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

I deeply apologize for the lateness of my regular update. I had arrived much too late from an event I attended. I had made sure to finish the chapter before I left, but I could not make the last revision and post until I returned. Again, I am grateful to those who enjoyed the last episode, and to all the kind commenters leaving wonderful words for me every day. Your support has been invaluable.

I hope you enjoy this next episode. :)

(I do not own Glee-it is far too fabulous for that.)


Dalton

Episode 5: Cookies


Friday afternoon, late.

Scene: Dean of Student Affairs Elizabeth Ramsey's office.

Cast: Kurt, Blaine, Wes, David, Evan, Ethan, Dwight, Reed, House Head Howard…and Dean Ramsey.

Situation: The declaration of an after party at Windsor came to effect shortly after arriving.

Party.

Windsor.

Doesn't usually end well.

.

"So…"

When the dean finally chose to speak, the boys fidgeted—Blaine leaned back on his seat with a sigh, Kurt sank his head into a hand—as she walked behind her desk in front of them, seeming to take this into consideration. Kurt could read teachers' vibes, but while Dean Ramsey was registering absolute calm in his sensors, something was definitely brewing there. Her things were all packed up and she looked as though she were about to leave for the weekend, so if she took her time to gather them here right before leaving, then there was definitely a blip.

Finally she looked at them and sat down on her cushioned chair which barely made a sound as she did. She was a trim woman in her forties, married (the massive Tiffany on her finger was the indication), slightly on the heavy side with watery gray eyes and severely tied red hair.

Kurt had only ever been in her office once before—and it was on his first day of school, discussing his transfer, and living adjustments—and his impression of her was that she was absolutely unremarkable. Or so it appeared.

She folded her hands on the table, looking at them with an amazing poker face.

"You had a party."

David pursed his lips and looked to the sky in silent appeal. The boys looked awkward.

The dean continued. "And it, from all student accounts, seemed to have gone "pretty awesome"." She emphasized the last two words. She pursed her lips in a tight smile. "Well, Windsor House is rather popular for that, isn't it?"

Wes fought back a smile with great effort. Howard was a silent witness—he might as well have been a Christmas Island head with a body standing like décor on one corner of the office. His arms were folded, watching like a vulture waiting for dead bodies.

"And the party, I understand…was to celebrate Dalton's win on the fencing meet today." She smiled a bit more. "Oh, I'm sorry—it would appear that it was for Windsor's win, for Dalton, today."

All eyes flashed to Blaine for a moment. It was not lost on him, and he coughed slightly and straightened up a little, with the barest eyebrow raise at the insinuation.

Dean Ramsey was still smiling.

"Campus arrest."

Gasps of horror.

"For a school week."

"What?" Dwight choked—David elbowed him sharply to shut up.

"You may not go out of campus, you may not go anywhere other than school facilities, and your House."

The twins rolled their eyes and looked bored.

Dean Ramsey looked at them very calmly. "Any comments?"

"But—" Reed flustered.

"Why don't we go over this list that Mr. Howard has carefully prepared?" Dean Ramsey said with the same kind smile. He slipped on her spectacles and looked down at the sheet. "You apparently managed to bring to your House, enough punch to "float a speedboat", as the quantification is."

"It was not spiked," David said clearly, knowing that liquor of any kind was taboo on campus.

Ramsey nodded and moved on. "There was severe celebratory littering in and on the House, which include but are not limited to, confetti, silly string, peanut butter, cake icing, feathers from your house cushions and Mr. Tamerlane's pet duck, tissue paper, glitter, paper airplanes, and what appears to be printed copies of the Stuart House class photograph with "in your face!" scrawled on them with permanent marker."

Kurt groaned softly and leaned his forehead into his palm. When you hear it like that, maybe the party was not as awesome as it appeared compared to when you were participating in it.

"Piñatas, coconuts, sparklers, shooting roman candles (outside, at least), general revelry… Also, your sound system was blasting music that was heard all the way to the other side of campus."

Wes bristled. The "other side of campus" meant Stuart House, and no one doubted that, stinging after their champion's defeat, it was they who made the Ramsey call.

"I'm not even going to go into what kind of destruction of property went on within the house."

"We didn't destroy anything," Blaine reported, mentally adding, That wasn't already broken…or about to be replaced.

"The fact remains that this is not the way Dalton Academy students should be behaving." Ramsey studied him. "We are a formal and distinguished learning environment and students should not be having parties with a decibel level a few degrees lighter than a NASA space shuttle launch."

She watched sat back on her seat, her folded hands still linked together. "And I am to understand that every Warbler in the House had conveniently forgotten that Mr. Harvey and Ms. Medel had a scheduled rehearsal at the second music hall."

Kurt closed his eyes in pain. He hadn't forgotten—no one had. It was that the mass of boys, wild with adrenaline, had simply chosen to "overlook" it. He had only been a Warbler and a Dalton student for a week and here he was getting the axe.

"But since Mr. Harvey says that it can be glossed over for now owing to Blaine's splendid victory, it will not be counted as a strike against you."

Sighs of relief and heaving gratitude towards whatever higher power gave them their choir director and Blaine's fencing skills.

"Speaking of Blaine…" Ramsey turned her sights on him again. "You may be only the Acting House Prefect until Charles returns, but until then I expect you to perform your duties as that prefect and make sure that this does not happen again. This should not have gotten out of hand at all. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, Mrs. Ramsey," Blaine replied in a calm tone.

Ramsey looked at Kurt and Reed, the two least likely to have been responsible for any serious damage—Dwight already had a history, but it was for odder, generally harmless superstitious antics—and told them, "Kurt, you have only been here less than a week. I would like to not see you again for at least a month. Or at least that is how long it apparently takes Windsor to convert someone."

I was converted since the morning after of the initiation, Kurt just gazed nonchalantly in response.

"And Reed—you know how…awkward…you are sometimes. You should not be involving yourself in this and harming yourself any more than you already do daily, as the school nurse reports."

Reed stopped biting his nails. "…yes, Mrs. Ramsey."

"The sentence applies to all of you. Campus arrest. You may now leave."

The boys stood up with very minor mumbling. "Thank you for your time, Dean Ramsey," Howard said as he ushered the boys out.

As the boys exited into the hall, Kurt noted that none of them looked particularly distressed—except for Dwight and Reed, who were generally easily distressed—as this likely happened quite often.

"Well boys?" asked Howard sternly as they reached the entrance doors of the building. "Are there any further statements you would like to make?"

A terse pause.

"…that was a great party, wasn't it?" Dwight finally said.

Kurt bit his lip to stop from smiling.


I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.

Just earlier this week, I became a Dalton student, a Windsor House boarder, and a Dalton Warbler.

I discovered the people in Windsor were incredibly restless, but incredibly big-hearted as well. They've endeared themselves to me in spite of the fact that I want to strangle them sometimes.

I wonder if anyone else ever got that feeling.


"Kurt…? What are you doing?" asked Reed as he walked into the large sunny kitchen the next Saturday morning. He had followed the smell of something nice baking.

Staring into empty space but hands still moving as he kept the wooden spoon stirring the mixture in the bowl, Kurt responded, "I tried to do homework it felt like trying to part the Red Sea. I only got through half before I felt like turning the table over… And since I can't occupy myself with planning and coordinating outfits for school anymore, I decided to bake cookies."

"You bake?" Reed blinked, carefully remaining on the other side of the counter and far away from all the utensils that might give him injury. He was being particularly careful today, Kurt noted, as the other boy was wearing suede gloves.

"Sometimes, when I feel like it," Kurt sighed. He put down the spoon for a moment as he threw in some more ingredients. "What happened to your ceiling here, by the way?" He gestured with a spatula to the huge jagged scorch above the stove and the over.

"Um…a little mishap when some people tried to bake a birthday cake…" Reed looked embarrassed. "Fortunately, the administration replaced the stove and the oven. If you're bored, why don't you hang upstairs in my room? We can look through some prints of the Armani show."

"Tempting, but—"

There was the sound of something heavy and wet falling upstairs with a flash and a deafening howl of anguish as feet started pounding down the halls, laughter ringing through the corridor. "Damn it, Evan!" yelled someone—who might have been David—spluttering.

There was a second splash and it was Wes who yelled incredibly colorful curse words that would make a pirate blush. The twins chorused, "Clear for this room!" before they ran off in search of more victims.

Reed saw Kurt giving him a highly-expressive raised eyebrow, and Reed finally understood why it wasn't a good idea to be upstairs. "Cabin fever and the twins, huh?"

"Water balloons," Kurt nodded. "They're hitting everyone in the hall. Dwight has taken to barricading his door. I don't know what he's blocked the door with, but it smells dead."

Reed looked ill. "So I decided to cover up the smell with some baking," sighed Kurt. He looked and felt tired. "I don't know how you manage all this schoolwork and Warblers, Reed."

"You just need to get the hang of things," Reed smiled kindly. "Don't be so hard on yourself." He looked to the side of the counter and saw a plastic bowl full of fresh chocolate-chip cookies. "Are those the finished ones?"

"Yeah," Kurt nodded as he finished placing a batch onto a tray.

"Ooh, chocolate chip!"

"Just trying it out. It was my mom's recipe."

Reed very carefully picked one up and inspected it with a grin, "You going to send some to her?"

"No, she's dead."

Reed turned shock white, whether it was from the news, the absolute bluntness or both. With his eyes wide, he dropped the cookie into the bowl. "Oh—I—I'm so sorry, Kurt, I didn't—"

"It's fine," Kurt popped up after he took the last batch out and the new one in. He gave Reed a quick smile. "It was a long time ago." He took off his mitts and motioned to the bowl as he began to clean up. "Have one."

"Are you sure…?"

"Go on, Reed, goodnessake have one." Kurt began to wash the mixing bowl with a sigh. He was going to be stuck here all weekend with a house that was like a bomb that could go off any time. He had told Mercedes that he was being kept in school for Warblers' practice and school issues, but he didn't go into detail and worried that she might have gotten upset.

Reed pulled the bowl close and took the cookie he first dropped said to Kurt, "…what was your old school like, Kurt?"

Kurt froze. "…why do you ask?"

"Just curious," Reed said, remembering the conversation at the bonfire, biting into the cookie carefully.

Kurt had so many flashbacks that he nearly overloaded. He just shook his head and smiled, scrubbing diligently. "I spent my time planning what to wear to school next and hanging out with my old Glee club. They're really great. Of course our director Mr. Schue really needed to get out of this time pocket he's in—it's still the 80s in there—and let loose a little, but that's how he is…"

He realized that Reed was quiet. He turned around and saw Reed standing there, a bite of cookie in his mouth, staring at the one in his hand. "You okay, Reed?" Kurt asked. He didn't receive a response for a moment. Finally, the smaller boy raised his eyes.

"Kurt…how many of these did you make?"

Kurt blinked and gestured to the other countertop—which had quite a few bowls of cookies—and then back to him and said, "Last batch is in the oven…" He looked at Reed staring at him and the way Reed was gripping onto the bowl he had. "…you can have that one if you want…"

Reed pulled the bowl close, staring at him with big eyes. "Could you excuse me for a second…?"

"Sure…"

And the boy tore out of the kitchen with the bowl, and he could hear his feet pounding up the stairs. Kurt stared, wondering what in the world just happened. He picked up a cookie and bit into it, and as he expected, everything seemed to be fine. Was Reed allergic?

He glanced up to the window. Everything looked bright in spite of it being rather cold. Maybe he just had to get out of Windsor and take in some air. He went around putting the cookies into a large Tupperware container. Everything outside Windsor was caught in the transition of Fall and Winter.

Weird, Kurt frowned as he thought he saw a speck of color fluttering past some bushes in the distance.

It looked an awful lot like one of Rachel's coats.


The knocking on David's door was so rapid and unceasing that he furrowed his brow and got up, hair still dripping. "If it's those two again, you better let me kill them, David!" Wes yelled from their common bathroom.

"If I leave any pieces for you, you can…" grumbled David as he reached the door and opened it. "What do you guys want this time?" And he found Reed standing there, holding a plastic bowl and eyes huge. "Oh. What's the matter, Reed, did they get you too?"

"Eat this." And he all but shoved a whole chocolate-chip cookie into David's mouth.

"What are you—?" David choked and then stopped. He chewed and then looked at Reed, staring in shock. "…oh my—(swallow)—whoa—Reed…what is this?"

Reed just widened his eyes at him in an, "I know, right?" manner. David grabbed the bowl. "Give me that for a sec!"

"Hey!" the smaller boy protested, chasing him into the room.

"Who is it, David?" Wes came out of the bathroom in fresh clothes. David drew a cookie from the bowl and threw it to him. Wes caught it easily, looking at him as though he were crazy, said, "What the hell?"

Both Reed and David gestured to him urgently to eat it. Wes, looking at them suspiciously, now glanced to the cookie and said, "…you didn't make this, did you…?"

"Kurt did," Reed said breathlessly.

"Kurt?" David turned to Reed in surprise, and the smaller boy nodded as Wes took a bite of cookie.

There was a pause. "Whoa, holy—," Wes choked. He stared at the other two and saw David holding the bowl. "Hey, give me that!"

"No!" David ran out of the room with Reed and Wes following him.


"Gold Star to Streaks, can you hear me, Streaks?"

"Rachel…I'm right next to you." Tina made a face from where she was crouched next to her behind a large rhododendron bush. Mercedes rolled her eyes, "We're going to get into trouble for this. I don't think they allow girls in here."

"You guys just made me do a basket toss over that rail fence," Santana snapped from where she crept near them. "A few inches higher, and I'd be trussed like a dead chicken. If I landed the wrong way, I would've broken my ankle andCoach Sue would've eviscerated me. You better be grateful I got you in here."

Quinn just sighed deeply and shook her head. "Why are we doing this again? Schuester's not going to be happy."

"We just want to make sure that Kurt's okay," Mercedes answered, shaking her head. "He sounded excited to be back home, and then out of nowhere he can't. And he wouldn't tell me why he's been campus-grounded. He says Warbler practice but there was something awkward in his voice. And he always has to get off the phone because someone's bothering him or something."

Tina look confused. "But I thought this school had a zero-tolerance on bullying?"

Rachel looked suspiciously around grounds. "We won't know unless we see for ourselves." A pause. "And if by chance we happen to watch the Warblers practice—"

"Mr. Schue doesn't want us to do that anymore…" Brittany blinked.

"And we might get caught," Mercedes raised an eyebrow. "Which makes me ask—why didn't we just send the boys in? Say they're students?"

"Like Finn would be able to keep up an act like that—besides he wouldn't want to go," Rachel rolled her eyes. "And I don't think Dalton likes boys with mohawks so Puck can't either."

"Mike is out with his mom to some family reunion and won't be back for another eight hours," Tina sighed.

Quinn nodded slowly, "And Sam isn't around either, unfortunately. He might blend in. He did say he came from an all-boys school…"

"What about Artie?" Brittany asked.

"Couldn't get away fast enough if he got busted," said Santana.

"Whatever," Rachel waved it way, looking irritated as she crept down the bush. "This mission needs delicacy and finesse, and that's what we have." She peered over the corner and saw no one but the Dalton gardens. She frowned. "This place has a serious obsession with perennial flowers."

"Actually, I think it's because the gardens are prize-winning," Kurt said loudly as he came up behind them, raising an eyebrow. The intruders all jumped and turned around. He was still wearing an apron and a Tupperware full of cookies. The girls stared at him.

Kurt looked at them, eyebrow still arched. "What are you all doing here?"

"Um…" the girls stared at him.

Finally, Kurt rolled his eyes with a sigh and smiled. He held out the Tupperware. "Cookies?"


"Okay…what the hell are in these things…and why are they this good?" Wes asked while sitting in the common room, staring at his last cookie fragment.

"I have no idea," Blaine admitted, having consumed all of his. "I didn't even know Kurt could bake."

"Wow, for the first time, Windsor actually has someone with competence in the kitchen," David looked fascinated. "His Home Economics class must go by in a blur of As."

The twins just nodded, eating their own cookies with glazed expressions.

This was the aftermath of the cookie battle. While David, Wes and Reed were trying to take possession of the cookie bowl, Blaine had come out of his room to check if the coast was clear of water-ballooning twins. David had taken out a fistful of cookies and then threw the bowl at him.

Blaine, not nearly as frazzled by this than most people would have been, managed to get a cookie out before Wes grabbed it from him, and then Reed grabbed it back, and then the twins materialized out of nowhere (probably attracted by any confusion that they themselves were not causes of). They took the bowl and each got a piece before the nearly empty bowl ended up with Dwight.

Who had still not moved from where he was eating by the bay window.

"How can you not know that he makes magic chocolate chip cookies?" Wes demanded at Blaine. "I thought you would've known nearly everything about him by now since you kept going back to Lima before he got here."

"I don't know everything about him," Blaine answered irritably. "I wish I did, but I'm not a stalker and I don't intend on making him tell me things."

"Did you know his mom's dead?" Reed asked softly. "He said this was her recipe."

Silence.

"…I'm eating haunted cookies?" Dwight asked in soft horror from the bay window. He ended up getting assaulted by a mass of sofa pillows from all the boys in the common room.

"Blaine, why did Kurt move here?" Ethan finally asked.

"Yeah, I mean…nothing against him or whatever, but you saw his house," Evan agreed. "He's not…uh…in the same tax bracket as us."

"And he was in his old school's Glee club," said David, raising an eyebrow. "They were those guys on the phone during his audition. He was singing to them, Blaine. And all that stuff you said about him looking lonely and unhappy the first days. It means he misses them."

"So…if he really likes them…why would he just up and move here, costing his parents all that money?" Reed asked, brow furrowing. "I know the Warblers are amazing, but he doesn't look like the type to ditch his own team for a 'better' one." When Blaine remained silent, Reed added, "…is he in some kind of trouble, Blaine?"

All eyes turned to the Acting Prefect. Blaine closed his eyes and let out his breath, leaning forward from where he sat, resting his elbows on his knees.

"Kurt, he…" he began, and then stopped. He shook his head. "…I don't know if he'd want me to tell you this."

"Damn it, Blaine, just tell us," Wes snapped. "Hey look, we're his friends too. We live with the guy, we like him, he's an amazing singer, he's one of us Warblers and he's put up with our crazy for nearly a week and practically enjoys it! Far as I'm concerned, he's our new little brother. If he has problems, man, I want to know about it!"

"He moved here to get away from those problems, Wes," Blaine said, looking hard at him.

"Then there should be nothing to worry about if you tell us, right?" David raised an eyebrow.

The twins turned identical pairs of piercing ice blue eyes at Blaine, silently requesting the same information. Blaine looked around at the common room, saw all of them staring at him and sighed deeply. "As long as you swear this does not leave Windsor House. This common room. This is between all of us. Because more than anything, I want to protect Kurt. I can't have him hurt again. Do you understand?"

The twins looked at each other out the corner of their eyes. They were pretty sure that Blaine meant that statement, and that he also wanted something a little more than that, but they decided now would not be the right time to point that out.

"Now tell us."


"Do you have any idea how much trouble you're going to be in?" Kurt demanded as they walked up towards Windsor, feet trampling the damp earth. "Santana—seriously? A basket toss without a catcher? You could've died."

"So I told them," the brunette smirked, swallowing the last of her cookie.

"Well I'm not prepared to have one of you maimed while you're in here!" Kurt stopped and turned to them. "Look girls, I really really appreciate you coming to see me, but I'm really all right here."

"Then how come someone's always yelling to you when we talk on the phone?" Mercedes demanded, raising an eyebrow. "Boy, you better tell me what the heck is going on here—do I have to cut someone or something?"

"I just live in a really weird house, that's all," Kurt answered, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Kurt, you're baking," Mercedes said, raising an eyebrow. "You're trying to avoid something when you resort to baking."

"When I try to avoid something I stand in a corner…" Brittany murmured.

Kurt gave her a confused look, then said, "No, I'm avoiding the Mount Everest of homework sitting on my bedroom table."

Rachel put a hand on Kurt's arm. "Are you sure that there is nothing going on in here that you want to tell us about? Finn told me that you told Burt and Carole that you were really looking forward to coming back to Lima for the weekends and then right on Friday, you say you can't because of school issues. Is it really just Warblers' practice?"

Kurt looked at them all for a moment. "…yes."

"You're lying, I can tell," Santana smirked. "Is the reason you're not coming home is because you already found a boyfriend?"

Kurt colored to his scalp as Blaine's smile flashed into his head. And then the nagging thought of Logan's advances in the back of his mind. "I do not have a boyfriend."

"Wow, Kurt, I have never seen you so red before," Tina remarked, smirking.

"Is it that guy Blaine, like I've always asked you?" Mercedes blinked.

"Who's Blaine?" Quinn asked.

"Cute gay guy he keeps hanging out with."

"Oh…" the girls began to grin.

"Look, you guys, just stop—okay?" Kurt said, flustered. "One, no, I don't have a boyfriend, it's not Blaine, two, no one is bothering me in this school, and three, I really do just live in a crazy house. Those are my school issues."

"How crazy are we talking about here?" asked Rachel suspiciously, arms crossed over her chest.

Santana scoffed, looking impatient and irritated. "It can't be that bad—are you saying you can't handle a house full of boys? I could."

"Okay look—they nearly got us all suspended, all right? Happy?" Kurt threw up his hands, pacing in surrender. "They threw a gargantuan party that went overboard and we all landed in the Dean's office and I'm officially under campus arrest for the next school week. There."

He crossed his arms over his chest and shrugged with a sideways glance. "And for the record, no, there is no force on this planet that can control those nut jobs in there from what I've seen. You came all the way from Lima just to hear about me going overboard at a party, whoopee doo." He rolled his eyes.

"They don't do anything to you, do they?" asked Mercedes worriedly. "Is that why you didn't say that to us—or your parents?"

"No," Kurt said, holding her hands and smiling a little. "I didn't tell my parents because I didn't want them to think I was…well…with the wrong crowd. We just barely escaped by the skin of our teeth this time. But the truth is, while they may be borderline delinquent, they're all really nice guys. A lot of Warblers are in there, and they're all my friends—they seem to really like me. We look out for each other because we're Windsor boys and that's what we do. Apparently." He smiled. "And I'm kind of happy."

"Windsor boys?" Tina grinned. "That's what you call yourselves?"

"It's the name of the House," Kurt mumbled.

"Aww…" Mercedes gave him a big hug and a smile. "Our Kurt's a Windsor boy." Kurt laughed and hugged her back tightly.

"So do we get to meet these amazing guys while we're here?" Santana asked with a smirk. Quinn shot her a look and added, "Just so we know who they are."

"You all turned into such weird mother hens, did you know?" Kurt remarked, rolling his eyes. But he smiled and turned back to Windsor House, gesturing for them to follow him. "Come on but keep a low profile. It'll have to be really quick—we're not allowed girls in there. There aren't a lot of people here today, so maybe it's okay."

The girls giggled—except Rachel, who just grinned and crossed her arms—and trailed after him towards the large manor-like Windsor House. Mercedes made a gasp of awe when she saw it. "Whoa…"

"Wow, nice pile of bricks you got there!" Tina laughed.

"…you live in a castle?" asked Brittany, marveling. "Do you get to be the princess…?"

"I think that if they were given a chance, they would crown me as that," Kurt grumbled as he reached the door. He held his container of cookies under one arm and pushed open the doors. "Guys…?" he called as he stepped into the foyer, girls following, "Guys, are you in here?"

"Wow, this is a big dorm," Quinn laughed, noting the Windsor banner over the hall.

Kurt frowned at the silence which was, in all respects, incredibly unusual at Windsor. "Hey, where are you guys?" he called.

He heard the sound of people acknowledging his call and then the common room doors burst open and the boys came flooding out, running to him, all talking at the same time.

"Kurt!" Wes ran up to him, a contorted expression on his face. "Kurt, what the hell—why didn't you tell us, man?"

David looked livid and concerned. "—if we'd known it was that bad, we would've gone over to Lima with Blaine and—"

"We want you to know that we are fully prepared to sniper down each and every dumb Neanderthal in that school that has ever slushied you—" the twins said fervently.

"—and what they said about your clothes!" Reed looked like he was almost at tears.

Dwight was the only one who noticed the girls staring stunned as this crowd of varied boys surrounded a very stunned Kurt. The self-styled spiritualist cleared his throat and said, "GENTLEMEN! Ladies in the hall."

Silence. The group looked up. Tina blinked at the crowd almost nonchalantly and said, "…wow, Santana was so wrong, he's totally got them."

"Pardon?" David stared.

"They were just here to see who my new friends are," said Kurt, smiling a bit, still generally confused. "Um, guys, this is Rachel, Tina, Quinn, Santana, Brittany, and—"

"—Mercedes," Blaine finished, smiling as he took Mercedes' hands. "Good to see you again."

"Hi, Blaine," Mercedes greeted him with a knowing grin. She looked to the other girls. "This is the guy I mentioned."

The girls immediately brightened up and Kurt gave them a glare that threatened death if they decided to say anything. Kurt said to them, "Girls, this is Dwight, Reed, David, Wes, and the twins Evan and Ethan."

"Wow…" said the twins, looking at the girls in wide-eyed wonder like they had not seen any for years. "…talking flowers."

"That's so sweet…" smiled Brittany while Santana gave her a confused look. Santana caught Dwight's eye, grinned and gave him a saucy wink.

Eyes wide, Dwight backed up and raised his medallion defensively to Santana—"Whoa!"—who gave him a look that was both annoyed and downright grossed out.

Rachel stepped forward to Blaine importantly and extended her hand. "I'm Rachel Berry, I'm the lead soloist from New Directions. You must be my Warbler counterpart." Blaine raised an eyebrow and shook her hand as she continued, "I'd like you to know that we didn't come here to spy on whatever you may have planned for Sectionals—"

"You failed the first time," Wes grinned, glancing at Kurt, who just shook his head.

"—and that we were only here to make sure Kurt was all right." She looked at them and said, "Well it seems like it's all under control."

"I understand," Blaine nodded with a winning smile. "Don't worry, we'll take care of Kurt for you."

"Good." Rachel was smiling now.

Kurt stepped forward to the girls. "Well now that's done, you should all go before the House head comes by to check on us and finds you here. Then we'll really get suspended."

"They can't stay?" The twins and Wes nearly whined to him. David elbowed Wes hard and muttered, "Shut up, do as he says, look at what he's got under his arm." He nodded to the large Tupperware of goodies.

"The rest of the cookies…" Reed breathed, eyes wide.

Kurt gave them his best disbelieving "what is wrong with you people?" look but just turned back to the girls, ushering them out of Windsor's doors. "You guys have got to promise me never to do this again," said Kurt, firmly. "It's moronic and completely ridiculous. And if anything happened to any of you—"

"We got it, we know," Mercedes smirked. The girls went out, going down the terrace steps and walking to the direction of the gate they had unlatched. Going last, Mercedes stepped out into the terrace and gave Kurt a quick hug. "Next time, just please tell me what is going on with you? Because I told you, we still really give a damn. We tell each other everything. And besides…" She nodded back indoors where the Windsor boys were, " …they look like they want you to do the same."

Kurt glanced back and saw the boys staring at him looking a little concerned. He smiled a little, unsure, then looked back to his best girl friend, hugging her. "Right. I'll do that."

He kissed Mercedes on the cheek goodbye and waited until they were all definitely gone in the direction of the gate. He turned back indoors and closed the doors behind him, sighing in relief as he turned around.

They were still looking at him that way. Kurt's brow furrowed. "What?"

"Kurt—I know it doesn't count for much right now, but we really, really wish you told us how you were being treated in your last school," David remarked. "If at any point we had known sooner, we would've throttled Blaine for letting it go on so long, but we also would've done something to get you the hell out of there."

"You told them?" Kurt looked at Blaine, who quickly walked up to him, saying, "They wanted to know, Kurt. They really did. They just wanted to know why you came here and why you fled your last school."

"And we wanted to know so that we could keep that crap from happening again," Wes said, frowning. "If we'd've known you have been advanced upon by force, we would never have let Logan near you—he's the likeliest candidate for a do over of that."

"And we also would give you a little more space," said Evan.

"We do get too close to you," admitted Ethan.

Reed nodded. "We have to remember that you've gone through something and that we—"

"But that's just it, you guys," Kurt finally said, looking up at them, wondering what was wrong with them. "Don't you get it? You guys make me forget. Everything you do around me, it makes me forget all those things. I don't care if I want to strangle you afterwards, but the thing is, you guys would do a lot more help if you just keep being the way you are. I like you that way, believe it or not." He grinned. "I'm one of you now, remember?"

Blaine started to laugh, shaking his head. "If you like us the way we are… then yes, you definitely must be one of us."

The twins now cracked huge grins. "And this sappy moment now calls for—!" And they both gathered up all the other boys and sandwiched them into a very tight, uncomfortable and truly awkward hug that no one really liked but put up with for the sake of the moment.

"Right…" Kurt, getting crushed against Blaine, didn't seem to really mind all that much.

A long pause followed.

And then someone says, "Hey Kurt?"

"What?"

"…can I have the rest of these cookies?"

The burst of fighting and squabbling afterward just made Kurt jump back in surprise, and then he decided that he didn't even want to try and make sense of the hysteria any longer. With a sigh, he tossed the whole container of cookies at them—beginning another fight of proportions that could have eclipsed Lord of the Rings—and sighed as he went up the stairs to fathom his now truly weird life. And he had the rest of his homework to do anyway.


On the next episode: Tireless preparations for Sectionals continue. Kurt succeeds in fielding his homework at long last. The House Arrest continues. But to some people, this only means that their prey won't be going anywhere.