.

"You were jealous…" Kurt looked at him with the most fleeting smirk.

"Obviously," Blaine smiled at him. "Can't really blame me for wanting to hold onto you as badly as I do." He sighed. "It's the worst I've been. I've got it bad with you and…" he shrugged. "It makes me do really stupid things."

Kurt bit his lip at the arbitrary openness, smiling a little bit as he laid his hand on Blaine's, holding it tightly and making the other boy look at him.

Blaine squeezed his hand. "You know what I was afraid of the most all this time…? That…I would lose definitely lose you—especially after that big blowup. Would've been the stupidest thing I've ever done."

"If you ended with another miserable playlist, I think Wes and David would be prepared to have Dwight actually exorcise you."

"I'm serious," Blaine smiled a little, lacing his fingers in Kurt's, who only shrugged lightly.

"Well," Kurt murmured, eyes distant, "…I suppose that while I did have my misgivings, I figured we were going to eventually talk about it. We'd have to. We're both…really tired of running. And we wouldn't be running away from one another…"

Kurt got up and walked to the window, where the sun was steadily sinking. Blaine watched him with a quiet expression.

There was a pause that hung in the air, as if the both of them were still waiting for something more to be said. Kurt was staring out the window as the sun died, and considering what he wanted to say to him and wondering if he even had to say it at all. Outside, he could see people gathered towards the direction of the stage, possibly watching the Warblers. He smiled a little sadly.

"…we were supposed to sing together for Valentines' Day…" Kurt murmured at last. "I wanted to sing with you. In front of a crowd. It might've been a nice change from all the other disappointing Valentines' Days. I get to spend it with my first boyfriend."

Blaine stood slowly and turned to him. "I thought you didn't believe in Valentines' Day."

"Today proves the reason why," Kurt replied with a small smile as he looked at Blaine. "We kind of messed it up, didn't we?"

"You know us, though," Blaine said, walking to him. "We're always fashionably late, but we do make it." He reached out and took Kurt's hand again.

Kurt looked down at their linked hands and laughed softly, lowering his head. "At some point in the past days, when we couldn't even look at each other… I had this really persistent thought at the back of my mind. You know me, I may tend to get a little…dramatic, but Reed tells me that this particular moment was noteworthy."

He sighed. "I was probably staring at the songsheets a long time before I realized that I…" He stopped himself momentarily, looking as though to have to admit this was embarrassing already. Blaine waited, but made a small start when Kurt blinked away the strange expression he was trying to hide. "I don't want to…to sing this damn song with anyone else but you. And I want to do it without hate radiating from either one of us."

Kurt licked his dry lips and shrugged a little, staring at anywhere except Blaine. "You know which one. The one we kept practicing before they even assigned the partners. …that's all I wanted during that time, and it was just stuck in my head." He laughed shortly. "We were fighting and all I could think of was singing with you. Can you believe that…?"

Blaine looked steadily at him, so many things about Kurt's words he was willing to refute. So he began with the most important. "…that's the thing…I never actually hated you. Not for a single minute. Ever." He walked a little closer. "Why…would you ever think that I would hate you? I mean you might hate me, and I wouldn't really blame you, but the reverse is…"

Kurt didn't look up at him. "I told you. It was just a thought, most likely induced by temporary insanity. Seems to be prevalent in that House we stay in."

There was a strangeness in that distance, that made it just enough for them to see everything they had to. A pocket of time where everything hung silently in the air, pieces waiting to fall perfectly to place, and laced with some hoping—that they would fall to place.

Blaine reached out and touched Kurt's face to make him look at him. Kurt did lift his eyes, and Blaine stared at him as though he were trying to completely memorize his face right at this moment. This was a surprise to Kurt, who looked up at him in askance, wondering why the mood changed so suddenly, and why it became just that little warmer, just that little more vulnerable, and just so slightly urgent.

"If…it's all right…" Blaine murmured, leaning a little bit closer, thumb brushing Kurt's cheek gently.

Kurt's breath caught a little as Blaine came closer, staring intently into the eyes that looked at him with earnest pleading. He felt Blaine's hand tremble a little, and he lifted his own to cover the one on his cheek. Blaine's breath was warm. "…can we please try again…?" Blaine asked softly.

Kurt's eyes misted over a little, a tremulous smile on his lips. Blaine saw the look on his face and pulled him close against him, holding tightly as though he'd been waiting an eternity for this chance, and in some ways, it had certainly felt like it. As Blaine brought him close, Kurt's arms wrapped around Blaine's shoulders and he held on just as tightly, hoping that his arms didn't shake so obviously, secure with no intention of letting go.

"I'm sorry…" Blaine whispered into Kurt's shoulder, holding more tightly. "I'm so sorry…"

Kurt closed his eyes and held on just as tightly in answer, taking a shuddering breath, fighting back the sting in his eyes and speaking so low he could only be heard in the silence. "I'm sorry…" he whispered in return, clutching tight.

Neither of them could have really won. And pride was seldom worth holding onto when one begins to consider that there might be something much bigger to lose. Didn't this sort of thing happen all the time between people? There went that wordless feeling of wondering why they even were estranged to begin with—it lasts only a fleeting moment, just quickly enough to be meaningless after it burnt away—against the realization that they could try again, treading more carefully this time.

In the silence, Kurt could feel everything. He could feel Blaine's heart pounding, the warm hand that rested against the back of his head, holding him that little big closer, and the other arm securely around his waist. He wondered if Blaine felt the warm tears that fell onto his shoulder, the ones he hadn't wanted him to see but found their way through anyway.

Maybe he did. Blaine just held onto Kurt for a long, quiet moment, his body relaxing slightly as he felt Kurt breathe against him. Maybe that was why when he began, he began so softly, as though it were almost a lullaby. Just to soothe the wounds neither of them could see.

Never knew I could feel like this

Like I've never seen the sky before…

I want to vanish inside your kiss

Every day I love more and more…

Kurt raised his eyes to him, heart beating just that little bit faster as he recognized the song within the first line. Blaine took Kurt's face into his hands carefully, the way people did when they were worried they'd shatter something if they held on too tightly.

Blaine leaned his forehead against Kurt's, not quite raising his eyes to him yet. There wasn't a whole lot he could do for him at this exact moment, but this…they both needed this.

Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing?

Telling me to give you everything…

Seasons may change, winter to spring…

Blaine now looked directly at him with a small smile. "But I love you…until the end of time…"

Kurt's eyes welled up again, breath almost held bated as Blaine continued to sing, with his hands slipping down until they took Kurt's own, closing over them gently.

Come what may

Come what may

I will love you until my dying day…

Kurt looked up at him, smiling tremulously through the mists in his eyes. This was much more than those endless practices, it meant much more now—everything had changed in a few days, and somehow, they were going to find their way back.

He held onto Blaine's hands and gently began to sing in answer.

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place…

Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace…

Voices lifting together, they stood a little closer, eyes never leaving each other: "Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste…"

And Kurt smiled at Blaine, whose eyes just lit up in a way that Kurt never really thought he'd ever cause anyone to do when looking at him. "It all revolves around you…" he sang, holding his hands.

Blaine brought him close, as their voices rose together again to ring through the room, their fingers lacing through each other's.

And there's no mountain too high no river too wide

Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side…

Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide…

Blaine gazed at him with a gentle smile. "But I love you…

"I love you…" Kurt responded, face flushing just slightly.

"Until the end of time…" They both sang, as outside, beyond the great glass windows, the fair lights illuminated in succession, piercing through the darkness that was falling over the school—hundreds of lights of brilliant lights filling the scene, carpeting the Dalton grounds and etching the scene against the black.

Come what may, come what may…

I will love you until my dying day…

Oh come what may, come what may…

I will love you…

"I will love you…" Kurt murmured, looking intently at Blaine and the light reflecting in his eyes. "Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place…"

Blaine pulled him closer, kissing him briefly, sharing a breath.

And without warning, beyond in the fairgrounds, fireworks soared into the sky. The Warblers must have finished their performance long ago—riots of light and color erupted all over the darkened skies, filling the air with light and sound, dropping thousands of sparks earthward like magic.

The pair in the Hall could barely acknowledge the brilliance that flared over the windows of the room they stood in—too engrossed with each other, eyes full of hope.

Come what may…

Come what may…

I will love you until my dying day…

Fireworks continued to burst even as their voices stilled, eyes never leaving each other, breathing deeply as though to catch their breaths—as though they narrowly escaped drowning in a storm, and maybe they did.

Kurt was just about to catch his breath when Blaine stopped it again by moving forward and kissing him more deeply than before, hand moving up to cup Kurt's cheek as he did. Kurt's face grew warm, and he responded to the kiss, hand leaning on the side of Blaine's neck.

They were never more grateful for one song.

And then Warblers' Hall erupted into cheering and applause.

The two broke apart and turned with wide eyes to find the Warblers at the wide-open doorway, hooting and catcalling as they applauded so hard that Kurt could see Reed's hands turning scarlet. Shane was with him jumping up and down and forgetting his foot again—and the New Directions stood with them, also grinning from ear to ear. Harvey and Medel stood at the door, smiling a little, but they too were quietly clapping.

Reed was laughing hard. "Okay now we'll consider forgiving you for not watching us perform!" he said, smirking at his roommate.

"Finally!" Wes said, throwing his hands into the air, Mercedes turning her eyes to the ceiling in relieved agreement.

"Great song!" Bailey grinned, applauding.

"Perfect timing on the fireworks, though—wow…" Finn said, blinking at the windows, where fireworks continued to burst. The Twins looked at each other and discreetly gave themselves high fives—actually, the fireworks ran earlier than scheduled, but it had to come at the perfect moment. They made sure that a certain Caterpillar rigged it just so.

Artie was whistling and Santana was smirking at the pair in the hall who clearly neglected to close the door prior to their private performance. The Warblers had intended to return to the Hall to have a meeting, and the New Directions had headed off with them, after Finn expressed needing to find Kurt.

Kurt laughed a little, but he and Blaine looked up in surprise to see Logan standing among the Warblers. He was smiling a little as well—a more genuine one than they both had seen in a while—as he too clapped his hands. He gave them both a small nod, which was in itself an acknowledgement. It told the pair his intentions of retreat.

Kurt looked at Blaine, who continued to keep his eyes on Logan. Blaine, still standing close to Kurt, gave him a soft nod in answer. Logan just smiled a little more and carefully stepped back from the Warblers, past the others, and vanished into the hallway beyond.

Here Kurt turned to Blaine a moment, considering something before whispering, "I have to talk to you about something later, all right?"

Blaine looked at him in surprise and nodded. "All right."

"Okay, settle, settle." Harvey said, clapping hard to get their attention. "Since we seem to have visitors in the Hall…" and he smiled at New Directions, who grinned back at him, "…we'll have to forgo the post-performance meeting."

Rachel's face fell slightly. Tina giggled.

"But, for the benefit of the two absent ones…" he raised an eyebrow at Blaine and Kurt, who blushed. "I'll repeat that you all did excellently today."

Shane grinned at Reed, who beamed up at him. The Tweedles winked at Brittany, who laughed.

"If we keep this up, we'll be more than ready for Regionals. Where you'll be waiting, I assume," he added to New Directions, and Rachel grinned now. "Absolutely!" she said proudly.

"Bring it, Mr. Harvey," Mercedes laughed.

"It will be 'brought', don't worry," Harvey assured her with a smile. "Though I must admit…" he looked at the set of Warblers and New Directions kids that performed in the middle of the day. "You all do seem to work well together."

Medel looked pleased. "That's always a good sign, you know. We should try that again sometime—in a non-competition setting. I wonder what Will Schuester would think of that."

There was a roar of eager assent from everyone in the room and Harvey had to calm them all down again. "That's enough for one day, I think, everyone—go on. Get out of here—remember to prepare for Parents' Night with your song suggestions and sign up, those interested for the leads."

"What's Parents' Night?" Tina asked David as the whole mass started to head out of the hall.

David smiled wanly. "Hell night, mostly."

"All the parents and guardians come all fancy, mainly to be briefed on what has happened in the year so far," said Evan. Ethan nodded, "We're supposed to perform for them, the best ones get awarded, all that pomp and circumstance."

"Why is it hell night, then?" Rachel asked, brow furrowed. "Aren't you glad to be performing in front of such an exclusive audience?"

"Because we all do this in front of the most judging eyes in the planet: our parents," Wes grumbled as they left the room.

Kurt and Blaine followed the others out the hall, but Harvey stopped them. He looked intently at the two of them, still with hands linked. He seemed to consider them for a moment and said, "If it helps, I've still been back and forth about letting the two of you take the lead on Parents' Night. And not just because you are two of our best."

"You did already show some improvement," Medel said with a smile. "We were told you worked very hard throughout the fair… Even Logan did rather well today. And your fellow Warblers expressed missing you onstage with them."

Kurt smiled a little—but not too much. Wouldn't want to seem too overeager now…

Harvey and Medel glanced at each other, and finally, Harvey said, "All right, well… We will allow all three of you to try out for the Parents' Night lead. Preference will still go to the current leads—Reed and the twins, but should your fellow Warblers elect you, you may take the stage."

"We need two leads—just two, separate soloists." Medel nodded, ignoring the look of hope that was definitely rising in Kurt's eyes. "So you should prepare."

"Thank you, sir," Blaine nodded with a smile to the director. Harvey put a hand to Blaine's shoulder. "I need to borrow you for a moment, I want to speak to you about your brother."

Blaine looked confused. "Shane? What about him?"

"Well, I happened to see him in action today…" and he led Blaine away down the hall, the worried boy letting go of Kurt's hand as he followed the director.

Kurt was left with Medel, who he now turned to. Medel smiled at him and said, "I'm very glad you and Blaine have worked things out. It must have been difficult for the both of you. And from what it appears…Logan has calmed down some. I'm hoping things will improve."

"Same here, Miss Medel," Kurt answered.

He paused for a moment, wondering if he should—it was jumping terribly to conclusions, but what else could it be?—but if she couldn't even tell Harvey, she probably needed all the support she could get. Quinn and Babygate didn't exactly leave Kurt with pleasant memories about unplanned pregnancies. He took her hands quickly with a hasty smile across his features. "Miss Medel. Are you okay?"

Puzzled, the female director stared at him. "Oh, yes, of course I am."

"It's just that…I did see you sick the other day," Kurt told her, giving her a meaningful look.

She didn't catch on. "Oh, I told you—I was just a little nauseated."

"You were also sick today," Kurt added emphatically.

"Oh that…was just the cookies." Her smile began to flicker a little.

Kurt stared at her with wide eyes. "Okay…well…" and he said this slowly, "I just wanted you to know… that I've seen this kind of thing before with some people I know and..." He looked intently at her. "You can trust me."

Medel stared at him, still a little unsure, but her hands tightened on his. "What do you mean?"

"… I'm just saying I can look out for you a little bit, if you need help."

It must have dawned on her at last, because her hands tightened onto Kurt's hands a little more. "Kurt…you're a very good kid and an excellent student," she began, sounding a little shaky. "But…I think that you and I can agree…to keep this between the both of us for a little bit. All right?" she said, widening her eyes at him.

"I told you," Kurt replied, wondering if she realized that she was cutting off the circulation in his hands. "You can trust me."

Medel looked worried. "Have you… Have you spoken of this to anyone…? My, um…situation?"

Kurt felt a pang of alarm. Reed knew. He was there, he heard everything. But he forced a smile at Medel and lied beautifully. "No, of course I haven't."

Relief flashed through her eyes. "All right. Let's…let's drop the subject now, all right? I will be all right." And by that, she means that this shall not be spoken of. Ever again. There was finality in that.

Kurt nodded. "I understand." He let go of her hands. "I'll see you tomorrow, Miss Medel."

"Tomorrow…" Medel nodded, watching him with still a pang of worry as he now walked off down the corridor, following after Harvey and Blaine, who had moved to the direction of the exits along with the other Warblers.

When Kurt arrived at the doors of South and Main, Blaine ran up to him, looking a little frazzled. "What?" Kurt asked as he went up to him, exiting the doors along with him. "What did Harvey want?"

"He saw Shane perform in that dance battle," Blaine grumbled. "He asked me if Shane could sing."

Kurt's eyes widened. "…you're saying…"

"It was just a thought—at least I'm praying it's just a thought," Blaine answered, looking a little huffy. "He asked me why Shane was in another school while I was in this one. I told him it was Shane's decision to go to Walcott—he didn't tell me why."

"He asked if Shane would consider a transfer to Dalton?" Kurt smirked.

"Please don't start scaring me, Kurt, really, it's too much," Blaine dropped his face into his hand as they arrived at the front steps and found the other boys waiting for them there. "I've been in school with Shane before and I can tell you right now that it prepped me for entering Windsor."

"What's this about me?" Shane grinned as they reached them.

"Nothing," Blaine answered coolly. "That you're a handful."

"Apparently I am," Shane said ruefully to Reed, who just laughed at him. "Always been. I've got a long, documented history of handful-ness."

At the word "history", a thought flashed into Kurt's mind and he turned to Blaine immediately. "And speaking of telling each other everything, I met a girl today who was looking for you. Said you had history with her? What was that all about?" He crossed his arms over his chest.

Blaine looked at him, puzzled. "A girl?"

Even Shane looked surprised and turned to his brother. "Don't tell me that one of your fake dates actually tracked you down."

"What? No!" Blaine stared. "I would've heard about it—"

"Wow, this family history goes a little further than we assumed…" David stared at the two Andersons.

"Well there was a talking flower looking for Blaine earlier," Evan commented, tilting his head. "Brown hair, nice stems, very pretty with long brown hair."

"What?" Blaine asked, confused and avoiding the intense stare from Kurt.

"That talking flower!" Ethan suddenly said, pointing.

And that she was. The girl Kurt had met earlier was running through the slowly dispersing crowd of the fairground towards Blaine in a direct line, looking wildly elated. "Blaine!" she cried, waving.

Blaine looked up and saw her, momentarily startled, and then his face immediately lit up in absolute amazement. "Oh my god… Rebecca! I don't believe it!" He ran forward and immediately hugged her as she reached him. She kissed his cheek and patted his shoulders, looking very delighted.

Kurt's jaw dropped. Blaine looked thrilled. "What—when did you come? How long have you been in Ohio?"

"Rebecca?" Shane said, looking also surprised and quite happy.

"Shane's here too!" Rebecca burst out, looking even happier as she also gave him a tight hug. "I thought you went to school in Colorado!"

"I do—came for a visit—"

"Hello, we're still in the dark here," Kurt prompted to his boyfriend, who jumped. Blaine laughed a little. "Oh, no, Kurt it's not like that. This is Rebecca, she's—"

He was cut off by the wildly excited girl. "Finally, Blaine! We've been looking for you everywhere in this fair, you wouldn't stand still for a minute!" She immediately turned behind her and started waving, jumping up and down as excitedly as Shane did earlier. "Honey! Sweetie, over here! I finally found Blaine!"

That was when a lovely girl in jeans, running shoes and a leather jacket approached, her beautiful red hair free over her shoulders. If Kurt thought Blaine looked amazed when he saw Rebecca, it was nothing compared to the shock he had now upon seeing the redhead.

"Oh my god…Erin!" Blaine gasped, immediately grabbing her into a hug without hesitation. "Oh my god, you're here! You're actually here!"

"I actually am!" the redhead laughed, hugging him tightly back. "It's been so long! Man, Blaine, this is—I'm so glad to see you again! Been ages!" She stared at him, hands on his shoulders. "…and you haven't grown an inch."

"You—!"

"Erin!" Shane burst out and tackled the girl to the ground to Reed's amazement.

"Hot damn—you're here too, you little wiggleworm?" the redhead grumbled from the ground. "Have you changed at all, Shane? Either of you?" But she snorted back a laugh as she got up with him, clearly pleased to see him.

"Erin…?" Reed whispered to Kurt, wondering if his friend knew any more than he did. Kurt thought back for a moment and looked at Reed, realizing. "Erin…? As in…from your old school Erin?" Kurt added, staring at Blaine. "One of your 'Fabulous Five'?"

"You still call us that?" Erin asked Blaine, her expression softening a little.

"Of course I do," Blaine answered with a smile. Rebecca looked pleased at the response, smiling and squeezing Erin's hand. "See?" she said, leaning her head on Erin's shoulder. "I told you he'd be same as ever."

"Same with you two," Shane snorted as Erin slipped an arm around Rebecca's waist to give her a quick kiss on the lips. The relationship between Erin and Rebecca dawned over everyone instantaneously—the twins groaning a little in understanding at why they were so rebuffed earlier, and what she actually meant by "girlfriend".

Erin suddenly broke away from Rebecca. "Oh what am I doing? I haven't gotten to the most important part!" She grabbed Blaine's hands. "You're never going to believe this—I swear, you're not."

"Please tell me you're not transferring to Dobry Hall or something," Blaine said, almost afraid of the answer if he was going by the red-haired firecracker's eagerness.

"What the hell is Dobry Hall? No!—I mean—shut up for five seconds!" Erin looked as wildly elated as Rebecca, who Shane was introducing to a still-confused Reed. "We knew we had to come here straight away to tell you!"

"Tell me what?" Blaine stared. "Are you parents taking you back? Are you running again? Olympics? What?"

"Wow, you don't shut up."

"I do try to make him, sometimes." Kurt answered.

"And this must be the boyfriend Becca told me about," grinned Erin, scooping Kurt up into a quick bear hug. "Aaah, finally. Word of advice: when he starts doing crazy things like climbing furniture, just pull him down, he'll be fine. Distract him from his internal crazy."

"I do, a lot, apparently," Kurt smirked at Blaine, who turned crimson.

Erin waved it away and said, "What am I saying? I still haven't told you!"

"Told me what?" Blaine finally demanded.

Reed stared at Shane, wondering why he was standing there, white as a sheet and unmoving. He looked like he was in shock. He touched his hand. "Shane? Shane, what's wrong?"

Rebecca turned around with the others, smiling as she did when she saw what Shane was staring at. "He's here."

"He…?" Reed asked.

Kurt stared at the tall, lean, brown-haired boy that walked up to them, dressed in rather nice preppy clothes and wearing a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. His smile was kind, but his eyes looked tired. But those eyes have yet to ever leave Shane.

"We found him, can you believe it?" Erin hissed wildly to a similarly-stricken Blaine. "We thought we'd never see him again but we found him! We ran into him in a San Francisco book convention!"

Shane was rendered mute and paralyzed. Reed stared from him to the tall boy and back again. "Shane?"

The tall boy smiled at Shane, looking rather apologetic. "…hi."

Shane unstuck his throat, his voice sounding distant. "…you…"

Kurt looked at Blaine, who said, utterly floored, "…Micah."

Erin and Rebecca were grinning eagerly, and all the other Windsors looked confused. But Kurt knew who Micah was, and, from the look on Shane and Blaine's faces, and as he now turned his small roommate, who looked anxious—as though he was starting to make a terrible and accurate guess—that they weren't out of the woods at all.

They had only just gotten in.


It was late. The grounds only had the few students who were still willing to take down all the fair stuff—the others had given up and collapsed into their dorms. Bailey was just about ready to take down the recording booth when he heard someone come up behind him. "Hey, Tipton."

The Stuart Warbler turned around and found Julian standing there, looking a little pale faced, hands in his pockets. He was alone. Surprised, Bailey said, "Oh hey, Julian. What's up? You look kind of…sick. You didn't have those cookies, did you?"

"No, nah…" Julian smiled a little. He really did look subdued and Bailey was just about to offer to take him to the clinic when Julian said, "Hey, can I… uh…" He paused then just shrugged and gestured to the music booth a little despondently. "…do you think I can try that? Before you take it down?"

Bailey looked at him incredulously. What did Julian need a student-made recording booth for? He could probably book a recording in one of the hundred studios that would be more than willing to have him. "You making a CD?"

"…Yeah, whatever you want to call it…" Julian murmured, eyes to the ground. "Is it okay?"

He was even asking permission. And from everything that Bailey heard and knew, he was sure that it was finally breaking Julian down. "Sure…I mean… if you want to." He gestured to the booth. "You want me to broadcast?"

"What for…?" Julian muttered. "…no one is going to listen."

The grounds were practically empty, but Bailey was sure that this wasn't quite what Julian meant. He felt a little guilty, knowing his secret now. But if it would make him feel better… "Okay. What are you singing?"

Julian told him. Bailey felt worse now. "Julian…"

"What?"

He wasn't supposed to know anything. He was supposed to be another oblivious Stuart. But he wanted so badly to ask what was in Julian's mind right now. Why else would he want to sing by himself, cold, late in the night? He was singing to someone that would never listen, who would never know. Bailey was sure now, if he hadn't been before, that Julian had every intention of leaving.

He didn't think it would go this badly. He really thought they would fix this.

The actor in the booth sat down at a tall stool that was put there, and slipped on the headphones, eyes closed and oblivious to the fact that his classmate outside was really upset. There was enough distress in himself to even notice that Bailey was showing every sign of knowing his secret.

Kurt had the right idea—singing, that is. Maybe it would help. It was a long shot—a really long shot—but he'd tried every other way to feel better about it. For the first time since Freshman year, faced with the presence of actually being able to detach and just vanish, he couldn't push down what he felt: that feeling of being crushed underfoot and being overlooked.

He couldn't cover it up with bravado—Kurt saw right through him—he couldn't cover it up with acting like a jerk—Derek found him transparent—and he couldn't even cover it up from some fanboy new kid who didn't even know him—Adam knew it and he said so when he was with him at the steps.

Only the person who really mattered didn't notice. But how could he?

Well…it won't matter anymore. He was saying goodbye.

He caught Bailey's eye, and nodded to him. Bailey, still not liking this, just sighed to himself and played the track. As the music played, he kept his eyes intent on Julian as he carefully reached out, and hit a button the glowed red, marked "record".

Julian leaned forward to the mic, eyes closed, one hand to the headset, ready to sing within Dalton walls for one last time.

The time is right; I'm gonna pack my bags

And take that journey down the road…

Cause over the mountain I see the bright sun shining

And I want to live inside the glow

Yeah…

Bailey sat, listening to Julian sing. He was an amazing singer. But that was the problem—people who were amazing singers expressed so much emotion when they sang. And the way Julian was singing now… he almost felt he was intruding on something very private. It was something he'd never seen or expected from the lordly celebrity. He wanted to stop recording—because it was recording much more than just Julian's song.

It was recording him as the person no one will ever really see.

I wanna go to a place where I am nothing and everything…

That exists between here and nowhere…

I wanna go to a place where time has no consequences oh yeah

The sky opens to my prayers…

Julian couldn't remember packing very well. He remembered taking his clothes and personal things, and putting them into the suitcase and travel bag. He remembered leaving his uniform, schoolbooks, and all the other stuff that wasn't really his behind.

Or for that matter, everything that had the slightest remembrance of his time in Dalton Academy.

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

He remembered taking the stack of photographs by his desk. There wasn't a lot of it, but each one involved him, Derek and Logan, all the way from Freshman year. Derek said that if you flipped through them, you'd actually watch them grow a little bit taller.

Julian was in those photos the least. Mainly, Derek and Logan were present. And so the actor held them out carefully over the dustbin and let go.

He wasn't even around enough for them to miss anyway. And why should they…? What had he ever done that was worth missing him for anyway? Seriously now—

—would Logan even notice?

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

Derek came into Stuart House after talking to Murdoch in South and Main. He was desperate to get some rest. So his girlfriends caught up to him and he had a lot of explaining to do. It was over now.

He stopped when he saw the suitcases by the side of the doors to Stuart, tucked inconspicuously at the corner of the foyer. He felt his blood burn at the sight of the tags. He knew who those bags belonged to and immediately raced upstairs, going through the corridor.

Before he could even call out his name, he stopped again. He saw Julian standing in front of Logan's room. The light was on in the room, it filtered through a crack at the bottom of the door. But Julian was just standing there, at the door, staring at the light under it.

Please understand that it's not that I don't care

But right now these walls are closing in on me…

Derek watched, heart sinking, as Julian continued to stand there. He stared at his friend, mentally willing him on. Go. Come on, you can do it. Just knock on the damn door, Julian, come on. You have to tell him. You have to!

For a moment, when Julian lifted his eyes and one of his clenched fists moved as though to reach out to the door, Derek wanted to jump.

Then Julian shook just slightly, and took a fraction of a step back, closing his eyes and taking in a shaking breath.

He couldn't. He just couldn't. It was too hard. And it was too far to fall.

Why was he crying? He wanted to punch himself—why couldn't he stop? He wanted to scream at his tears to stop falling. Because this was stupid—this was nothing.

It was always, always—would always be—nothing.

I love you more than I love life itself…

But I need to find a place where I can breathe

I can breathe…

Derek saw the tears falling and lowered his eyes. He let out his breath, and walked to his friend, who might've known all this time that he was there. He came up to him, and gently put his arm around his shoulders. Julian sank against him, shaking.

"Sorry, D…" he choked. "I was just being—" An idiot.

"It's okay…" Derek murmured at last, voice so low that only Julian could hear. He shook his head. "…it's okay, Jules… You tried. At least…at least you tried." That counts for something. He wasn't going to push him. It was too hard to watch.

He led him away from the door, as silent as they came. The person on the other side would never know they were even there.

I wanna go to a place where I can hold the intangible

And let go of the pain with all my might…

I wanna go to a place where I'm suspended on ecstasy

Somewhere between dark and light

Where wrong becomes right…

Bailey watched from the common room as Julian, wrapped up in a thick coat, passed with Derek in the front hall. He rose from his chair, brow furrowed. Tonight? He was going tonight? Did Logan know? He looked up to the staircase the two had just descended. There was no movement upstairs…

From his room, Logan sat oblivious. His thoughts weren't anywhere near Julian at this moment. He was pondering a text message he wasn't expecting to receive.

It was from Blaine.

'Kurt wants us to talk. All three of us. He wants to know everything. I'm willing to tell him my side. But I don't know yours.'

Logan rested his elbows on his desk and turned to the window, wondering.

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

Bailey watched Derek help Julian pick up the bags in the foyer, Julian taking the travel bag and Derek taking the suitcase. He watched Derek give Julian a long look without saying a word, asking in silence if his friend really wanted to do this.

Julian stood in front of the door a moment, lost in thought, and he looked at Derek at last with a small nod.

He pushed the door open.

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

I wanna go to beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

The air was cold, and bitter. Dalton was quiet as ever at night.

From Stuart House, Julian fell back onto Derek with a startled gasp, clutching onto his friend who looked on in horror: splattered all over the Stuart House front steps was what looked like crushed red roses, petals torn and folded everywhere, and scarlet liquid painted the ground, black in the moonlight.

A mutilated photograph of Julian—taken from the school paper—lay on the steps.

Derek hissed a curse and pulled Julian back inside quickly, looking around the grounds for any sign of who did it. He pushed Julian inside, and immediately closed the door as he went to go get a bucket of water to get rid of the "gift".

Julian sank against the wall, heart in his throat. It was worse now. He knew it was worse now that the message was loud and clear.

He couldn't leave.


And a ways off, far over the grounds, in the quiet of the night, red droplets gleamed on the steps of Hanover House. Justin Bancroft didn't notice as he went in, pulling his sister along and anxious to give her a serious reprimand. But Laura Bancroft noticed. She saw the droplets of red, confused, wondering if it was paint.

She saw that the trail went into the house, and up the stairs.

The last thing she saw before Justin pulled her into the common room was a glimpse of Adam Clavell, staring out of the second floor window that faced Stuart House.


In the next episode: Last year, a boy came to Dalton Academy. He was transferred in from Stanton High School. He had arrived to flee bullies from his own school, looking for sanctuary. He was assigned to Windsor House, where he first meets its crazy occupants, and meets the tall lead singer, Logan Wright. The story of last year would be told by many people to Kurt, who believes he deserves to hear exactly what happened that brought them all to this point.