Hi, I'm CP Coulter and I'm your author for this fic.
I have no excuses to offer you. Only apologies, and a profound feeling of guilt and embarrassment on my ineptitude to produce in the same manner that I had used to, that you had been accustomed to, and would like me to return to. It was certainly irresponsibility on my part, and it shames me to find that it is an act of ingratitude to all that you have given me. I should have estimated my time and ability to produce properly, and at least live up to the deadline expectations.
You have all been nothing short of absolutely wonderful, and as my fic has hit well past it's 1,200,000-hit mark, I can only say, with all of my heart, that I am deeply grateful for everything you all have given me. The words of support, the encouragement, the kindness that all of the Kurtsies, no matter the ship, or even those Glee fans who found their way to my fic and told me they liked it-all of it, I am grateful to all of you, and continue to be, and will always and forever be.
The arc continues with this episode. As the past unravels, so does the present. Kurt is finding secret after secret in the school, and continues to find more. He has been woven into the web that the mad students have created for themselves in their dormitory worlds. Parents' Night preparations continue. And many skeletons rattle in the closets of each family, of each boy, and a sense of foreboding falls over them, as they make their way to what the students sometimes call "Hell Night."
As always, I remain grateful to you, if you are reading this, and hope with all my heart that you enjoy this episode.
(I do not own Glee. If I did, would never be as wonderful or groundbreaking as it is now.)
A hurl of indignant wrath later, the students at South and Main parted the way as Kurt made his way down the hall.
"Bailey!" his imperious tone penetrated the music blasting into Bailey's ears and he turned around in the hallway to find Kurt storming up to him. The musician blanched but held his ground. He waited until Kurt reached him before resuming movement, presumably to a more crowded place with more witnesses so Kurt would be unable to murder him.
"Tipton?" Kurt demanded. "His name was—"
"Ah…I suppose it's my turn to tell the story now…?" Bailey sighed deeply, knowing the time had finally come. "It's not like I actually lied to you or anything—"
"But you couldn't have told me that you share the same last name as the notorious 'second soloist'?"
"I was accelerated, I'm in Stuart for a reason—look, Joshua is my brother. When we came to this school, he landed in Windsor, I landed in Stuart. I told you, I mostly know the Stuart side of things and he knows more about the—"
"But Joshua isn't here," Kurt crossed his arms over his chest, walking with him. "And you clearly would know his side at least? He tells you everything I'm sure, and you obviously know more about what happened than you let on, or you wouldn't have kept this from me," Kurt added, trying to keep up with him.
"Last year was good while it lasted, Kurt," Bailey explained, looking a little distressed. "I wanted to make sure repeats of the ending didn't happen and I thought I didn't have to tell you that…minor detail." He led Kurt out to the courtyard, and handed him some music sheets. "Here."
"Harvey and Medel want those trying out for lead for Parents' Night to do that song, just that one song. Thought you might want it."
Kurt stared down at it for a moment, marveling, and then looked back up at Bailey. "You're not getting off the hook with this."
The two of them looked up to see Blaine running towards them. He saw Kurt with Bailey and groaned. "You caught him."
Bailey wistfully raised up his wrists to mimic someone who was handcuffed. Kurt glowered at him. "You couldn't take five minutes to tell me that Bailey was Joshua's brother?"
"I figured someone would've already dropped the name to you," Blaine said apologetically as he came up to them.
"And to be perfectly honest, taking a look at past Warbler rosters in the book would've—" Bailey quailed under Kurt's withering gaze at that point, and turned to Blaine for help.
"Okay, don't shoot Bailey, he's just trying to help with…whatever's left of all this," Blaine explained.
"That's why you've been doing all these things?" Kurt asked Bailey. "Is this why you said those things to me? That you wanted to make sure everyone was happy this time?"
Blaine turned to Bailey, who just shook his head as he said, "I was just…trying to keep everything together, you know? What happened last year it—it just burned the life out of everyone and I hated it. Everyone all around me just sniping all the time and falling apart and as it is right now…" he sighed. "And all of you—you're my friends. You think I want you guys to mess yourselves up again? Especially you, Blaine? As it is, Harvey's pretty mad at all this drama and you and Logan have basically punched each other out—"
"All right, I get it." Blaine sighed.
"I just…" Kurt shook his head and looked at Bailey with a questioning stare. "Joshua is your brother and he's so heavily involved in all this. From what I hear, Logan had…hurt Blaine and him. If that was true, then…why are you looking after me, Blaine and Logan? I thought maybe you'd hate Logan for running him out of the school."
Bailey smiled faintly as he sat down on the courtyard steps, Kurt and Blaine sitting with him. "…I should. I could. But all that hate ruined everything already—I just don't want to add to it anymore. Don't you guys ever get tired of it? I know I am." He shrugged. "Besides, Joshua doesn't hate anyone, including Logan. From time to time, he asks me to check after the people he left behind here. That includes Logan, apparently."
Blaine smiled a little. "Yes, that…does sound like Joshua."
"My brother knows last year was a mess and things happened, and that they all had their faults, and all he wants is for things to quiet down. And you know for a time, he, Blaine and Logan had been close." Bailey paused. "He and Blaine had been close."
I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.
When I came to this school, I knew next to nothing about how it worked.
Now, I think I know more than I want to know about the boys who live in it.
Weird habits, eccentricities, troublesome histories—
The secrets just come running out—and I start to wonder sometimes if I know too much.
They became friends easily.
Joshua, as it turned out, lived some doors down on the second floor. His parents were both working, enjoying high positions in society as a couple of diplomats who hopped all around the globe. Joshua and his brother Bailey, who was in Stuart House, were left alone except for the few times the parents would be in the country or the state, and then demanded their full attention.
Blaine gradually eased himself into Windsor life (although the others sometimes wished he'd talk about something other than his gargantuan crush, Tom Felton—to this day, Blaine maintains that he does not have a crush). It was Joshua and the others who suggested Blaine should become a Warbler, just like the others were.
"We heard you could sing! And you said you were in school plays and performances," Wes pointed out one day during Study Hall.
Blaine just stared at him. There were more Warblers in Windsor than in any other House. Sometimes, they would simply start singing, and everyone came out of their rooms to listen. "I've sung in school, a couple of plays, I play guitar and piano, but I'm not sure if I could keep up with the Warblers. As it is, the schoolwork is killing me!"
"We can help you with schoolwork," David retorted, even though Blaine knew the argument was ridiculous. David's GPA was one of the best and when he was working, even Wes let him. The schoolwork placed on Blaine to catch up was substantial and David couldn't be expected to share that load.
"Or I can," Joshua had suggested. "And we've heard you sing. You're amazing."
This was true. Blaine had let his guards down enough for David and Joshua to one day walk into their dorm room after practice and hear Blaine strumming the guitar as he sang along. They had listened, transfixed, as the shorter boy just sang with a voice that Windsor was prepared to contest was worthy of a lead position.
"Blaine," Joshua gave him an intent look. "Is this about Logan?"
David and Wes rolled their eyes as Blaine suddenly looked like a hunted rabbit. Joshua threw up his hands and fell back on the bed. "Come on! You can't be serious."
"Windsors are not intimidated by Stuarts, Anderson, ever," Wes said directly.
"You're not even a Windsor, Wes!" Blaine shot back.
"I will be soon," Wes replied with a grin. "Our prefect already told me he was looking into it. When he says that, the problem usually gets solved."
Blaine didn't hear much about Hanover House, other than the boys there were friendly to both Windsors and Stuarts and that they were reasonably quiet by comparison to other houses. He was surprised that Wes was there, but he seemed so partial to Windsor House that everyone guessed it was only a matter of time until he would want to move dormitories. He certainly hung around with David enough.
"Do you…like him?" Joshua asked curiously.
"He's blond like Tom Felton," snorted one of the Twins almost sarcastically; Blaine turned scarlet and flung a couch pillow at them.
"Defensive, we see. Always a telling sign," the other twin responded as he caught the pillow before it hit his brother.
"I'm not auditioning," Blaine said with finality.
"Fine," Joshua shrugged. "Don't. Pity. You're pretty good, after all and…Logan seemed to like seeing you around. If you were in Warblers, you'd—"
"I know what you're doing—I'm not going to sing in front of him. I'm not ready yet." Blaine glowered at him.
"Logan likes people who can sing, though," Joshua grinned at him. Blaine's glare increased in wattage, but the boy with the bright eyes refused to be deterred. He elbowed him. "Come on! If it makes you feel better, I'm auditioning for that same reason."
Now everyone in the room gaped at him. Joshua shrugged, staring. "What? I did. I think he's hot." Blaine snorted back a laugh—he had heard that Joshua was also out, but this was the first time he's heard him make such a declaration about anyone.
"I have no idea what either of you see in that guy," Wes grumbled. "He's moody and he does whatever he wants. And he gets what he wants."
"And he wants someone who can sing," Joshua answered casually with a grin. He elbowed Blaine. "What do you say? Give it a shot. Hey, the worst Mr. Harvey and Ms. Medel can say is 'no', right? They're having auditions next week after Sean transfers out—"
"We would like to repeat that the incident with the pudding and the cafeteria ovens was a complete accident," Evan declared.
"We sent Sean flowers and get well cards and wish for his speedy recovery," Ethan replied with a big smile. Everyone rolled their eyes.
"And Blaine wonders why Stuart hates us," David mumbled. Another explosion rocked Windsor from the laboratory. In the hall, there was a yelp and the sound of art materials clattering to the ground.
"I'm okay!" Reed yelled from outside. "I'm fine!"
"Hi Reed!" Blaine called.
"Hi Blaine! Hope you join the Warblers!" he went on with whatever he was doing.
Everyone returned to matter at hand, and all eyes turned back to Blaine.
"I'll…think about it," Blaine said finally.
Joshua and his brother Bailey didn't give Blaine a moment's peace after that. Bailey was already in the Warblers, and they hounded Blaine in the corridors, slowly breaking his resolve.
"I'm telling you, it's a great idea!" said Joshua, grinning at him. "Please, Blaine? Audition with me! Come on!"
"If you want to join because you think it'll get Logan to like you—"
Bailey, his headphones around his neck, started to laugh. "It's true, he does like people who sing, Blaine," he said. "When I heard about that, I told Josh immediately. I knew it'd convince him to join."
"Well, it's not convincing me." Blaine responded. "I just want to keep a low profile for now, all right? And besides, you like him."
"This isn't about territory, it's about the chance for you to become on top of the food chain for once!" Joshua ran up to him. "Blaine, you told me that your last school sucked, okay, because your jocks and cheerleaders are psychos, and no one really cared about the fact that you could really really sing. That must've been heinous, and did wonders for the self-esteem, fine, I get it. But it's not like that here and you should feel what it's like to be on top for once! The Warblers are crazy popular—you might as well give it a shot! Let yourself be appreciated for this really amazing thing you can do!"
"Blaine, how about this," Bailey grinned. "Just give it a try. You don't get in the Warblers, okay, cool. You get a low profile. No one will really care—I mean, with all the people trying out, this is just routine. But if you get in…you get to feel what it's like to be one of the popular guys in school."
"What do you say?" Joshua grinned. "Wanna go see what it feels like on the other side?"
Blaine hesitated. Joshua shrugged. "You realize, if I can't convince you, I will have Wes, David and the Twins convince you."
"Convincing means…progressively break down my sanity until I say yes?"
"All right. Fine. I guess I can prepare a little," he added, before the brothers could celebrate too much. The bell chimed over the corridors, an announcement ringing over the halls.
All students, please proceed to Orion Hall for the Dean's Address. Prefects, please gather your House members. Day students, please proceed to the hall directly. The Warblers are also requested to please proceed to Warblers' Hall immediately. Thank you.
"Ah. We better get to that," Joshua murmured, looking around.
"I'm off to round up the other Warblers—see you, Josh, Blaine." Bailey grinned, slipped on his headphones—if he wasn't talking to someone, or in class, it would always be over his ears, as though he were permanently dependent on music to breathe.
"We better go find Ryan," Joshua said, naming the current Windsor prefect.
"You go ahead, I have to put this—" and Blaine held up a thick sheaf of paperwork, "—on Murdoch's desk. Or I might have to do it all over again.
Joshua smiled sympathetically and patted his shoulder. "I get what you mean. Okay, see you in front of South and Main." Blaine watched him go and smiled. He was glad to have a friend in this school who was also gay. It felt like a new beginning.
He would never forget his old friends, but with Erin having run off, Micah disappearing, and Shane (as he heard) heading off to Colorado to study in the Walcott School, Blaine had felt alone. If it weren't for Windsor, if it weren't for the boys in it and Joshua…
Murdoch wasn't in his office when he looked in. He started to feel a little apprehensive—he had to find him before the assembly, but he did hear that he was head of Stuart House, so maybe a Stuart boy would know where he was right now.
A flash of gold beamed at him as he raced past the coffee area. It didn't fail to catch Blaine's eye. Bailey was talking to Logan, who was sitting with a cup of coffee in hand, and a folio of music sheets open on top of the table. Bailey did say he was making the Warbler roundup.
"—and they want you to sing lead again—" Bailey was saying, but Logan looked unruffled and unconcerned as he continued studying the sheets.
"I really don't mind," Logan replied to him, rolling his eyes a little. "No one who duels me wins in the vote and so everyone seems content having me sing lead…"
"You just seem like you're doing a whole lot of stuff," Bailey said carefully. "You study in a whole lot of advanced classes, then you're one of the leading members of the fencing team, the tennis team is trying to draft you, you have the responsibility of singing lead for the Warblers, and rumor has it that George and Professor Murdoch are trying to boost you to being prefect next year!"
"I don't want to be prefect. It's more work."
"Then suggest to Medel and Harvey that you need someone to take your lead spot for a while?" Bailey suggested, but he quailed under Logan's glower. To say that the idea displeased him was a vast understatement. "Just a suggestion."
He really takes the Warblers seriously… Blaine noticed. His feet were treacherous things, and he found them leading him towards Logan's direction. He and the blond hadn't actually spoken since that odd run in they'd had long before. Logan remained one of the most respected boys in school—mainly because he was the lead singer and everyone counted on him to deliver.
You should feel what it's like to be on top for once! Let yourself be appreciated for this really amazing thing you can do!
Blaine found this a complete one-eighty from his school, where the theatre and art freaks were shoved to the end of the food chain to be swallowed up by "greater" mortals.
When he broke out of his reverie, he saw that he was standing near Bailey and Logan, and the both of them were staring at him. "Uh, hey again?" Bailey said, but not unkindly and looking curious at Blaine's spaced-out expression.
"Are you all right?" Logan asked, looking at him.
Taken off-guard, Blaine coughed and his mind raced for something to say. And unfortunately, the first thing that came out of his mind was: "Hi. I…I want to audition. For the Warblers."
Bailey looked positively baffled, but nevertheless rather pleased. Well that was easy. He did feel a twinge, however, when he remembered that Joshua also liked Logan, and it was clear that Logan favored the new boy.
As Logan made a blink of surprise, he said "…then, why are you coming to me? You should see Harvey and Medel."
Blaine fidgeted momentarily, hands trying to express and failing. "Oh. Right." Yes, why didn't he think of that… Maybe he just wanted to tell him? Trying to get to where he stands now?
At that, the taller boy started to smile. He rose from his seat. "Come on." He closed the folio and tucked it under his arm, and he left the coffee cup on the desk. He smiled at Blaine, slipping a warm hand over his shoulder for a moment in encouragement before he began walking towards the doors.
Blaine, speechless, looked at Bailey, who only shrugged helplessly and allowed the tall lead singer to take them both out of the room and towards the direction of Warblers Hall.
"What are you doing?" Bailey asked, staring at his fellow Stuart.
"He wants an audition, let's give him one."
"Now?" Blaine demanded, wondering if the taller boy had lost his mind, of if he was losing his own for that matter. "We can't do that!"
"Oh I don't very well see why not." And with that, Logan slipped a warm hand onto Blaine's and pulled him down the corridors in a brisk stride. Blaine was quite frankly startled and jerked his hand back. Then Logan stopped in his walk. He turned to him. "What's wrong?"
Logan simply smiled and opened his hand to him again. He patiently held it there as he murmured, "It's all right." Eyes, piercing, but somehow also immeasurably soft beyond the intensity they displayed outwardly, kept trained at him.
As though Logan really saw him, singled him out, the way he had since the very first time he'd met him.
Logan smiled now and instead reached out to grab his wrist, strong and firm, before pulling him along down the hall. His hand did not slide down to clasp Blaine's again, but he held onto him securely, as though clutching a lifeline.
"Are you okay?" Blaine asked his friend, who sat in silence, carefully picking up the fragments of a camera lens that he'd been carefully saved his money for in months.
Jude glanced at him with a smile. "Yeah."
He was lying. Blaine and Micah looked at each other, and Micah lowered his eyes quickly, slipping off his cracked glasses. Blaine turned to where Jude was thoughtfully touching the cut on his lip as he continued to play with the lens' remains.
Jude had been grabbed—for taking photos during the team's game, and the jocks got pissy after one sickening mistake that nearly cost them the game was captured on film and hit the school paper. Micah—did they need a reason to also thrash the other gay boy who happened to be walking with Jude when they found him?
The camera would survive, but the lens was ruined.
"We can…get you a new one," Blaine told him, taking his hand, even though he knew that Jude would never allow them to do such a thing, no matter how much money Blaine's parents had. And that buying a new lens wouldn't erase the fact that he had carefully saved up his money for months and all his efforts were obliterated in two seconds and one brainwave of a discriminating jock.
The incredible grip Jude returned onto Blaine's needed no words. It wasn't even about the lens anymore. He just needed to get through today. Like any other day.
That was what all of them relied on each other for.
A lifeline. Desperate to stay on board while the storm tossed the ship, pitching the waves—hands clutching and praying not to fall overboard.
The grip on his hand tightened and Blaine looked up to see Logan pushing through a pair of oak doors, and he was swept into Warblers' hall, with Bailey running off to see the other boys at once. He was released immediately as he took stock of the people within it—a small fleet of boys who had already begun arranging themselves depending on their vocal range, with the more familiar faces from Windsor House looking up in surprise at the sight of him.
Logan went directly to the two adults standing by the piano: the woman with the long platinum blond hair and the ankle-length dress, and the tall man with dark hair, both looking down at music sheets. They both looked up with smiles as their lead singer approached with a grin and began to speak to them.
Blaine stood worriedly for a moment until Wes and David collided with him, nearly knocking him off his feet. "Hey, buddy!" Wes grinned brightly, arm draped heavily over his shoulders. "Fancy seeing you here!"
"You weren't thinking of, I don't know, auditioning, were you?" David beamed at him, so terribly smug that Blaine rolled his eyes.
"All right, fine," the newcomer responded, grumbling. "I may…have been coerced into it…by the Tiptons…"
"And yet you walk in with Logan?" Wes smirked. He then narrowed his eyes suspiciously at Blaine. "You two an item now or something?"
Blaine stared at them with wide eyes. "What are you talking ab—"
"Blaine?" came the kindly voice of the pretty music teacher that Blaine recognized immediately—she was the one who he had as a music teacher yesterday. Sylvia Medel walked up to him, Logan at her side, and said, "Logan says you'd like to audition?"
"Ye-es…" Blaine said carefully, looking at her, then at Logan (who smirked) and back again. As he did, the other music teacher approached—the tall and brown-haired Gregory Harvey. The Warblers all spoke very highly of him. This man smiled and said, "Well, we don't officially have auditions until next week…"
At his words, the boys saw Logan turned to him immediately, those eyes turning a little intense as they did. Clearly he wasn't pleased, but Harvey ignored him and said, "…but our lead singer seems to prefer we give you your opportunity right now."
Blaine stared at Logan with an expression that questioned his sanity. The taller boy only smiled coolly at him and replied, "I told them I was fairly sure that you would be all right."
"What gave you that idea?" Blaine stared.
"Well, if you wouldn't be, Wes, David and the twins wouldn't be plotting nonstop about somehow roping you into the group as soon as humanly possible."
Blaine gave his two friends dagger looks while they assumed expressions of angelic innocence. "Ah, so Blaine comes highly recommended…" Miss Medel looked amused.
"Yes," Wes, David and Logan said at the same time, making Blaine blanch.
"Well I don't see why we couldn't spare a moment or two…" she gave Harvey a look. "What do you think, Greg?"
Many of the Warblers now looked expectantly at Harvey, and Logan's green eyes continued to almost glower—without actually doing so—at their choir director. Blaine, desperate to look elsewhere other than the scrutinizing gaze of the male director, spotted a guitar among the instruments at the rack nearby. Harvey seemed to consider this, glancing to where Blaine was looking, and then asked, "Blaine, do you have a song ready? Perhaps a piece you think will…certainly catch attention?" He smiled a little. "We are making an exception and I imagine you have a worthy performance?"
David looked a little apprehensive now, but Harvey's eyes expressed nothing but kindness. He wasn't a particularly hard man but he had his own set of standards and sometimes it was hard to predict how he would take to some things.
Blaine's eyes remained on the guitar.
Let yourself be appreciated for this really amazing thing you can do!
And an idea came to him. With a strange smile, an answering glint in his eyes, he looked back at Harvey and Medel. "I was wondering if I could use that guitar for my audition."
Medel smiled a little more. "Of course you may." She calmly gestured for him to go ahead and take it. At this, the Warblers immediately hurried to their seats, looking forward to this sudden audition. Logan took a spot on the couch directly across, clearly very interested as he leaned forward.
Harvey and Medel patiently stood by the piano again, watching as Blaine selected his instrument and moved forward. Bailey, clearly interested as well, helped out by pulling a seat out for the newcomer. Blaine shot him a grateful look and then found himself receiving the undivided attention of the entire Warbler troop.
His confidence wavered at this moment—and for one horrendous second, he entertained the thought of telling them he couldn't do it and maybe come back next week when he was more certain of himself.
And then his eyes locked onto Logan's.
The taller boy smiled at him. Not a smirk, not a sneer—a smile. An actual smile. Waiting patiently, and even encouraging.
Blaine took a breath and nodded to Harvey and Medel, and began to play.
"It turns out," Bailey said, arriving back next to Kurt and sitting back down on the steps, "that Logan was expecting all this. I don't know how, or why, but I think he was somehow secretly hoping that Blaine would want to at least audition for the Warblers." He smiled a little. "And he wanted to see Blaine's mettle. He heard that he was a little…distant. He wanted to see him put to the test."
Kurt accepted the cup of coffee the other boy handed to him. He turned to his boyfriend. "I guess we have Logan to thank for getting you properly into the Warblers?"
"Well, only partially," laughed Blaine. "You know I love singing, and I might have auditioned with or without Logan's involvement. Only, it wouldn't have been pushed as fast. Logan gets his way, as you well know. If he wanted me in the Warblers, he would have it done immediately. And I guess it helped that my audition was unusual."
"It was an original song," Bailey grinned. "We were really surprised."
"Don't You?" Kurt smiled. This part of the story, Blaine had already told him before. Blaine had mentioned auditioning with a piece that he wrote in an attempt to bring something else to the table and let the Warblers see exactly what he could do. It worked—because they never had a singer-songwriter before, and they certainly liked what they heard.
"That one," Bailey laughed. "Well, I saw the whole thing, the audition I mean, and I can tell you, I felt a little bad for Joshua when I saw how Blaine and Logan stared at each other during that audition. I think it was something about that song."
Blaine looked positively mortified, but Kurt felt a small swell of pride, nevertheless, having heard that song from Blaine before. He had performed it for him, and he thought it was wonderful. If Harvey and Medel didn't draft him for that song, they would've been delusional. But when Blaine had sung it to him, it made him blush sixteen shades of red when his boyfriend leaned closer and closer.
Of course it would've gotten Logan hooked. "Tell me he wasn't doing that flirty thing he does when he sings?" Kurt begged.
"Kurt, come on!" Blaine exclaimed as Bailey burst into laughter and replied, "Sadly, he did a little bit. I told you, he and Logan kept looking at each other during that performance. I really really think that that's where the two of them actually started…putting the moves on each other."
"Just to be clear," Blaine said matter-of-factly, "I did not 'put the moves' on Logan. I don't think I was actually emotionally prepared to do that at the time."
"But you liked him, and you made it obvious," Kurt raised an eyebrow. "His advances were…well-received?" He grinned.
"Blaine might as well have written it on a banner." Bailey sighed dramatically and Blaine elbowed him, turning red. "What? You were crushing really hard! Even Harvey and Medel could tell. We found it excruciating that you wouldn't even properly tell Logan that you liked him until after you'd been in school for two months. We almost felt sorry for Logan then!"
Kurt smirked a little. "So it was Logan who chased…?"
"Among other things."
The three of them looked up at the sudden voice to see a tall, limber figure, moving at a pace that could almost be called languorous, strolling up to them. Kurt, for a moment, was unable to recognize him by sheer lack of luster alone. And then he realized that it was Julian.
Even Bailey looked a little surprised, and he was the one who lived in the same House as Julian did. The actor was a far cry from his usual self—certainly not like the way he looked back during the Fair. He looked tired and pale, and he lost some weight, and he bore evidence of sleeplessness. But that smirk remained the same. "Congratulations, Blaine. For those first two months, you effectively made all of Stuart House loathe you for making things so much harder for the rest of us."
Kurt expected Blaine to react rather strongly to this, but Blaine only responded sounding concerned. "While that should've told you guys how big of a bad idea he and I were going to be—"
"—are you all right?"
"People have got to stop asking me that question," Julian sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose with two fingers, looking exhausted and exasperated. He lifted his brown eyes and motioned for Kurt to get up. "Come on, Hummel."
"Excuse me?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.
"I heard that they were giving you a really long storytelling session. I imagine Logan's side remains a little foggy, so I'm here to clear matters up."
"Can't Logan do that himself?" Kurt remarked as he rose, nevertheless.
"Of course he can. But he'll most likely downplay his madness and believe me, it's more interesting to hear it from someone who's experienced the dramatics he put us through."
That might have been enough reason, but Kurt saw another expression flash at him from Julian: the universal, "I need to talk to you" look that people transmit to other people who were holding an invisible axe over their heads. And after having to go through that once with Karofsky, he decided to get this one out of the way as soon as possible.
"Don't worry, I promise to look after your little Alice," Julian said sarcastically to Blaine's worried expression. "I'll make sure to bring him back before break ends."
"See you in class," Blaine told Kurt, who nodded to him. He then gave Julian a long look before the actor led Kurt away. Bailey was surprised that Blaine even let this happen at all—but whatever it was, it was more surprising him to see that Blaine also expressed some concern over Julian's questionable well-being.
It was a concern that Kurt echoed as soon as they were some distance, heading towards the direction of the Library. "I heard about what happened to you after the Fair. You apparently got sick."
"Yeah…" Julian sounded different now—distant, and tired.
"And you wouldn't let Logan in your room. Congratulations, you've effectively caused him to show me first hand exactly what he does when truly aggravated."
Julian smiled a little and Kurt wondered why the actor found it so amusing when Logan went off the deep end. The blond lead singer not only remained truly vindictive when spoken to in the halls and in class, but he was also completely mute during the Warbler meeting. In addition, the fencing team lived in utter fear that day as Logan brutally demolished each and every one of them in practice matches. It took Blaine's presence to diffuse the infuriated prefect in a match.
Blaine looked indifferent when Logan swatted his saber away with such force that it flew out of his hand. Instead of looking stunned, Blaine's silent stare at Logan seemed to demand to know what he thought was doing. That sent the still incumbent (and still very annoyed) Prefect out of the fencing hall. Logan had taken his medication soon after and he was more or less sedated by the time Julian sprung from his hideout.
"Is Logan still the Prefect?" Kurt asked.
"Sadly, he still is." Julian looked more amused now. "It's driving him crazy, but the truth is that Stuart is still torn at the vote. None of them want to make the decision. Partially because no one wants to handle what he's supposed to for Parents' Night. That, and Murdoch seems to strongly want to keep him in the title at least until after that night."
"He wants Senator Wright to see his son still Prefect until then. I don't see why he bothers—his father never comes to Parents' Night. Stepmom does, though. Interestingly enough, Logan seems to care about her coming to school. She's a nice lady—a little slow, but she does seem to really care about him. "
Kurt almost smiled. "You know him pretty well."
"Three years of being his friend, you get to know him whether you like it or not…" Julian shrugged a little. "Your parents?"
"My parents are actually planning outfits for the event," Kurt rolled his eyes, but his tone was affectionate. "When they heard it was formal, they decided to go all out so as not to embarrass me. That worries me—I think I may have to step in."
Julian smirked. "Worrying about your parents embarrassing you? Classic."
"Well not all of us can be offspring to glitterati like Travis Armstrong and Dolce Larson," Kurt retorted coolly. "My parents are all right, thank you."
"That they are…" Julian shrugged. "Unfortunately, I don't have the privilege of parental humiliation on school grounds… The only red carpets my parents will be seen on are ones for awards shows and premieres."
Like Logan, Julian's parents were divorced—and it was a very public and messy one. Like anyone well-versed in Hollywood scandal, Kurt knew all about it. Dolce, the beautiful actress, and Travis, the talented director. Common enough match, but it went down in flames before Julian even hit pre-teen. The divorce was catastrophic, with both sides fighting over money, property, and who got to keep the talented little son. Dolce won out in the end, and got to keep Julian, but Travis maintained a strong hold over Julian's movie career nevertheless.
Kurt wondered if Logan and Julian got along in that matter—because they had troublesome family lives. The Wrights' divorce was also very public, and also happened while Logan was still in elementary school. Cordelia Wright put up the barest minimum of fuss in the whole matter, however, and left Logan entirely to Senator Wright. That, he supposed, was where Logan's problems began.
"Your parents don't come to see you? At all?" Kurt asked.
"No," Julian replied almost cheerfully. "Never have, never will. Too busy. Happens all the time. Besides, they don't need to know what goes on here. Thank god for it. They don't know anything."
Kurt got the message immediately. No one in Julian's star-studded life knew that he pined hopelessly over the temperamental senatorial son who also happened to be one of his few friends in school. As far as everyone knew, he was straight.
Why do I always end up with the closeted secrets…? Kurt wondered. I draw these guys like a magnet! "So what happened with Logan during that time, Julian? Did you already like him then?"
Julian's laugh was almost friendly—if it didn't sound so patronizing at the same time. "I've liked him since my freshman year."
"And you just…watched him go after Blaine?" Kurt had a hard time believing that someone as spoiled as Julian would simply sit back on his heels and let it happen.
But Julian looked at him as though he was monumentally unimpressed. "You mean to say you've never liked someone you knew that you had absolutely zero chance with and so just let him go?"
That hit home. Kurt glared at him and Julian smirked in return.
Derek wasn't comfortable in using the term "obsessed" to describe what Logan was going through those two months when Blaine still hadn't officially, verbally confirmed that he reciprocated the glaringly obvious interest that Logan was giving him. Obsession bordered in something dangerous and as far as they could see, Logan was simply focusing his energies on Blaine some of the time.
Whatever he saw in the newcomer, it was lost on his two friends, who had to watch him find ways to get under Blaine's skin in an attempt to elicit some kind of response. And when Logan wanted something and he didn't get it, his mood got bad.
Again and again, Logan returned to Stuart House when he found himself being dodged by the newcomer who, while clearly rather taken by him, seemed to not want to remain close to him. Almost afraid. And Logan had no idea why. He made everything clear enough, but Blaine, whatever his reasons (the overwhelming schoolwork, the pressures of new sports clubs and also being hailed a new Warbler? Who knew and who cared? Certainly no one else in Stuart House except for Bailey and Logan did) was burying himself away from Logan's advances for the time being.
Stuart boys looked up when Logan swept back into the House one day after class, his expression looking a little sinister. Those who knew better cleared the way. Derek and Julian carried on with their chess game. Logan strode into the common room and found the two of them. When he stood over them and he received no acknowledgement from either, his mouth curled into a sneer.
With a deft move, he picked up a single white piece and made the checkmate, heavily slamming the piece onto the table—some pawns clattered to the ground—and Logan swept away to the window with his cloud of gloom.
Derek made a choked furious noise as he glowered at his friend for interrupting their game. "What's the matter with you?" he demanded. "You've been prissy all week!"
He was ignored by the blond who pulled out a book and pretended to read, glaring at the pages. Julian only looked bored and exasperated. "Is he still scared of you, Lo? Maybe it's because of these wonderfully thoughtful gestures of yours!"
"This is about Anderson again?" Derek looked annoyed now. He stalked up to Logan and snatched the book from the blond boy's hands. Logan looked up with a glare, and worse when Derek slammed the book closed and then threw it back at his chest. "Look, why don't you just put us all out of our miseries and date the guy? There's no one in the school who would stop you."
"Except every occupant of Windsor House. And I would if he stopped running from me," Logan snarled through his teeth as he threw the book away—it narrowly missed Julian's shins.
Julian rolled his eyes and looked at everyone else in the common room. One of the boys, who had been smirking at Logan's behavior, turned pale as Julian's eyes landed on him. The actor sneered and said, "What's the matter, Cy? Relishing the fact that for once, Logan has someone dodging him? But I suppose you'd be really familiar with getting avoided like the plague considering that it only happens to you every single time you try to get a date."
The boy glared at him, slammed his books closed, picked up his coffee cup and left the room. Julian turned to the last boy in the room, who didn't wait for a prompting—he ran off immediately after his friend.
Derek was still trying to mollify their friend. "Look, you said it yourself. He's a little skittish."
"Gets along well enough with the Windsors, though," Julian smirked. "Maybe it's just Logan in general."
"Oh shut up, Jules," Logan glared. "You're not helping."
"And it's not like everybody can't see that he's already crushing hard on you," Derek looked irritated now. "Just let him get used to you."
"It's been two months," Logan sounded tired, fingers pressed to his eyelids.
"It's definitely you, then," Julian grinned. "Because D and I hated you for the first two months. Oh, wait a minute—we still do."
"Get out of here!" Logan yelled at him as he threw a couch pillow at him. Julian set his mouth in a line and strode off to the other side of the common room as Derek shoved Logan lightly and said, "Come on, lighten up. You see that's your problem!" He sat in front of him. "You push too far! Have you tried being nice to him?"
"I got him early audition into the Warblers! And the fencing team! And I even talked to Murdoch for him in the football team!"
"You give him stuff to make him like you!" Derek snapped. "You're trying to buy your way into his attention! That doesn't make you nice, it makes you a politician on campaign! And I have a hunch that's not exactly what Anderson's looking for."
At the term "politician", both Logan and Julian winced. Even Derek knew he tread on thin ice on that one, but that was the best way to get Logan's attention to the fact that he was doing things wrong. Having a good-looking openly gay boy being absolutely forward towards him must be alien for Blaine, who apparently had come to school for "sanctuary" reasons, much like some other boys.
Color soared into Logan's face now that he recovered. "And you're suddenly an expert on these matters?"
"Look, just try to…do small things," Derek said, trying to explain and navigate them out of dangerous waters. "Try to be nice. Considerate even! Take it easy on the guy!"
Julian piped up from the other side of the room, "Just hang out with him for no reason."
"Another one of your 'helpful' ideas?" Logan asked sarcastically.
"Seriously." Julian rose and walked to him, his tone calm and frank. "Just hang out with him for no reason and just talk. Show him you're a human being, that's all it takes." He slowly walked up to him and held out a pair of tickets. "Here."
Logan looked at his suspiciously for a moment, then took the slips of paper. "What are these?"
"Storybooks," Julian said sarcastically. "Why don't you read them and see?"
They were concert tickets. Derek looked surprised. "Where the hell'd you get those? That was sold out eight weeks ago."
"I'm Julian Larson, I get anything I want," Julian said sarcastically. Except… But he looked at Logan with impenetrable calm, mastered by many years of faking in front of a massive audience. "Now why don't you act like a normal human being for once and then, when you think it's okay, simply ask him out on a date and save us all the trouble of having to listen your incessant whining? You might actually properly fall in love and vice versa!"
And he simply strolled out of the room. Logan glared at him as he watched him go. Derek glanced over to Julian's exit for a moment before looking at Logan, who said, "Not that he has room to complain about people whining, but he has a point. Anderson isn't going to fall all over your feet no matter how many times you push it."
"Like you expect girls to do with you?" Logan smirked at his best friend, though not unkindly.
"Hey, I work hard at getting their attention!" Derek grinned brightly. "You should learn how it feels for once."
"You mean these past two months wasn't hard enough…?" Logan groaned.
"Hey, you're the one who fixated on him," Derek threw up his hands. "You could've gone after easier game, but no, you had to go for the Windsor White Rabbit."
Logan seemed to smile more at that. Everyone knew that nickname now. And it was the first time the Twins had bestowed such a high-ranking title onto anyone. They seemed random, choosing who got to be what, but Logan knew the Twins since junior high. Nothing was random—when they thought enough of you, they'd name you.
Logan was the first character, apart from themselves, that they named—one afternoon, in Brightman manor, when they were all twelve years old, Logan's father being "celebrated" for his campaign, and all three blond boys plotting his demise via whoopee cushion prank.
The Knave. That was what they called him. Or rather, they accepted that name for him, because Logan had decided for himself. And then the Twins began "adopting" all the rest of the characters—but only during high school.
They never chose willy-nilly. They waited patiently for someone to come along who had whatever it was they were looking for. "Why do you think they named him White Rabbit anyway?" Derek asked. He had his own name—and he didn't take it too well. King of Hearts. It would've been all right, given his playboy nature, but the King was second fiddle to the Queen. It was though they say that Derek would always be second place.
"Why do you ask me?" Logan muttered. "They're not normal. They never have been since I met them. I think it's all psychological."
"But you know them better than the Windsors do and that's saying something. Do you think maybe their calling Blaine the White Rabbit is a hint to his personality or something? Maybe it'll help you crack that crazy new kid with the weird shoes."
"It's probably just because of the pocketwatch he has. For all you know, they call Julian Cheshire Cat because he keeps appearing and disappearing off to those damned shoots. Your problem is that you over think."
"And your problem is you don't make the effort to think past yourself," Derek sniffed as he got up. "Now do as we say and try a little harder so we can all have our peace. Whatever it is you see in him, if you think he's worth the effort, then it's worth doing it right."
It wasn't until Derek was at the door when Logan said, somewhat more to himself than anything, "…he's worth the effort of doing right."
Surprising. And a little pleasing. Give Logan a little challenge for a while and keep him occupied. Who knows? Maybe Blaine did inspire some kind of change in the normally cold boy. Derek turned to the hall and found Julian waiting. He smiled at his friend. Julian didn't smile back when he said, "…had those tickets for eight weeks."
"Why'd you give them to him, then?"
"Because I'm sick and tired of hearing him whine when the answer was so obvious. Would it kill him to consider the other guy's feelings for five seconds?"
"You're not exactly the image of selflessness either, Jules, save for that stunt there."
It would be the first of many. "Oh shut up, D."
"Blaine and Logan started going out then," Julian sighed from where he sat at one of the benches outside the library. "After two months of dramatics and whining in his room, with only us to rant to, and making everyone else's lives miserable, he finally took our advice and acted like a human being around Blaine."
"Blaine was already pretty much smitten, though?" Kurt replied easily.
"Well everyone knew that, but it wasn't going to be much use if Logan kept pushing this attitude of his. The I'm-pretty-much-running-this-whole-show nonchalance. And he wonders why he can't get any closer to Blaine than obvious flirting in the hall. He just ducked the looks Logan gave him. Even you weren't impressed when he acted that way the first time."
"No, I was warned early on about him. I decided to see for myself exactly what he was like before making my mind about him."
"Well, you had the advantage," Julian replied, leaning back with a smirk. "Everyone knew Logan's colors by then. Blaine didn't."
"But you did?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.
"I have a vastly different view of Logan compared to the Jekyll-Hyde thing you Windsors have going, so you shouldn't compare my viewpoint about his "true colors". Besides, you said it yourself—you had to form your own opinion."
Kurt considered him for a moment. "And then what happened?"
"Logan and Blaine saw each other a lot more, and people saw them together a lot more—and heaven forbid that a Windsor boy and a Stuart boy should get along so well, but when you see them together, they looked…well they were really good together." Julian smiled dimly. "When Logan comes back from going out with him…he's actually happy."
Kurt turned his gaze down to the earth beneath their feet, splatters of sunlight broken by the leaves in the tree branches overhead. "…Logan and Blaine…really did like each other then, didn't they?"
Julian nodded. "Yep. They did. God forbid Derek and I say it in front of Logan these days…but we really thought that Logan was really in love for once. And I guess he was. He's had his share of flings, but we haven't seen him the way he was with Blaine."
"And Blaine, he…"
"We don't doubt Blaine loved him back," Julian said so matter-of-factly that it was surprising. "We could barely stand it. We didn't know how this was happening, but it was. No one in Stuart approved, but they're not saying that to Logan's face. Windsor was still hedged on it, but I suppose while Blaine was happy, so were they. The two of them were almost sickening to watch for a while." He looked at Kurt. "Kind of like the way you and Blaine are like now."
There was a hidden note, just audible, behind the calm in Julian's voice—Kurt recognized that. Envy. So he shook his head. "It's still all your fault."
"What?" Julian turned to him.
"You refuse to tell Logan how you feel. I was right, wasn't I? You can't leave. You're still here. You're stuck here, Julian. So why don't you just tell him?"
"It doesn't work as well for me as it does for you, Alice." The last word was laced with some venom. "Because he still has feelings for you. He's learned to look past his own wants now, because of you. He's letting you go because he feels that strongly about you."
The scoff that followed was hollow, bitter as the coffee grounds that Stuart boys liked so much. "…I hate you and Blaine more than I hate anyone in the world right now. Because for the life of me, I can't see what the two of you had that he fell so hard—hard enough to fight himself, to force himself away from his own destructive tendencies. And no one else can say the same."
Silence. Kurt swallowed. Hearing this from someone of Julian's stature, it made him see the actor very differently suddenly. The glowing Julian on TV was nothing like the person next to him, who was, for lack of a better term, fragile. "Why are you like this?"
"You're not usually like this. You don't show people this side of you."
"I get tired of keeping up appearances. Sometimes I'm just as mad as every other hormonal teenager on the planet." Julian glanced at him and snorted, shaking his head. "This is ridiculous. …you know how people say that your friends are supposed to be the ones who know you best? I feel like because of what you already know, you know me better than most people in school and that almost makes you a 'friend' except that we both clearly can't stand each other for long periods of time."
Kurt smirked. "And you just said you loathed me."
"That too. But as much as I would love to push you into the school pool for being such an ingratiating diva—"
"—takes one to know one—"
"—you're still the only person I can safely talk to. As far as safe goes."
"Were you really sick, Julian, after the Fair?" he finally asked. "Because you seemed perfectly all right when we talked in the hall. And then you came down with your 'illness'." He raised an eyebrow.
"That's different," Julian muttered. "It's not about Logan."
"Because we can't have people accusing you of being overdramatic, now, can we?"
Julian didn't laugh, or smirk or even smile. His face still looked white and his hands shook. "What?" Kurt asked. "What's the matter with you?"
After a moment, Julian glanced at him and then seemed to change his mind. "…no, forget it. …maybe I shouldn't. You don't really have anything to do with it."
Julian gestured numbly. "This…thing I have. I just…" he let out a breath. "I'm dying to talk to someone about it. And I'm sick of hearing Derek's opinion on the matter because he's the only one who actually knows—"
"Maybe you can tell Logan?" Kurt said, explaining like one would to a two-year-old. "Considering you're friends and all."
"I can't tell Logan anything. That…puts him in more risk than I'm prepared to take."
He sounded serious—this all sounded a little too serious. Kurt turned fully to him, frowning. "You might as well tell me, you got this far. And I already know your other big secret. Clearly I haven't told anyone. Yet."
"I swear to god if I hear this hitting E! or The Inside Edition, I'm going to ruin every chance of Broadway you have in the future, Hummel. I can do it, I swear to you."
"Threats are unnecessary," Kurt said calmly, clearly not intimidated by him. "Besides, my talents are such that they're obvious even to the blindest producer. I'll be all right."
Julian actually laughed. He wanted to shove Kurt off the bench and into the school fountain. He can't stand this little pixie diva but "Alice" was sadly the only person he could actually turn to right now who might make a lick of sense in the haze of terror that was creeping up on him since the incident at the steps.
Derek had been blind with fury after he finished cleaning the blood off the steps. He had dragged the shell-shocked Julian out of his state of paralysis and declared every intention to tell Murdoch or someone that a lunatic had left a message. Someone close. Julian protested against him desperately. That whoever it was, she or he was just trying to get attention, or was just trying to scare or shock him—that this had happened before—
Derek just exploded. But they don't break into your private school at the dead of night! They weren't close before. They were never this close. All of Julian's strength went out once he finally convinced his friend to let it go, just for now. A few more days. Until Julian could find a way out.
If he could even find a way out.
Then he was "ill". He couldn't leave his room, he couldn't bring himself to. He couldn't sleep at night. Derek continued insisting on telling someone. Or Logan. Julian used everything he had to convince him not to.
Collateral damage. That was he was worried about. If the person was close, he didn't want to aggravate the situation by inciting panic. These people got angry, after all…
Until he was sure no one would be hurt in collateral damage if he really left…
Until he was sure, at least, that he was the only one who would draw all the venom…
"Hey, Julian," came a breathless voice that made Julian and Kurt jump. Kurt, who had been growing increasingly pale as Julian told him what he couldn't bring to tell anyone else in Stuart House, looked up to see a boy with a nervous smile. The boy's eyes widened a little as he held up his hands, looking alarmed. "Um, sorry—I was interrupting, wasn't I? Sorry. I was just…uh…" He spotted Kurt. "Uh, hi."
"It's okay," Julian seemed to breathe out at the sight of him. "I just… I'm jumpy these days." Julian rose and Kurt saw him change back into the Hollywood brat that he was. "What are you doing here, fanboy?"
Fanboy…? Kurt blinked, but his eyes were glued to the other boy's hair.
Julian then stopped and his jaw dropped in horror, with only a sharp, short laugh that belied mild amusement. "Adam, what the heck did you do to yourself?" Julian gasped as Kurt stared.
Adam stood looking awkward, scratching the back of his head. "Uh…"
His now blond head.
"You colored your hair?" Julian stared at him, just a little horrified as he picked at a lock of pale hair.
"And he's definitely fried it with some serious chemicals," Kurt's expert eye surveyed the damage, wrinkling his nose a little.
The Hanover boy turned crimson, fidgeting. "I was just trying it out, all right…? I just…wanted to see how it would look." He paused as Julian glowered at him. "I…may have fallen asleep while I was waiting for it to set in."
Julian dropped his face into his hand, looking embarrassed as Kurt remarked, "Any longer and you would've been platinum."
"I was just…wondering if you'd had some lunch in you yet, Julian," Adam said, looking a little flustered with haste and with his situation. "I heard that you were sick and I figured you should eat when you're sick and you look…" He trailed away awkwardly.
"Someone's looking after you everywhere," Kurt said to Julian curiously, but he simply stood up, adding to Adam, "You're not interrupting. Julian was just rambling."
"Oh?" Adam now looked confused. Then he looked at Julian expectantly.
Julian flashed Kurt an expression that clearly meant, Ah, what a rotten life a superstar must lead… "Well, I think I'll hang out with Adam here and be worshipped for a while. I suppose I'll have to thank you for listening to me ramble on." But he turned to Adam with a glint in his eye. "And you. Come with me. We've got to do something about that hair and even it out or something, I can't be seen with you in your condition." He grabbed Adam's hand and dragged him off.
"Why me anyway?" Kurt asked suddenly, as Julian began to walk away with the strange boy. There had to be a million other people Julian could've told his situation to, so why him? Julian glanced back at him and smiled that famous smile of his.
"Haven't you realized it yet, Alice? You're the only one sane in Wonderland. And I guess that's why trouble finds you."
"I guess it means he trusts you for some reason," Reed whispered to Kurt as the two of them walked back to Windsor House after Warbler practice. Behind them, Blaine and Logan spoke to each other in low tones as well, and while it sounded as though they were having a close discussion, it also didn't sound like an argument. Logan was following the Windsors back to their House, meaning to continue the story.
"He's actually wrong, if he thinks I'm still sane after living with all of you all this time," Kurt replied, eating an apple.
"Well, you won't tell me what you two talked about!" Reed looked a little irritated. "Then maybe I can put what he said to a better context." He paused, peeling his orange carefully, and added, "Was he really acting strange?"
"Yeah," Kurt took another bite of apple. "But strangely we got along."
"Mm…" Reed looked worried. "You see my stepbrother asked me to tell him if anything weird happens to Julian while at school."
"Yes. They're in the same TV show, so I guess they're friends? Well, anyway, Clark called me out of the blue to ask me if I noticed anything weird with Julian. I guess he knows something."
If Hollywood gets involved with that psycho stalker Julian was talking about, there's going to be a huge mess in this school. Why does everyone notice except for Logan…? Kurt glanced back to where the tall blond Warbler was having an intense discussion with Blaine, but kept their voices low. They still weren't hostile, but Blaine looked a little distressed. Logan glanced up and caught Kurt's eye. He smiled.
Kurt smiled faintly back and turned back to Reed, who eyed them and said, "…are you sure that he's…he's not going to stand between you and Blaine anymore?"
"He's definitely going to get it from me again if he tries something else after all this…" Kurt grumbled.
"Seriously now. We're all still worried!" Reed started choking on a section of orange and Kurt, without so much as calling attention to it, whacked him soundly on his back and the piece of orange popped out from Reed's throat. The smaller boy looked relieved.
"Blaine said so. Logan says…he's ended it." Kurt lifted his head nonchalantly. "…I suppose it's just a matter of getting over it now."
Reed smirked at him. "Now if only everyone else were so fortunate as to have two boys fighting over them so passionately—"
"While it does wonders for my egotism, it's not all it's cracked up to be," Kurt grumbled. "Do you want to swap places?"
"You don't want to be where I am," Reed sighed.
"You're right, I think I don't."
Kurt felt Blaine grab him back. "Wait!" Blaine suddenly said, staring at something ahead. Surprised, Kurt stared at him and then back at Windsor House. He saw immediately what Blaine was talking about.
Shane was standing by Windsor, hands shoved into his pockets, looking confused and apprehensive. Reed's eyes lit up for a moment…until he saw that Shane wasn't alone. Micah stood nearby, leaning against one of the pillars and reading under the warm glow of the lights from the building.
Blaine hissed under his breath. "I forgot… I was supposed to see them today and meet the group for dinner." He looked at Kurt. "And you're coming with us."
"I am?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.
"They want to draft you as our new fifth," Blaine smiled wanly, squeezing Kurt's hand. "You know, of the…Fabulous…Five…" he trailed away as Kurt stared, and then he hurried on with, "I tried to talk them out of it, you know, you didn't need any more complications—what?" Blaine stared as Kurt started to laugh, and laugh hard. He grinned a little himself. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing—!" Kurt smirked. "All of you. You're all insane."
"Yeah, and I'm starting to think you might be too," Blaine remarked but his eyes were bright. He looked at Logan. "Looks like I'm telling the story tonight, Logan."
"Seeing as how we just finished talking about my side of it…I suppose that's all right," Logan replied calmly. Kurt could read the tell-tale signs of someone who was mildly sedated. He really was trying. Trying. He wasn't perfect. But he tried.
Blaine looked at him differently now than Kurt had seen him look at him before. The hostility and whatever fierce hatred he had previously was scarcely there. Blaine said to Logan, "I'll try to tell it with as little bias as possible."
"It doesn't matter," Logan replied easily, with no discernible tone. "It's done now. I suppose this is good night then—you can tell the Twins, Wes and David to get out of their paintball sniping points over at your upper floors."
Instant distress from the Windsor balcony, and the sound of rifles being hastily withdrawn clicked upstairs. "How did he even—?"
Kurt satisfied himself with a glower in that direction for now, but when he turned back, Logan was already walking away. Blaine saw where Kurt's gaze was and said, "Something's really bothering him. I can tell. Something about the way he's talking. It's like he's thinking about something else."
"You seem to know him a lot better than you let on," Kurt remarked.
"Which, I guess, makes us each other's perfect enemies…" Blaine smiled faintly. He looked at Reed now. "Reed? Are you…?"
"I'm fine." Reed's response was automatic now, and had ceased to mean anything. "I'm dying to get in our room and rest, Kurt. It's been a really long day."
Whatever Reed had in mind, if he even thought he could manage sneaking past them, it was pointless. Shane's eyes flew to him the moment he presented himself. Micah looked up when he heard their footsteps and calmly closed his book, smiling.
"Hey Reed," Shane said quickly, going to him the moment he reached the three. "I'm sorry I haven't—did anyone already—" He glanced to Kurt and Blaine.
"It's fine, and yes, I've been…told the gist of it." Reed smiled that way again—the one where his eyes didn't change.
"Hello," Micah said with a smile, walking up to them as well. His glasses glinted mutely in the evening light. "Hello, Kurt, Reed." He nodded to them.
"I'm sorry, I forgot that we were supposed to go out and have dinner with the guys today," Blaine said, looking at the both of them. Micah only shook his head and answered, "Erin guessed as much, so we came to get you."
"Can we duck inside for a minute?" Kurt said quickly. "I want to get changed out of uniform."
"You better do the same too," Micah laughed to Blaine. "Erin says that if she sees you in that uniform one more time, she'll turn into a debutante."
Blaine laughed and nodded a little. "All right, I think I get it."
"Where exactly are we having dinner?" Kurt asked.
"I think I'll go ahead inside," Reed said suddenly, looking at the four of them.
"No, wait." Shane's hands glued themselves onto Reed's, looking at him. "Wait—do you—do you want to come with us?" he said hopefully, looking for a chance to explain some more.
Reed blinked, a little startled. He looked around at the four of them. And then his eyes rested on Micah again, tall with kind eyes behind the glasses. Micah caught his gaze and smiled again.
Reed smiled faintly back and quickly turned away. "No, I…I'm really busy with my exhibit. I think I'll stay in. Thanks anyway—you should have fun." He slipped away from Shane's hands and headed for Windsor, where the Twins stood curiously at the doors.
"Reed—!" Shane would've moved forward, but Micah caught his arm back and shook his head. "But…!"
"Shane…" Micah whispered carefully. "Let him go. Don't force it." Shane looked up at Micah, then back at where Reed disappeared to, and then just nodded. He stepped closer to Micah silently, staring at his feet.
"I…think I'll go change." Kurt blazed into Windsor after his friend not sure if he wanted to shake him or yell at him for running away yet again.
Windsor was in chaos—yet again—the moment he walked in. "Hello, Kurt," Charlie said almost cheerfully when Kurt and Blaine walked in. He was probably in element in this madness. "Blaine, your brother—"
"I know, I know…" Blaine said as the Twins hurried past him, still carrying their paintball rifles ("Aren't those supposed to be banned?" Kurt demanded, and was ignored). Satoru came whirling down the steps, holding a Tupperware container with a biohazard sticker stuck onto it.
"Chaz, can I put this in the fridge?" he yelled.
"Is it chemical?"
"Is it flammable?"
"Does it blow up?"
"Does it contaminate things?"
"Then why does it have a biohazard sticker?"
"Uh…I…don't want people eating it…?"
Charlie looked deadpan. "…we'll pretend I believe you. Carry on." He turned to the common room. "Evan! Ethan! If you shoot David with that rifle, I'm setting fire to your comic book collection!" Charlie looked up at Kurt and Blaine at the top of the staircase and yelled, "Curfew! Don't forget or I'm locking you out!"
"Yes, mother…" Blaine smirked as he followed Kurt into the second floor hall, knowing Charlie never locked anyone out.
"And whatever you do, don't—!"
"It's been defiled!" came a hysterical howl from upstairs as Kurt cried, "Why are there even fifteen containers of this stuff in the hall?"
"…touch Dwight's salt shipment…" Charlie finished lamely before trying to rein in the Twins as a volley of paintballs rattled the common room.
Another explosion rocked the dorm (first floor this time, so whatever it is that Satoru had must've done it) just as Kurt rushed into his room and quickly shut the door as though trying to escape from the jungle of the hall. He let out his breath. He wondered for the life of him why he imagined having a life at Dalton would ever be 'quiet'.
He looked up and saw Reed pacing his white (and still paint-splattered) side of the room. "What was that?" Kurt demanded.
"Not that…" Kurt snapped as hasty knocks came at his door. Kurt picked up a fire extinguisher, opened the door and handed it to Drew ("Thanks, Kurt!") and slammed the door shut again without so much as looking away from Reed. "I meant you and Shane out there! I thought all this time, you wanted answers! He wants to talk to you, so let him explain!"
"I chickened out." Reed said shakily, flailing. "Micah was standing right there!"
"I'm not him!" Reed finally burst out. "I'm nothing like him! Have you seen him? He's tall and good looking and he looks like he couldn't break a dinner plate if he dropped one—and—and—!"
"This ought to be good," Kurt muttered as he looked at his friend, arms crossed over his chest expectantly.
"And…" Reed crumpled into a chair. "…before I came upstairs… I saw Micah hug him."
"I can't do that!" Reed yelled. He looked worked up now and he paced as Kurt rolled his eyes and headed to the closet. "Don't you get it? I'm not like you! I can't be like you and Blaine, walking around holding hands and being so completely utterly sure of yourselves! Easy as breathing! Every time I see the two of you, I keep wondering why I can't have things like that! All because I can barely even bring myself to touch Shane's hand because I always freak out about every move I make around him, if it's even right or if I'm even supposed to or—!" he choked. "I can't reach out and just hold him like Micah does—and he's the one who up and disappeared for over a year!" He sank back into the chair. "I let Shane do as he likes around me because I trust him but when it's my turn, I…I choke!"
Reed threw himself onto the bed, facedown again. "Micah can give Shane what I can't—reciprocation and initiative. How is that…in any way…normal?"
"The choke part."
Reed looked up to see Kurt standing over him, already pulling on a jacket. He was smirking a little. "You think you're the only one in the planet who suddenly closes up in panic when they come near the person they like?"
"You don't," Reed mumbled. "Micah certainly doesn't, it seems."
"I'm not you, Micah is also not you, and you're not either of us. And consider that when you think about how it's you who Shane seems to really like. Still does, actually, if his behavior outside was any indication. What exactly, may I ask, are you doing wrong, then?"
And with a last burst of hairspray, he slipped out the door and left Reed to his thoughts. He immediately saw Blaine, already changed, approaching him. "How's Reed?"
"With any luck? Coming to his senses." Kurt smiled and said, "After this, can we please please do something far away from this hysteria?"
Blaine took Kurt's hand and pulled him a little bit closer—just in time to keep him away from the door as a second blast rocked the floor—and nodded. "I can use a little bit of time away from this asylum too once in a while. That and…" he looked at Kurt intently, "…I have to talk to you about Parents' Night. Since…I'm meeting your parents again and…you're meeting mine."
"You look nervous."
"I'm very very nervous." Blaine moved a hand through his hair. "After all…the last time parents got involved, that began my problems with Logan…"
"When did the "honeymoon" period end, anyway?"
"It didn't actually end with the incident I'm talking about. I'm just saying that when his father got involved, I started to learn how…volatile Logan was. That was around the time Windsor was going crazier than usual, because Wes was supposed to transfer in at last, and at the same time, Windsor received one more person."
"If you smile any harder, the entire top of your head is coming off."
Blaine elbowed David in the ribs, still carrying his box of things as he set it down on the bed. He had begun packing his things, even though David told him not to. The room could hold up to three people after all, and the both of them would be quite happy to have him stay with them. Blaine, however, had the opinion that if he had to room with the two of them, he was going to progressively ruin himself.
"Are you that happy now that you're going out with Logan officially?" Wes asked as he helped Blaine track down all his textbooks. Wes was still technically a Hanover, but he was coming more and more often to Windsor now, and would be a Windsor permanently in a matter of days.
"You should see Blaine when Logan shows up at Windsor's doors. He drops everything and goes to see him," David smirked mercilessly, and Blaine resisted the urge to throw something at his friend.
"Is he the reason for the image switch?" Wes asked curiously. "When did you start fixing your hair like that?"
"Like what?" Blaine asked, self-consciously touching his head of black curls, which, while usually unruly, was now controlled by a heavy dosage of hair gel. Wes pretended to rap his knuckles onto Blaine's head and pretended to make a metal clanging sound. Blaine swatted him off, turning red. "Leave it alone."
"It's…definitely new," David grinned, prodding at it.
"What are you doing?" Wes asked, wide-eyed.
"Just…trying to look a little more put together, that's all…" Blaine mumbled, stuffing books into the box.
"Don't tell me you're trying to get "a little more put together" for Logan, please Blaine, don't tell me…"
"It's not!" but color soared into Blaine's face. "I just figured… seeing as how…you know, people think a bit more highly of me now—" and here Wes and David grinned at him, "—I could clean up a little, you know?"
"Yeah, but an entire bottle of gel, Blaine? Really? What are you trying to do, glue Logan to you?" Wes and David continued messing with Blaine's hair, and Blaine simply swatted them off, scarlet-faced, and stuffing books and things into boxes.
"Quit that for five seconds, we told you, we want you to stay, you were here first," Wes grabbed the books out of Blaine's hands.
"My grade point average doesn't want me to stay," Blaine grumbled back. "Hanging around the both of you will ruin all my concentration."
"That's not true," Wes protested. "David's got one of the best GPAs in Windsor!"
"It would be the best GPA in Windsor if we didn't drive him nuts all the time, and now that you're here—"
"Are you kidding? I need the distraction. I'm not some grade-obsessed Stuart. No offense," he added to Blaine. "Darn it, it's hard to say nasty things about Stuart guys around you. Why'd you have to go and date one?"
Blaine just smiled remembering the practice with Logan yesterday. Logan had played music on the piano and started singing along to it and Blaine knew that the song was for him.
"Aaand we've lost him." Wes rolled his eyes, looking grossed out.
At that instant, someone came pounding at the door and it flew open to reveal Joshua looking wildly elated. "Come on! Charlie and the other upperclassmen are freaking out—check out the new kid! He won't let anyone near him!"
"New kid…?" The three boys in the room came running out to the railing that overlooked the entrance hall and saw the junior and senior boys crowding by the door and the Twins hanging over the staircase rail looking as wide-eyed as a pair of children at fairgrounds.
This was for a very excellent reason. The new boy—being given a large berth by the older boys—was standing at the door wearing a heavy trenchcoat, surrounded by his luggage that were still being brought in. The baggage consisted of suitcases and massive trunks that looked like the ones pirates usually unearthed out of beaches. The pale, dark-haired boy was staring at Ryan, the prefect, and Charlie, the unspoken leader of the junior boys.
"I don't understand," the new boy said coldly, but his eyes looked frightened. He was holding what looked like a sprayer of water. Around his feet was a white line of powdered substance, which still trickled from a small canister at his other hand—it was salt.
Ryan looked around a moment before saying, "Uh…look, freshman—"
Ryan looked at the sheet in his hand. "This says your name is Thomas."
"Thomas Dwight Houston," the boy bristled as his butler continued to dump stuff around him, completely unperturbed by his charge's behavior. "If you call me Thomas or any variation thereof, I swear I will get my crossbow out."
"Okay, take it easy." Ryan stepped forward. The water sprayer immediately got raised to his face as the boy backed half a step further behind the salt line. The Twins looked deeply interested.
"Got ourselves a really crazy one here…" Charlie stared. "Howard's going to be thrilled."
"Shut up, Amos!" Ryan almost yelled and Charlie just rolled his eyes and shrugged. What a pain. Another Windsor who was just that little bit further off the deep end.
But it gave Blaine an idea. His eyes landed on the Twins, who now looked at him. Blaine quickly went past the others and whispered to the both of them. After listening carefully, the Twins smiled.
Ryan looked up as the Twins shoved forward among the ranks, so far forward that they just nearly tripped over the new boy's salt line. Dwight eyed them with marked suspicion, medallions and sprayer raised. "…doppelgangers…?"
"Hello!" they said cheerfully.
"What are they doing?" Joshua hissed to Blaine, clutching onto his shoulder.
Blaine grinned. "I don't know—but maybe it takes two people who can speak crazy to calm the new guy down?"
"What's wrong, new guy?" the towering Twins asked, smiling down at him and clearly unafraid of the water sprayer aimed at them. "What are you so scared of?"
The response was automatic. "This place is completely unprotected against any and all malignant beings alive, dead or undead. I can't be too careful especially in an ancient prep school."
The boys stared.
"You came prepared, huh?" the Twins were more amused now.
Dwight narrowed his eyes and kicked one of his trunks open. The boys around him took another wide-eyed step back at first, and then moved a little closer to inspect the collection of weapons and instruments that the trunk contained. They weren't guns—they were arrows, spikes, crystals, bottles with questionable contents and even an actual sword and shield (but the blade wasn't sharp and the shield was a miniature), encrusted with runes and rust.
"What…the…hell…?" Wes and David stared.
The Twins were sold on him immediately. "Most excellent, little Knight," they said, as they observed the 'weaponry'. "You'll fit right in."
"Pardon?" for the first time, the boy looked surprised, looking up from behind the sprayer. Later on, Dwight would explain that it was the first time in his history of education that he was told that he would "fit in".
Joshua laughed and shook his head. "Oh man…"
"You named him already…?" Ryan asked, looking long-suffering, knowing what was going to happen next. He had succeeded the long-suffering Peter, who the Twins attacked the very day they set foot into Dalton.
"Would you like to see our collection of weaponry?" the Twins asked politely, hands behind their backs, holding nerf guns.
Dwight slowly lowered his sprayer a fraction. "You…have weaponry…?"
As mayhem erupted in Windsor House once the Twins officially started attacking the newbie—who was currently running around the second floor screaming his lungs out and flinging salt and holy water everywhere, other Windsors ducking for cover—Joshua knocked at Blaine's door, with a small smile. "Hey. Your boyfriend's here."
Blaine looked up from the window where he was talking on the phone. "I know, Shane. Shut up, we haven't done anything." He looked embarrassed. "Yeah. Take care out there. Bye." He hung up and tucked his phone away, looking up at Joshua. "What?"
"Your boyfriend's waiting outside."
Blaine smiled faintly, feeling a twinge as he usually did when Joshua got involved. From the very beginning, they both had liked Logan, but it steadily became obvious that Logan was far more interested in Blaine than Joshua. Logan was reasonably civil enough with Joshua, who had auditioned for the Warblers and successfully passed, but his attentions seemed mainly diverted towards Blaine. He was the only one he ever actually flirted with.
After that, it got awkward, especially when Logan suddenly became friendly with Blaine, sitting with him for no reason and handing him coffee between classes or even just talking to him. It was because Joshua was often with Blaine as this happened, and Blaine saw a riot of emotions going past his eyes when the other boy would excuse himself. Whatever it was, Joshua refused to let it be too obvious, though, and remained incredibly supportive.
That's why it was awkward.
"Blaine!" Joshua's voice prompted him, tearing him from reverie. "Blaine, you're keeping an incredibly handsome gay boy waiting downstairs. I will throw you down there if you don't get moving."
"Right!" Blaine glanced at himself in the mirror, then down at his clothes. "Do I look all right?"
"What did you do to your head?" Joshua gaped, prodding the solid mass of curls.
"Oh god, I'm not going out there."
And then the next thing he knew, Joshua was hurling him out the door. "Clean cup! Move down!" he yelled loudly into the noise in the hall.
Blaine fell into the Twins, who caught him by the arms and cheerfully went hurtling down the hallway. "Move down!" and they tossed Blaine forward into David, who was standing by the top of the stairs.
David caught Blaine's arm and grinned. "Move down!" He pulled Blaine down the staircase, passing Reed, who smiled and waved at their progress.
"Move down!" Wes called up to the others as he caught Blaine the moment David released him. Wes was the one who yanked Blaine along and then threw him forward in the entrance hall, sending him stumbling all the way out—
—and into a powerful pair of arms.
"We're not in that much of a hurry, but it's nice to see you too," Logan said, smiling down at Blaine with those intense eyes of his.
"Hi," Blaine said quickly, hastily getting himself together as he straightened up, face heating up. "The people in my dorm are insane, that's all."
"Bring him back in one piece, Knave," the Twins threatened—all too seriously—from inside.
With the ease of someone with a great deal of practice, Logan ignored them as he simply slipped his arm around Blaine's shoulder, leading him out towards where the car he called for was waiting. "I take it that I was just in time. Windsor seems to have gotten a live one in there." Logan grinned and looked back towards where Windsor House was still engaged in some serious bedlam.
Blaine laughed, letting Logan's fingers twine into his as he looked up at him. "Where exactly are we going tonight?"
"I was thinking of having Italian this time," Logan answered, keeping him close against him. "Is that all right with you?"
"Anywhere is fine as long as it doesn't involve you having anything you're allergic to again," Blaine grinned.
"Please, like I want you to see me like that again," Logan shook his head with a laugh. "I'm not about to bring us both running to an emergency room."
"Yeah, your friends seem to still think I'm responsible for that."
"Don't mind them," Logan rolled his eyes, looking irritated, remembering Derek and Julian's reaction when they heard he and Blaine were in the ER. "They like sticking their noses into my business. How were you supposed to know that I can't eat crab anyway?"
Blaine smiled a little. "By telling me? You know, there's a whole lot about you that I don't know just yet."
Logan gazed at him and smiled slightly. "…I'm not sure you're ready to see all of me just yet."
"I'm not?" Blaine looked at him, trying to catch his eye. "You know a lot about me, why can't it be the same in my end?"
"Because unlike you, I have a lot more flaws." Logan smirked. He leaned down and stole a kiss from Blaine, making the other boy turn away with a light blush—he never understood how Logan found it so easy to do such things. Logan only seemed amused, and, as he had sometimes told Blaine, too happy to care. Logan never really cared about what anyone thought of him or what he did…
…it was something Blaine would have to get used to.
They went out more or less regularly—Logan, from time to time, complained about the swill they serve in the cafeteria (some of the best school nourishment Blaine had seen in his life) and preferred eating out with Blaine when they could afford to do so.
But while it seemed like another of those dinners out that their friends in both Houses weren't entirely thrilled about, this one in particular was the first time Blaine discovered, to some extent, exactly why Logan didn't want him finding out things about him just yet.
It was in the middle of dinner when Logan got the call. The conversation had been about what they planned to do after high school. While Blaine intended to go to a school with an excellent focus on theater and take it from there, Logan seemed to literally have no plans—even though it would seem that his way was mapped out towards Political Science, he certainly wasn't all that willing to let go of singing. Blaine thought it was strange that he would be geared towards—
That was when the call came. Logan had glared at it the moment it appeared on his screen and that was the first sign. He seemed both surprised and furious at the sight of it. Blaine had never seen such a reaction on him, and had to ask. "Who is it?"
"No one important," Logan snapped as he pushed it to the side of the table. But his mood remained bad as the phone continued to vibrate. Whoever was calling refused to stop, and it just kept on. Logan's mood worsened as it continued.
Finally Blaine just said, "Pick up the call, already. Whoever it is isn't going to stop."
"Unfortunately not," Logan snarled, picking up the phone and taking the call furiously. "It's really nice of you to grace me with your attention for once! What did I do now?" the boy snapped at the caller with such venom in his voice that Blaine was startled.
Logan's expression only worsened. "What the hell are you—I haven't done anyth—" Whoever was on the other end was yelling, more furiously than Logan was being. Logan rose and stormed right out of the restaurant and immediately followed.
He found Logan outside engaged in a heated battle. "I don't care!" he snarled into the phone. "You're not blaming this one on me, I've been in freaking Westerville all this time—" color soared into Logan's face suddenly. "So what? I went back to New York with Derek and Julian, we were there for two days, we didn't even do a damn thing, Michelle can tell—!"
Blaine stared at him. Logan only got angrier. "No. You heard me, no, I haven't—it's not like you actually give a rat's—! I don't have to listen to this!" he hung up and literally flung the phone away the way Blaine only ever saw done in movies.
Concerned, Blaine went up to him and touched his arm. "Logan—"
With a sudden swing, Logan swatted his hand away angrily, Blaine's wrist turning red. "Just leave it the hell the alone!"
"What's the matter with you?" Blaine asked. "Who was that?"
"Well what the hell do you think?" Logan snapped, towering over him angrily. "Not that it's any of your damn business, but it's my damn father doing what he does best—being a complete and total piece of—"
Blaine stood staring at him in shock and Logan seemed to realize exactly who he was talking to. With great effort he tore away from Blaine and walked a short distance off in a storm of frustrated fury. He looked up at the sky as though demanding answers from it that it could never actually give.
Blaine rubbed his wrist and walked to him carefully, looking his boyfriend over in concern. "Logan…"
The taller boy held up a hand, as though to stop him from going on or saying anything further. He was visibly controlling himself, and in the end, that hand fell over Blaine's. The shorter boy looked down at it and then at him, smiling a little. "Hey. Come on."
Logan looked at him for a long moment and shook his head. "…I was just…"
"You think you're the only one who has problems with his father?" Blaine asked gently.
He felt Logan's hand clench upon his tightly, surprising him. He put his other hand over Logan's and looked up at him intently. "It's okay."
Logan seemed to let out his breath, clutching tight onto his hand. "No…it's not."
"I'd never seen him angry like that before," Blaine murmured as he sat on his bed later that night. Joshua was lying at the foot of the bed with sheet music. He was a Warbler now, and he seemed dedicated to the task. "D'you have any idea what all that was about?"
For a moment, Joshua gave him a long look. "You really haven't heard? I thought if he hadn't told you, you'd hear about it. It's not exactly a secret."
"Our dorm atmosphere isn't exactly conducive to discussions about Stuarts," Blaine responded.
"That, and clearly, you're not that into politics," Joshua grinned as he sat next to Blaine. "You don't know that his father is Senator John Logan Wright? They do have the same name. And the same temper."
Blaine stared at him. "His father is who—?"
"Yes, that one," Joshua sighed. "The one Logan got into some hot water when he proved having a…temper of his own. No one outside of Stuart knows anything about it, but… my brother told me that Logan did something back in Manhattan. Only Derek and Julian know the whole story, but whatever it is, it was really bad. Logan and the Senator haven't gotten along, like, ever… But whatever Logan did to make his dad angry that time, it was the last straw. He sent him packing here, pretty much exiled him."
"Nobody ever tells me anything worth knowing early on!" Blaine flopped down onto the bed with a groan.
"Why?" Joshua asked with a small smile. "Would you have rejected him if you knew that he and his dad have problems?"
"No…" Blaine stared at the ceiling. "I have problems with my dad too, you know. I know what it's like." He paused before adding, "I just wanted to know. So I wouldn't have to tread that line again. You should have seen how angry he got, Josh."
"Logan gets upset easily," Joshua admitted, leaning against Blaine. "But you shouldn't take it too personally. Some people have a short temper, that's all."
Blaine smiled and leaned against his friend. "…you know more about him than I do."
"Of course I do," Joshua smirked. "When I have a crush on someone, I try to find out all I can! I don't have it easy like some other people…" He grinned at Blaine.
"About that…" Blaine now turned to his friend with a frown. "…shouldn't we…I don't know, talk about it? You were here first, and you liked him a while—you still like him—"
"Blaine." Joshua laughed. "You're being stupid. Look, I don't go after guys who are tied down. And it's not a matter of who got there first, it's a matter of who the other guy likes. And he likes you, not me, obviously."
Joshua flopped down next to him, grinning. "Besides, so what if I still like him? He's pretty gorgeous, Blaine, hard not to! Come on, can you honestly say that if I was in your spot, you wouldn't still think he was hot even though he's taken?"
"You're insane," Blaine laughed, pushing him off the bed into a laughing heap on the floor.
"No, you both are," David remarked from where he was doing math homework and getting frustrated about it. But he smiled at them. "You both have awful taste in dudes." This only made the two of them laugh harder. David rolled his eyes as Joshua got up and draped himself on him, still laughing.
"Don't worry, David," Joshua said happily, hugging him. "When Wes comes over, you two can talk about girls all you like, Blaine and I will do the bonding time."
"Nah, I have the feeling you both will need us," David grinned. "Hey, someone's going to have to keep up with your crazy."
The door blew open and the Twins came running in. "Run!" they yelled gleefully as they leapt over the couch in the room. "Run! The new guy's after us!" They erupted into laughter and dived behind the couch as Dwight came running in carrying one of the Twins' paintball guns, shooting like there was no tomorrow.
"Kurt? Can I talk to you for a minute? Alone?"
Kurt looked up and saw Shane looking at him, apprehensive. Erin, Becca and Micah continued to talk amongst themselves over the dinner table, but Blaine looked up. Shane glanced to him for a moment, and then turned his worried green-gray eyes back to Kurt.
"Please?" he asked.
Kurt glanced to Blaine, who looked up at his brother and asked, "What's wrong?"
"I just have to talk to Kurt about something," Shane said, looking at him with would-be innocent eyes, but his brother had already seen the concern. Blaine sat still, looking up at him. "If this is about Reed, I'm fine hearing it. He's my friend too."
"Kurt knows him better, he's his roommate…" Shane murmured sadly.
Micah looked up from the table. Shane blanched and looked down quickly at Kurt, touching his elbow. "Come on, please? It'll be really quick and it's going to get really awkward really fast if we talk here."
Kurt sighed and rose, nodding to Blaine. "I'll talk to him. I also promise not to hurt him unless he says something particularly stupid."
"That'll be nearly as soon as I talk," Shane sighed.
Kurt caught Shane by the elbow and pulled him out of the restaurant and into the cold night air outside. For a moment, Shane seemed to try to collect his thoughts in an attempt to make the least ridiculous way of saying what he wants to say.
So Kurt curbed it. "What did you want to explain to Reed that he didn't seem to want to listen to earlier?"
"Is he angry with me?" Shane immediately asked.
"He's having problems dealing with the fact that you and your ex are incredibly close."
"He's…well if you're being technical about it, he's not actually my ex—" Shane blanched at the judging expression that Kurt bestowed on him. "I mean…yeah, I'm not helping my case, am I."
"He's aware that the last time you and Micah had seen each other, no actual 'breaking up' had happened. Micah just disappeared. And from the conversation over at dinner, it looks like Micah didn't have a choice."
Shane winced, because his family was tied to that. The suspicions he and Blaine have always had about Micah was true—Mr. Anderson had outed Micah to the Randalls, and threatened them against their son coming to see his sons again. The Randalls were horrified—between Micah's orientation or Mr. Anderson's threats, it was hard to be sure which they were more horrified at—and Micah fought them every inch of the way, but he was sent to some highly religious relatives in North Carolina to "straighten" him out.
Micah had been more or less locked away there, until his school there sent him and schoolmates to the same San Francisco book fair that he ran into Erin and Becca in. Officially, Micah was on the run even though he sent a message to his parents about leaving with his friends. No one knew he was in Ohio save for his old friends. He was knee deep in some serious trouble now, but the quiet boy belied nothing in his countenance.
"Parents' Night is going to be incredible," Shane muttered bitterly. "I'm not going back to Colorado until that's over because I'm going to explode on dad for the first time, I think I actually will. How could he do that to Micah? He can't just go around threatening—"
"Shane." Kurt stared at him. "What did you want to ask me about?"
"Does he hate me?" Shane asked.
"No." Kurt rolled his eyes. "You have to stop asking other people that every five seconds and ask him yourself."
"I'm too afraid the answer will be yes if I asked him."
Kurt patted his shoulder. "Would it help if I told you that he's shying away from you because you haven't even made up your mind? I can tell at this point that you're torn between Micah and Reed."
Shane groaned and fell squatting onto the walk, hands buried into his curly thatch of hair. "I hate this! I mean on the one hand—and then on the other—Kurt, I'm not a bad person, right? Am I completely evil for even having this problem?"
"It just got confusing," Kurt responded with a deep sigh. "Happens a lot around here. Things getting complicated really fast."
"…I wish I was like you."
That made Kurt look down towards him. Shane was staring miserably at the pavement. "…Blaine says…you're always so confident. Even when things got so rough at your old school…you knew who you were, when you set your mind to something, you did it. You made your own decisions." He threw a pebble away. "…I wish I was more like you."
Kurt smiled a little, feeling strangely affectionate at the younger boy. Sighing, he laid a hand on Shane's head. "Well not everyone can be like me."
"What would you do?" Shane asked, looking up at him with worried eyes. "If you were in my place, what would you do?"
"That's pointless. Because the question is what you should do, not what I should do. What I choose to do has nothing to do with you." Kurt squatted down carefully and looked at Shane. "You don't love both of them the same way, Shane. You can love them both, but not the same way. And if you can figure out which one you love which way, you have your answer."
Shane stared back at him, still a little anxious, and murmured, "…was that…how you figured out Blaine and Logan?"
Kurt turned away from him, looking distant and thoughtful. He carefully stood, brushing his pants off. "No." He glanced back into the restaurant, where he immediately caught Blaine's warm gaze. "…there just wasn't a doubt in my head that it was Blaine, between him and Logan." He smiled back at his boyfriend. "…it was always Blaine."
Shane smiled faintly, looking out into the shadows. "Blaine told me that…you were different from when it was with Logan. With Logan, he felt like he was always on his guard. Like…trying to pick your way through a swamp. But with you…it felt easy. It just felt…like seeing you smile was all he needed." He stared. "…is that how it's supposed to feel like?"
It was the way he said it. Kurt, surprised and a little pleased, now turned to look at him again. "Shane…" he said, as he headed for the door, a curious smile on his face, "…why do I get the feeling that you already know your answer…? And you're just worried about how it would affect the other one?"
When Shane glanced up at him, Kurt smiled and disappeared back into the restaurant.
When Kurt and Blaine returned to Dalton, it was late. They were pushing curfew as it was, and they had to hurry back to Windsor. They had just barely made it in as Charlie was preparing to lock the House up. He didn't seem too upset to see them—at least they had come on time and through the doors. It was considered normal for Windsors to break in by way of the windows when they were out way too late.
Blaine gave him a goodnight kiss that lasted too long. The way he held him made Kurt look up at him curiously. In response, Kurt touched Blaine's wrist. After a moment's pause, he said, "…is it really so hard for you to think about what happened then? Because we haven't even gotten to the bad part."
"No." Blaine smiled, keeping Kurt close against him. "Everything just reminded me how…insanely lucky I was…that I came down those stairs when I did. That you touched my arm when you did, and asked me what was going on."
Kurt smirked. "You're being melodramatic."
"No, I'm crazy about you." Blaine grinned. "Hey, you have to admit, that's as lucky as someone gets," he laughed. "A hundred boys were running down those stairs, but it was me you stopped."
"My taste is impeccable," Kurt replied with a smile.
"Apparently so," Blaine laughed.
"You have to admit, all this is helping you and Logan get along," Kurt told him pointedly. "It only looks as though you would like to stab each other, and not throw each other in the path of a school bus."
"Well, you did want us to…work all this out. Progress is progress, I guess." But Blaine leaned close and whispered, "But I still don't want him near the both of us for awhile."
"I'm sure." Kurt smirked at his proximity.
Blaine kissed him gently again. "See you tomorrow."
"Your story isn't finished."
"I know." Blaine smiled at the door. "But we have time."
It wasn't until Windsor was silent, after Kurt closed the door to his room, finding it still completely lit and Reed asleep on his schoolbooks, that Han finished a riveting Starcraft battle and sank his head down onto his hands. He rubbed his eyes from under his glasses before sighing, feeling tired and leaning his head back, feeling it crackle. He felt stiff and maybe he should rest even for half an hour.
…that was when he saw the movement.
It wasn't often that Hansel Westwood took a really good look at his screens during the boring nighttime when everyone was asleep. He usually only looked through them when Windsor was carrying out another crazy plan that night, or if the Twins expressly requested him to.
Tonight, one of his bugs picked up something strange, and he just happened to look in the right time.
The same way Kurt just happened to glance out a second-floor window as he went out to get a glass of milk, the one facing Stuart House, at the right time.
It was a shadow of movement—that had just fled Stuart House.
Kurt's mind flashed.
I have this stalker…
He went running down the stairs, feet thumping and sounding hollow on the wood steps.
How she gets into the school, I don't know…
Dwight wasn't unaccustomed to the sound of activity outside in the halls past curfew, but this felt different. He rose, picking up his holy water sprayer, and headed out his door, going through the hallway. He reached the upper landing just in time to see a body clothed in silk pajamas—too fashionable for a lot of the boys to bother with, and too tall to be the smaller fashionista—vanishing into the entrance hall.
…but she left me a "present" the other day…
Han frowned at the screen, seeing something in the trees at Stuart House. Was it someone calling in another prank that he just didn't know about?
But he couldn't zoom in any closer, or even get a good look at it. He looked up at the Windsor cams just as Kurt vanished out the door. Where's he going?
I want to tell someone, anyone…
Kurt was running across the grounds, looking around for any sign of movement, hoping to spot whoever it was. Being once at the receiving end of an actual death threat, things like the ones Julian described were taken seriously in his book. If no one knew…if that was that stalker again…someone should tell Stuart House that she paid another visit.
…but I…I can't. Because…
"Kurt?" Dwight didn't like it when people went around willy-nilly during the nighttime. Who knew what malignant undead beings ran around this old private school at this time of night?
He looked around outside Windsor and saw his friend running towards Stuart House. "Kurt!" Oh man, I better get him before a vampire does or something and Blaine freaks out. He ran.
…because what if she's too close? What if…
Han saw Kurt's figure enter his "Stuart bug's" field of view. He started to feel a little apprehensive, looking into what few bugs on the grounds he had. There was just something wrong with this picture. What was Kurt doing at this hour?
…well if she knows where I am and where I stay…
Kurt looked around for anything unusual in the silence.
The steps were empty. The trees looked quiet as he wandered around them. The lights were on at a number of windows in Stuart House. The occupants were usually up late. There was just no way anyone would be stupid enough to do anything. Not even Windsors went this early to prank someone.
…there's no telling what else she knows…
The hand that grabbed his arm nearly made Kurt scream and he turned around to see Dwight's startled expression. "Dude, what are you doing here?" the panicked sophomore hissed.
Kurt let out a sigh of relief and swatted at his arm with a glare. "Don't scare me like that!"
"Me?" Dwight stared, and he looked annoyed. "You're the one running around past curfew, like you don't normally do?" He gave Kurt an all-too-suspicious look. "…you're not coming here to see Logan, are you? Ow! Ow!" Kurt had started to hit his arm again and he squirmed away.
"No, I was not!"
"I was just asking!"
"Go back to the dorm," Kurt grumbled, pushing him back to the direction of Windsor. "Let's go. There's nothing here."
"Oh, were you out hunting?" Dwight asked, perking up and looking a little interested. "What were you tracking?"
"Nothing you should know about. Go? Now?"
"Hey, I'll have you know that I'm good at tracking down things that wander around school at night! I totally nearly caught that rodent that was rooting at Charlie's flower beds in the greenhouse!"
"Did I mention that the chapel bell is haunted by this dead girl who got brokenhearted by one of the guys in this academy twenty-five years ago?"
Kurt rolled his eyes. What was he even doing out here. So he saw something outside. Big deal, the boys in this school could barely be constrained by curfew, it was probably some Stuart who was coming late from seeing some girl. It was probably Derek for all he knew.
This all was temporary insanity. Clearly it was rubbing off on him. Maybe if he got some sleep, all these secrets rapidly unraveling around him would stop getting to him this badly.
…and who else she could get to.
Dwight took Kurt's lack of response as a sign that he was getting really annoyed and just fell silent. No one in this school really understood the actual danger that some of them could get into by not being prepared enough against malignant forces beyond their comprehension.
It ranged from bad luck to pure evil, and sometimes it could be really hard to tell the difference if the rest of the school wasn't so hell-bent on being stranger than they already were.
Dwight glanced up for a moment at the direction of the block of buildings to South and Main, and for a moment, he blinked. He had thought, for a moment, that he had looked up just when a light went out at the Dalton Art Hall, and that unsettling, fleeting image of blond hair.
But the rest of the building was cold and empty, and only the Twins wandered about everywhere that was locked, so maybe they were in there, wreaking havoc or making some interesting "redecorations".
Either that, or even that Hall is haunted. But then again, what else was new in this school…?
Besides, if it was the Twins, he expected to hear about it in the morning.
At school the next day, the hall was full of students bustling to get to class and arguing over what tests they were having and what they were taking up for the day, who did what, where and when, and various other mundane things that he couldn't be bothered to deal with.
Parents Night approached. Everyone was too busy. It was easy to slip in and out of the throng.
He spotted the boy immediately—it was hard not to. The boy was a little luminescent as opposed to the rest of the students in the hall. Maybe it was the way he stood or walked and moved. People knew him—who didn't know a star?
He followed the boy peaceably, biding his time waiting for him to become alone.
He looked pale today, as though he didn't get much sleep. Pity. He had wanted to meet him in his best condition. The boy was stopped, from time to time, by people he knew in the hallways, or those who simply needed to talk to him for one reason or another.
He hurried on the down the hall, seeing that the boy would be alone soon, looking a little tired. Of course he would be, if he was starting to put two and two together. It really was something to think about.
Just what did he already know? What had he said to other people?
And more importantly…was it time to act, and make sure everything stays quiet?
He saw him stop, put down his books and telltale coffee cup on the table, possibly waiting for those who were apparently his friends. He walked to him, as he arranged his books, stepping up behind him. He felt a slick of amusement as the boy jumped when he turned and found him there.
"Hello, Kurt. I'm Adam. Can I talk to you for a minute?"
The Windsor diva smiled. "Sure."
In the next episode: Hell Night approaches. Pressure is in all directions as everyone is pressed to be on their very best for their esteemed parents, ready or not. In the past, in the present, things are coming to a head. The boys throw flares of mischief into the foreboding future in an attempt to light their way. Everyone, absolutely everyone, is laying plans.