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

Once again, I would like to thank each and every person who has commented and expressed their appreciation of my little set of Dalton adventures. This really so much more than I could ever hope for and I'm grateful for all the support this fic has received. I am also grateful to those who enjoy my OCs of questionable sanity. But this one is dedicated to those who love Kurt and Blaine (and, surprisingly, Logan)-because they will, at long last, get some degree of progress.

I truly hope that you all will enjoy this new episode. :)

(I do not own Glee, I will never own Glee, sadly.)


Episode 6: Duels

"Kurt." Blaine jogged his elbow with his. He was sitting next to him at central area of Kurt's room.

Kurt only mumbled a faint reply of acknowledgement from where he was trying to copy down some text into his notebook.

"Kurt, come on, are you still mad at me?" Blaine was starting to sound genuinely worried, prodding his arm. "You haven't spoken to me since yesterday."

Kurt just tsked in annoyance as he pushed off Blaine's hand from his notes, trying to focus.

"Is this because I told Wes and David and the others about what happened in Lima?" Blaine said, brow furrowed. "Look, I'm really sorry, I am. I shouldn't have told them, I know you wanted to keep it a secret. I get why you're mad, but they swore to not let it get out, and they were all just so worried about you—and quite frankly, so am I. And I would rather have the rest of them looking out for you in at least that direction, than—"

"Blaine!" Kurt finally said, forcing himself to remain absolutely calm even when his hair was about to stand on end. He grabbed Blaine's hands tightly and gave him a very painful smile and a forced laugh. "Blaine…I want you to look very carefully around my room…and then tell me why you think I'm not talking to you."

Blaine stared, trying to not marvel at Kurt's soft hands, and then looked around the room. There were papers everywhere. A fresh printout was coming out of the printer on his desk. The laptop was still on and it clearly displayed a half-finished term paper. Calculus notes covered the coffee table and a huge world map was hanging over the edge of his bed. No less than four books were open on the coffee table. Kurt's lap was loaded with a heavy book and then his notebook. And nearly all of the mercifully fewer coffee cups that had raided the room that morning were now standing empty.

Blaine turned back to Kurt, who was still giving him a pained smile. "Did it give you a hint yet?" Kurt asked, in a way one would say to a five-year-old.

"Oh." Blaine nodded, pursing his lips together, finally understanding and feeling rather ridiculous. "Right."

"Good." Kurt rolled his eyes and turned back to his notes. After a beat, he said, "To be honest I should be mad at you, and I very much want to be mad at you… And because of pure distraction and interference, I should also be mad at the entire house for making all this catching up on academics even more difficult…but I cannot. …as long as you really did mean well for it and don't intend on telling the world, I'm just too busy to actually have any emotion other than contempt for whoever designed this devastating curriculum."

"I can help you if you want…" Blaine said, smiling. "Get most of this out of the way before Warblers meeting."

"Don't smile at me like that, you're not winning me over that easily either."

Blaine just smiled even more. Without warning, he gave Kurt a tight hug that lasted a several seconds in silence. He leaned down to his ear for a moment, and murmured, "I have to go do something for Harvey, but I'll tell Reed to come help you and I'll catch up. Don't stress too much." Blaine smiled as he released him, rose and left the room, leaving Kurt staring wide-eyed at his wake.

What the—? he sat aghast, hands rumpling his notes. What kind of a hug was that…? Friendly? Something else? And why?

After a pause he shook himself out of it, groaning as he sank his head into his hands. Blaine's behavior (and just generally Blaine himself) had to be one of the things that distracted him the most in that house. He felt fortunate that he didn't have to room with him, or his grade point average would have plunged to hell.

Concentrate, Kurt…concentrate. He's your friend. He says so. YOU say so. Just because he has the ability to unleash an Eden of butterflies in your gut by hugging you doesn't mean he should be distracting you.

The most chilling, high-pitched rendition of the Joker's laughter suddenly echoed throughout the House, causing Kurt to break out of his thoughts and, possibly, sending Dwight diving for the safety of his salt ring in terror.

Snarling, Kurt threw down his schoolwork and got up, stomping to the door and opening it just in time to see the twins screeching loudly down the hall with that chilling laughter, in highly detailed Joker costumes (one was the animated, one was the Dark Knight version). Wes and David were chasing after them as Batman and Nightwing respectively, pitching cranberry-juice loaded balloons with the respective insignias scrawled on them.

Kurt didn't even want to ask what was going on. Raising his voice to an angle calculated for distance, he yelled, "If you guys don't pipe down for at least the next two hours, so help me, I'm going to give all the cookies to Stuart House!"

Instant silence.

With a satisfied smile, Kurt slammed his door shut and returned to his school work.

I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.

I've been boarding in Windsor House with Blaine, Wes and David. And it's been anything but uneventful. Recently we had a party that nearly got us suspended. And I also discovered that Windsor had some serious problems with Stuart, one of the other Houses.

Especially Logan, who keeps sending me all these signals. I know almost nothing about him other than that he's really handsome, talented, and interested in me.

My problem: Blaine is also all those things.

Except that last part.

Everyone ended up in Kurt's room trying to help him get through his catch-up work. It was both welcome and unwelcome.

"You're getting it all wrong!" David snapped at Wes, who was trying to make out the theorem to be applied to one of the problems in Kurt's book. Both of them were still wearing pieces of their costumes. "You're not going to get the derivative that way! Give me that." He grabbed it and scrawled something in.

Reed glanced over his shoulder from where he was helping Kurt with his Arts assignment. He frowned at David. "Well that's not right either—it's the wrong formula altogether. It's that one." He pointed to a mind-blowingly complex formula on the other page.

The twins, who were looking at the massive coverage of Literature term paper that Kurt was expected to complete, looked at each other and slammed the book shut at the same time. "We give up—who's your professor here?"

Kurt sighed, exasperated. "Murdoch is."

There was a hiss of pain from the whole room. "Why would Murdoch give him all this?" David demanded, looking at the nearly inch-thick section of the book that Kurt was expected to look into.

"He would hang a Windsor boy onto the rafters by the tie and belt him if he could," Wes snorted, erasing his previous calculation.

"Why would he do that?" Kurt raised an eyebrow.

"He's got a bias for Stuart, since he's the House Head," David muttered. "He's always had this chip on his shoulder for us since we accidentally set fire to the chemistry lab." He saw Kurt's narrow-eyed expression and quickly added, "It was a complete accident, that time. We were almost absolutely sure that we had nothing to do with it."

The twins smiled that discomforting Cheshire smile again. "We may have measured out too much potassium nitrate for the assignment."

Kurt just rolled his eyes and turned back to his Art assignment. "Well, whatever he's got for you guys, he's giving it to me now. I guess I'll just have to show him I'm not intimidated." He turned his canvas to Reed. "What do you think?"

Reed grinned, observing the manner by which Kurt had water-coloured the people in his assignment. They looked like design samples. "You are going to be a great fashion designer one day, if that whole Broadway diva thing doesn't work out for you."

"Coming from you, that's quite a compliment," Kurt preened, grinning at him.

"No seriously, Murdoch can be intimidating," David warned, looking up from where he was editing one of Kurt's papers. "He's like a freaking male Agatha Trunchbull. I heard he once threw a boy out of the second floor window and into Tamerlane's hydrangea bushes."

"He didn't do anything of the sort," Reed replied, sniffing. "At best he threatened to, and the said boy had been disrupting his class unnecessarily by getting overly freaked out because they were being told to perform Macbeth."

"…who was this boy?" Kurt asked, with a sneaking suspicion.

"Dwight," they all replied.

"I knew it."

"See?" Wes burst out. "Proves Murdoch's Anti-Windsor campaign. Right there."

"All of us cause anti-Windsor campaigns," Kurt grumbled, drying his paintbrushes. "We haven't exactly had an excellent track record when it comes to behavior. Well…at least I still have some of mine. The rest of you, however…" He glanced at them briefly before carefully wrapping his art assignment.

"Don't worry, we'll fix that," the twins cracked evil grins at Kurt, who cringed away from them. "Give us a few more days."

Kurt pushed away from them on the couch and went to sit next to Reed as though looking to stay with someone safer. "Yeah, he won't be good for you either," grinned Wes, making Reed look up. "Did Reed ever tell you about the incident with the cuckoo clock—"

"Wes!" Reed turned red, flailing at him.

"—or the time in the cafeteria with the diorama—"


"—or that he hit himself in the nether regions with a cricket bat?"

Everyone in the room winced and hissed at that memory, and Kurt gave Reed a disbelieving look. Reed looked terribly scarlet, huffily prodding his own art assignment with a brush. "Well I can't help it if I'm just rather clumsy."

Kurt grinned at him and gave him a kind nudge, "We know that. Besides, you kind of make up for that by being so incredibly generous to me and being such a martyr to these guys." He nodded to the others. He threw a notebook at Wes's extended legs resting on the tabletop. "Feet off my coffee table, please."

Wes groaned and sat up properly. "I swear, you're like Blaine when he's being such a priss…"

"Where is he anyway?" asked Kurt, looking around. "He said he'd be back to help me."

"Well he told me to come up here and help you for a bit, but he didn't tell me when he'd be back," Reed blinked. "He said he had to see Harvey."

"Probably about Sectionals," shrugged Ethan. Evan gave Kurt's head a gentle pat. "Don't you worry, little Alice. Your White Rabbit will be back soon."

Kurt swatted his hand away from his immaculate hair and said, "White Rabbit? What?"

"Isn't he?" Evan grinned. "When our White Rabbit appeared to you and showed you a glimpse of Wonderland, you followed and fell all the way down here with the rest of us."

Kurt rolled his eyes as the rest of them laughed, the others being used to whatever went into the twins' minds. He glanced to the clock and wondered if Blaine would be back soon.

The "White Rabbit" was late for that important date for good reasons, which the rest of the merry Windsor crew found out later that afternoon in the dining hall during lunch. The Hall was quieter since it was a weekend and everyone had gone home, but it was stocked with Warblers and the few scatterings of boys who chose not to go home that weekend for whatever reason.

David looked as though he wanted to just tear off his tie and toss it. Wes looked like he wanted to flip the table. The twins, sitting across them, were glaring malevolently at the gang of Stuarts on the other side of the cafeteria, and Kurt decided that he didn't ever want to be on the receiving end of those twin ice blue glares. He looked at Blaine and stated the only thing he understood: "What do you mean, duel?"

"Round two with Logan, that's what," Wes grumbled.

"What does that have to do with Warblers?" Kurt stared, confused.

Blaine sighed and lifted his head from his hands. "Every performance, a singer who wants to take one of the spots for a solo—or lead singer—will have to prepare a piece to perform in front of the rest of the group. It will be assessed by Harvey and Medel on whether it's acceptable or not. When there's more than one applicant for the lead, they will each perform first in private in front of the professors. They choose the two best. Then the two will "duel" performances, one after the other, in the Hall. Then the rest of the Warblers will have to vote."

"Well if it comes down to a vote, you would win, won't you?" Kurt smiled a little uncertainly at him. "Since they like you."

"It's not that easy," Blaine responded. "For one thing, I've been singing lead for a quite a few performances now. No matter how much the other Warblers like me, some of them might want to see someone else sing."

"Pfft…" Evan rolled his eyes. Ethan nodded sagely, "Ditto. If they wanted to replace you, someone would've dueled with you before this."

"Secondly," Blaine continued, "Choosing the lead in Warblers isn't about popularity. They all really will select whoever had the most vocally superior performance. And to be quite frank, Logan is really good. Even Wes and David have voted to make him lead back then during duels." The two glared at him, as though never wishing to ever speak of such travesties outside Warblers Hall.

"Then why has he never competed with you for solo?" Kurt asked.

Blaine shifted in his seat, leaning back with a sigh. "Because before I got my sets of leads, Logan had the lead for eight straight performances. Then…I guess he got bored and stopped asking for them."

"The immensity of his ego is equidistant to the dimensions of Jupiter," David grumbled, once again wiping down his side of the table—he cleaned when he was anxious. "It didn't matter to him that he was our strongest vocal in competition—if he didn't feel like it, he won't do a damn thing."

"Wes and David told me to go try duel the other boys for the lead after that," continued Blaine. "I beat them and Harvey was surprised to find me sufficient. And since then I've been singing lead."

Kurt looked over to the table at the other side of the hall, where Logan sat holding court with other Stuart boys. Logan glanced at him for a moment, threw him a small barely noticeable smile, and resumed talking with the other boys. Kurt turned back to the others. "…I had no idea he was like that."

"You can ask the other Warblers," Wes said seriously. "Logan really did just suddenly stop going for lead. And you know when we found out that he just felt like not going? Sectionals. Last year. Left us hanging. We couldn't compete, no lead soloist could replace him at the last minute because the last second soloist—"

"Wes," Blaine's tone had a warning in it. Kurt blinked, looking from him to Wes, not understanding.

Wes' eyes flickered to him for a moment, then he just seemed to shrug and shake his head. "Whatever. Anyway, no one could replace him at the last minute. End of sectionals, end of going to Nationals. Harvey was furious. I thought he was going to expel Logan out of Warblers."

"But he didn't," Kurt raised an eyebrow. "He's still one."

"Yes, he is," David nodded. "Because we needed his pipes, maybe? I don't know. But he hasn't asked for a solo ever since. He didn't say anything either so we just stopped talking about it—because we might throttle him if we brought it up again."

"He's got quite a pair of balls to suddenly duel Blaine for one now at Sectionals," muttered Ethan.

"Especially since after he ditched, it was Blaine who saved our asses for the very next performance—the Fall Festival—he took over in days what was supposed to be Logan's part," nodded Evan. "And since then, our dear White Rabbit just led the charge." He grinned.

Blaine squinted at him in a why-are-you-calling-me-that-again type of expression. He looked at Kurt. "Well anyway…that's the history of it… Now Logan's challenged me to duel. I've a preparing for my performance with these guys, but…I didn't know he was going to duel. I only found out this morning when Harvey called for us both in the Hall. It was just him and me going for the lead, so we both duel in front of the others this afternoon."

Kurt considered all of this and leaned back, crossing his legs elegantly with a sigh. "I guess it's not all sunshine and rainbows in Warbler Land, isn't it…? I didn't know you guys were so competitive."

"We can be, on certain things…" shrugged Blaine. He glanced over a Kurt with his eyes lingering over him more than he had thought he would allow himself to.

There was a crash at food area—Reed had tripped, over his own feet, it would appear, and was on the ground with a whole lot of food in his clothes and on the floor, hugging his knee which must have gotten hurt. Kurt quickly got up and ran to help him.

As soon as Kurt left, Wes leaned forward, eyes flashing. "Tell me that colossal asshat isn't doing this because he thinks it'll get Kurt's attention. Tell me that, Blaine, I'm begging you, because I'll have to kill him otherwise."

Before Blaine could speak, David added, "We all knew you were going to be lead. We've been practicing Hey, Soul Sister like crazy all this time, and we have it down perfect when you sing the lead. And then a mere two days before performance day, Logan challenges? He can't be that crazy."

"I don't know what's going on in his head," Blaine answered. But he glanced at Kurt, helping wipe Reed's clothes down. "…I don't know if it's about Kurt. It wouldn't make sense to make himself the enemy."

Oddly enough, the twins glanced at each other at this, a knowing look that meant volumes of information, but they remained quiet. Blaine was oblivious. He continued, "But you know the rules. Lead isn't placed down in stone until the day before performance."

"Screw the rules!" Wes snapped. "We're talking about our first Sectionals in two years!"

"Wes, shh!" David hissed as Kurt and Reed approached. David looked at Blaine. "Let's just kick his ass later today, all right?"

"Yeah," the twins nodded, grinning at Blaine. "We've got your back."

When Reed and Kurt sat down, Reed looked distressed, but not about his fairly common injury. "Blaine. I heard from one of the other Warblers that you're dueling with Logan. You ready?"

"As I'll ever be," Blaine nodded, folding his hands on the table. He glanced at Kurt, who just smiled at him and said, "Go get him, then."

"All right, everyone…" said Sylvia the moment all the Warblers had sat back down onto their places among the couches when they finished the normal rehearsal. Everything had gone flawlessly (Reed didn't fall off the ledge a single time)—which now only left the battle for the lead. They had practiced this routine so many times that everyone knew what the lead was supposed to do or sound like, but there were few who could stand in the light among their unit.

Sylvia looked at everyone. She knew they knew what was coming up, because they were not talking excitedly about Sectionals or other things. She herself knew that this was quite the critical battle, between two of the Warblers' best, who also happened to be the two most high-profile.

She smiled a little and said, "Now… We have two candidates to duel for the lead. As is our rules, they will each perform a song before you. After which, we would take an anonymous vote. Mr. Harvey and I will count the votes, and announce who takes the lead."

The two teachers never reveal how many votes each got, mainly so there would not be any conflicts between the Warblers about who the group seemed to "favor" more. But the teachers were held in such high regard that there was no Warbler who believed they would ever rig a vote to choose someone who they wanted instead.

"Our two duelers are Blaine…" Sylvia gestured to Blaine, who stood amidst clapping, "…and Logan." Logan rose and was also received with the same amount of applause.

Sylvia pushed up her glasses and held out a velvet bag to Blaine and Logan, who came forward. The two each drew a marble out of the bag. Logan's was red. He would go first. Blaine nodded to Sylvia and Logan and returned to his seat with Kurt, Wes and David.

"Let's see what he's got after all this time," David muttered.

Kurt said nothing. In spite of himself, he was worried. He had sung with Logan before that time in the Hall, and there was no indication that Logan's talent had diminished in spite of his inactivity as a soloist. Blaine sat next to Kurt with no decipherable expression, watching Logan carefully as he approached the piano. As was allowed, Logan had three other boys for backup with him, two Stuart boys, and one Hanover.

After a moment, Logan began to play. The melody was familiar, but mellowed out by the piano. It took the other boys a moment, but Kurt—with his ears still heavily tuned in to Will Schuester's music preferences—immediately recognized what was happening.

Logan, in a clear tone that magnetized attention, began to sing with no urgency:

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing

Watch you smile while you are sleeping

While you're far away and dreaming…

The Warblers watched in polite silence, carefully listening. Mentally, however, the Windsor boys' reactions were varied, with only hints of the emotions on their faces:

Reed: (Impressed) …Wow, I didn't know you could sing Aerosmith like that. *leans forward a bit*

David: (Bothered) Oh crap, I can't believe he can still actually sing like that. *splays fingers on face*

Twins: (Confused) *glance at each other* He's good all right, really good but…why Aerosmith? Was Armageddon on cable yesterday?

Blaine: (Stunned-White) He's not singing that to Kurt, is he?

Kurt: (Stunned-Red) He's not singing that to me, is he?

Wes: (Disturbed) *shifts in seat* Oh man, if he's singing that to Kurt, those are some truly creepy lyrics.

I could spend my life in this sweet surrender

I could stay lost in this moment forever

Where every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure…

Everyone else seemed to be having no problems with this. Quite a few Warblers looked at each other with small rather impressed smiles, nodding slightly.

Logan glanced briefly to them with a small smile.

Don't wanna close my eyes, I don't wanna fall asleep

'Cause I'd miss you baby and I don't wanna miss a thing

'Cause even when I dream of you the sweetest dream would never do

I'd still miss you baby and I don't want to miss a thing

Blaine sank his head into his hand for a moment, cogitating about this whole performance. The Warblers were all about turning a song into something else with their vocals, and Logan fit the bill entirely by changing the rock song to something tamer and more ballad-like. The smallest sigh of contemplation left his lips for an instant.

And then he felt a warm hand close over his from under the table where they sat.

Blaine froze and very slightly looked to his right. Kurt wasn't looking at him, he was steadily watching Logan without batting an eye, but it was his hand that held his. No one could see—they sat near the back and so the backs of the chairs and the other boys obscured it from sight—and Kurt was simply holding his hand.

A silent encouragement.

Kurt glanced to him a little, and gave him a faint smile, before turning back front.

I don't wanna miss one smile, I don't wanna miss one kiss

I just wanna be with you, right here with you, just like this

I just want to hold you close, feel your heart so close to mine

And just stay here in this moment for all the rest of time…

That was it. Logan had looked directly at Kurt that time. To all the others it was in passing, but Kurt knew that glance when he saw it. Kurt lowered his eyes, heat spreading into his face. His heart was in his throat and he wasn't sure of what to do or even feel and it was even worse now than ever.

It wasn't like when Finn pointed out to him during the wedding reception and had him dance with him. This was different and somehow more intimate than screaming it down the hall. When someone sings a song like this, it meant something. Something that Kurt—no matter how much he wanted it he was even in Dalton—was not prepared for.

Especially with when he a certain person right next to him.

Blaine squeezed his hand slightly. Kurt looked up at him. He just nodded, as though telling him to just breathe. It was going to be all right. The song was ending, and Kurt and Blaine let go of their hands at the same time.

At the last chorus, the song ended. The Warblers applauded, many of them smiling at Logan. The tall boy at the piano rose and smiled slightly, looking for the whole room as though he was vindicated. His eyes located and met Kurt's. Kurt was smiling at him a little, clapping along with the rest of them. By the tint of red on his face, he knew his message had reached him.

He saw Blaine standing next to him. But Blaine was just smiling with nothing behind it. There was something he had that Logan didn't.

"And now," said Sylvia with a smile. "We have Blaine."

Reed and Kurt nodded good luck as Blaine, the twins, Wes and David then went up to the front. There were some cheers and catcalls from the Warblers as their current lead singer now made it to the front. "Let's go for it," David smirked.

To Kurt's surprise, while the other boys took positions, Blaine picked up a guitar. "He can play guitar…?" Kurt said, surprised.

"Yes, guitar," grinned Reed.

Kurt colored scarlet, leaning forward a little in his seat. Reed looked at his friend and laughed to himself—Kurt was clearly smitten and it would do everyone in Windsor a big favor if he and Blaine just came out with it. And then he looked up and saw Logan not even watching Blaine. He was looking at Kurt. Reed fidgeted, uncomfortable at the sight, hooked his elbow onto Kurt's in a show of protective camaraderie and just grinned with him as they watched.

Blaine stood before them and started playing with a gentle strum. The boys looked interested, sitting forward. Blaine started to sing his own spin on a song, starting out slow in acoustic rhythm:

I shouldn't love you but I want to

I just can't turn away

I shouldn't see you but I can't move

I can't look away…

Reed's mouth dropped in amazement, stifling back a laugh. He knew that song, and from the way Blaine glanced twice at Kurt while he played, he was singing to him too.

Blaine's acoustic manner took the song over, the lyrics taking strong prominence with his expressive voice. He made it his own, that song. Kurt sat listening, surprised as Blaine continued growing stronger but never quite losing his own even way:

And I don't know how to be fine when I'm not

'Cause I don't know how to make a feeling stop…

In a noted strum, the other boys accompanied him in the chorus.

Just so you know

This feeling's taking control of me and I can't help it

I won't sit around, I can't let him win now

Thought you should know, I've tried my best to let go of you

But I don't want to

I just gotta say it all before I go

Just so you know…

The Warblers were grinning. They had heard Blaine strum the guitar before, mainly while they weren't practicing, but he had never quite performed like this. It didn't sound like the old song—Blaine's acoustic transformed it with his style just like he did to Teenage Dream. Logan was leaning back on his chair and watching with immense interest, almost proud, the way a combatant would when finding a worthy opponent.

Blaine sang with no inhibitions, letting the music do its work and his voice express everything he wanted to pour out into the words.

This emptiness is killing me

And I'm wondering why I've waited so long

Looking back I realize

It was always there just never spoken

I'm waiting here...been waiting here…

Kurt sat shell-shocked, scarlet all over his face. If he hadn't already been so sure before, he was now positive that the song couldn't be meant for him. …or was it?

That was just it with Blaine, wasn't it? He never knew. But even as he listened, leaning forward, hearing the words, he wished. He wished really really hard—that it was for him.

Blaine's warm eyes met his for a fraction of a moment. It made Kurt smile.

I can't believe it, he thought, almost in dismay. …I think I just fell for him.

It was the most unusual feeling in the world, Kurt realized. Everything and nothing made sense for a minute, going everywhere, and then suddenly, gone. One blown out match. He looked down at his hands feeling as though on the inside, everything had gone dead quiet. After all this time, he finally realized that he had truly fallen for someone. When he admitted it to himself, the locks flew open and let all the other awkward, unsure, emotions out, leaving that admission inside. He finally had that room breathe, in that small moment. He let out his breath.

He looked up at Blaine, who had finished his song. The Warblers burst into applause, smiling at him.

Kurt also smiled, clapping. But he couldn't look Blaine in the eye anymore. He kept his eyes down, afraid of that the realization was so fresh that Blaine would see with just one look.

"Kurt, are you okay?" Reed laughed. "Were you that moved?"

Kurt glanced at his friend and smiled. He didn't know what would happen later, or tomorrow, but right now at least, he knew one absolutely true thing, and that was all that mattered. "…I think so."

Sylvia and Greg stood in front of the group assembled.

"We have tallied your votes," Harvey said.

The Warblers stood with bated breath. Sylvia looked at Greg with a nod, and Greg said, "Both of them did well. But we need only one lead for this performance, and there are no solos."

They nodded, understanding. Sylvia smiled quietly.

"For this performance, our lead singer is Blaine."

"YEAH!" The Windsor boys leapt into the air as the Warblers cheered. Logan also applauded, nodding with a smile. He accepted this defeat. He glanced at Kurt, clapping so hard that he was becoming breathless. Logan knew what that look was—he himself had that look before. But he also knew that he had a pocket of time. While the other boys swarmed at Blaine, Kurt remained at a safe distance, as though afraid to breach a circle.

Logan smiled. Lost this one then, Blaine. But I still have time. I'll just have to catch up.

"That was close!" Wes choked, clutching his breath. "Man, I bet it had been that close!" He gave Blaine a heavy pat on the back, nearly making the other boy buckle as they headed back to the House. Everything was dark out now, nothing but the leafless trees printed against the navy sky empty of stars. It was turning colder these days.

"Yeah, man, he put his own spin on an Aerosmith song and he was good," David shook his head. "Even I started to get worried. Damn close."

"I bet you guys had a one-point difference," Reed grinned mischievously.

The twins cracked grins and looked at Kurt immediately. "Who did you vote for, Alice?" they chorused.

Kurt turned deep red, cold hands in his pockets. "You know I voted for Blaine, why do you have to ask me that?"

Blaine smiled at him. "So you liked it?"

"Yeah," Kurt smiled briefly at him. Blaine noticed how Kurt was avoiding his eyes and felt confused. "Are you okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine," Kurt answered with another quick smile. "Really. Just…just tired, I think." I had no idea falling for someone was so tiring… how do Quinn and the rest of them do it?

"Are you sure?" Blaine asked, that worried expression still on his face. "Because you…you're not really looking at me."

Kurt let out a shivering breath. Courage… He looked at Blaine and smiled, longer now. "How about this? Better?"

Blaine smiled a little. Something still seemed off, but for now it looks as though it was still okay. Kurt was flushed with the cold wind whipping his face. Blaine thought he looked beautiful.

Hanging from the upper balcony, Dwight was screaming at them as they approached the house. "What took you? Who won?"

"We did!" yelled Wes and David, grinning at him. The twins pumped their fists into the air. "Blaine did great!" Reed called back.

Dwight looked at his crystal ball in his hand in disgust. "Man, this thing sucks. It told me we'd lose!"

Greg headed to the Teachers' Quarters. Sylvia looked amused. "That was interesting…"

"You think so?" said Greg, a little bit more anxious. "Doesn't it say something about how the group feels about Logan? The votes say it all. Blaine won by a landslide. Speaking as a teacher, he had tied with Logan in skill, but the win by vote was a tremendous margin."

"I doubt it's about last year…" Sylvia commented. "Maybe they just really do want Blaine for lead singer." She paused. "Song was an odd choice for Logan, though. It's not his general style."

"I know, the last time he made drastic changes, we had quite a few problems," Greg murmured. "I start to question my own decision to retain him. It was simply that he has so much promise. And don't think I don't hear the news. That savage fencing final with Blaine. I don't want it to be another fiasco like last year."

"Relax, Greg," smiled Sylvia, the mother hen. "The boys will work it out, just like they did last year. They have their own choices to make and they've made the right ones so far."

"Including Logan? Sylvia, I'm not prepared to lose another singer like that. And Kurt, our first countertenor in twenty years, is in the front running for second soloist. If anything else comes up we might not have that advantage anymore…"

"When do we make that official, by the way?" Sylvia blinked.

"He'll have to duel for it. If he wants a lead position, he'll have to fight for it like Blaine did."

The elegant woman grinned. "From the looks of him? And as a Windsor? I'm sure he will."

On the next episode: Sectionals.