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

The last "episode" received quite a bit of appreciation, and for that, I am truly grateful. I read and appreciate all of your comments and praises and it is really far more than I expected. I can only continue to hope that you all continue to enjoy this series as much as you have now.

A word: We all are aware of how Sectionals turned out for everyone. A large chunk of debate that went on after this, about whether or not they should have tied, should have not, or even if the Hipsters should have won. I have given this story the result which I had expected well before I saw the episode, which was precisely the result that had taken place. I terms of this small universe I have created, I had my own reasons for expecting the tie.

Secondly, I truly thank and love all of the people who like my OCs. I would gladly defer to your suggestions and recommendations, but the truth is, my hands are tied by my own characters. I merely write down what I see them doing in my head, and not even I know for certain what they would really do until they become black and white text.

I am truly indebted to the people who have promoted my little piece to other sites (tumblr, livejournal, gleeforums...), and hope that everyone will enjoy this episode. :)

(I do not own Glee.)


Dalton

Episode 7: Sectionals


Walking down the school's hall by himself, Blaine pulled out his Blackberry from his pocket and saw that the text message came from Kurt.

Sorry, Blaine—I can't go to lunch with you today. –K

He found this odd. Usually, there was a reason that accompanied a turndown—and the lunch turndown itself has never happened before at all. He had been distant since the duel. Feeling something was amiss, Blaine tried to call Kurt back. He stopped when he heard it ringing, not from his phone, but from somewhere down the corridor.

Brow furrowed, Blaine followed the sound. It led him to the Warblers' Hall. The door had been left slightly ajar. "Kurt…?"

He walked up to the door and opened it—and came to a dead stop.

The phone was ringing ignored on the piano. Kurt was pressed to the far wall with Logan holding him there as he ravaged the shorter boy's mouth in a kiss that could've set the room on fire. Breathing hard and flushed, Kurt's uniform was already a mess, buttons popped and tie on the ground. The small moan he let out only seemed to make Logan more forceful as he all but devoured him completely.

They were so caught up that they didn't even notice him. Blaine fell backwards onto the door, choking in shock.


And he woke up with a strangled gasp.

Coughing hard, he blinked into the darkness, confused, before he started groping for the bedside lamp. It switched on immediately in a warm glow. Blaine's heart was pounding so hard, he could feel it in his throat.

A nightmare.

With a groan of relief and pain, Blaine slid back onto the headboard, arm draped over his head. Next to him, on the side table, the clock happily declared that it was around four AM on Sectionals Day. Hardly an auspicious start to the day.

What the hell is wrong with me…? he wondered groggily, rubbing his eyes. My subconscious is trying to torture me.

"…Blaine?"

He nearly banged his head on the headboard when he jumped at the sudden voice. It was Kurt's voice. And Kurt himself, wearing pale blue pajamas, was standing in socks, looking worried.

"What…" Blaine was confused for an instant—until he remembered that Kurt had slept there. And so did David, Wes, Evan, Ethan, Reed, and a few other Warblers. The night before, they had all gathered in Blaine's room (as they usually did) to marathon the Harry Potter movies. Then all the boys brought their pillows and blankets into the room, and lay to sleep there, presumably so they would all wake up together the next morning for Sectionals.

Kurt was one of them. The said boy now sat down at the side of his bed, concerned. "I…I thought you were in trouble or something. You woke up with that choke and... Are you all right…?"

That Kurt looked like an angel illuminated by the soft lamplight at the edge of the blackness of the rest of the room was something Blaine was deeply grateful for after that dream. He pinched the bridge of his nose a moment and sighed. "I'm fine, it was just…just had a nightmare."

And was it ever a nightmare. Blaine just rubbed his eyes and said with a halfhearted gesture, "I'm all right. I'm sorry I woke you."

"You didn't, actually," Kurt smiled.

"Oh…?"

"Yeah…" Kurt smiled wryly. "Our dreams really suck tonight."

"What did you dream of?"

Kurt hesitated. He looked down at the bedsheet for a moment. When he didn't answer, Blaine nudged the hand on the bed with his own in prompting. Kurt sighed. "…I dreamt I couldn't get out of the McKinley locker room…and Karofsky was there. It was like a splatter movie, he was just coming at me, or something. Then I woke up."

Blaine sat up. That hand on his bedsheet had white knuckles. "Kurt, how long have you been awake?"

"…half an hour."

Well compared to my dream, that's...worse… Blaine thought with a bitter slick. Blaine had a nightmare out of what might have been jealousy or insecurity; he wasn't afraid to admit it. Kurt had a nightmare out of emotional trauma. He opened his arms. "Come here." He pulled Kurt to him and hugged him.

Kurt just sighed and hugged pack, patting his shoulder. He didn't quite let go or pull away, and so Blaine didn't let go. After a few moments, Kurt asked, "…so what did you dream of?"

Panic. Shame. Fear. All three emotions in one go was rather distressing, and Blaine pulled away a moment. He scratched his head and said, "Well…wasn't anything like yours."

"Like what?"

"Let's just say it's something I never want to happen. Or at least…I never want to see happen…"

Kurt smiled sympathetically and pulled him into a hug again. "Was it really bad?" he asked, chin on Blaine's shoulder.

"Incredibly," Blaine agreed with a wry smile, enjoying the moment while he had it.

"Our subconscious really sucks."

"Yup."

Kurt seemed thinner than before. It must have been the combined forces of the last days at McKinley, the big move, the homework, the stress and the aggravation of Windsor. Blaine felt a stab of guilt. He had told himself he would take care of Kurt, but the evidence would suggest that he had not done so very well.

After a pause, Blaine murmured, "…why wouldn't you look at me last night?"

Kurt froze—he felt him do so. Blaine kept holding him, saying, "I'm not trying to rush it out of you. I just…I'm just a little worried. You acted differently and…"

and it was like you heard my song and you knew it was for you—and you didn't like what you heard. Just like with Logan's song when you seemed frightened.

Kurt didn't answer. He just carefully put his arms around Blaine tightly. "…Blaine…can I not…tell you the answer right now?" His fingers trembled. "Please?"

Blaine closed his eyes. Anything you want, as long as you don't tell me you hate me for what I did. I don't know why I did it so recklessly. Because Logan had pushed me? He was pushing me back to the line, like he did in fencing. And if I didn't fight back, I would lose. And I can't lose this one.

He nodded slowly. "All right…take your time…" he looked at him now, and smiled. "Hey…don't look so worried. Everything's all right. It's Sectionals today."

"Hardly a comfort," Kurt managed to quip, smiling a little. He turned away from Blaine again, unable to look him in the face. He picked at stray threads on the comforter. Why was it that after the duel, he could still look up at Logan in spite of the song? Why was there a double standard that froze him in his tracks when it was Blaine?

Because you love Blaine, but you don't love Logan?

Maybe Kurt had held Blaine's hand during Logan's song because he was afraid of what he would feel if he let Logan in. He had to have something for Logan, that was sure. All those advances were open that only an utter moron would not notice. And while it was incredibly flattering and did, in some guilty, distant way, made him feel good, he had fled from it. Because Logan, for all his points and flaws, was simply just not the one he wanted.

Blaine never advanced like that before. He was always on the defensive. He would do little things, like hugs, nudges and if at any time he was frightened, he was able to hold his hand to calm himself. He was the protector and that was obvious. From where he stood, Blaine really did make it seem as though he was purely meant for that capacity.

That duel performance was the tiny key on the glass table. It opened up a whole other door—it gave him a glimpse of what it could be—if Blaine felt the same way. That was what Kurt had fallen for. The idea that he could love Blaine and that maybe, Blaine could feel the same. But right now, with everyone having their shields up—with all of Dalton's rules of propriety, unspoken battle lines, competitive matches and friendship ties—he had no way of knowing if what the "White Rabbit" had shown him was the truth, or his imagination.

In the end, Kurt sighed, …I'm just as afraid of Blaine as I am of Logan.

He had two choices. Logan was willing and all but forcing it—he could let Logan in and see for himself what happens if he followed him down that direction. He might love him, hate him, or just up being perfectly civil…

…or he could stay following Blaine, the one who first showed him the way, and pray not to end up losing his head and heart to him while he tries to find out if it what was between them was a dream or reality. With everything standing at the very edge of platonic, it was a risk he had to be willing to take.

What do you do when the person you run to with your problems is one of your problems…?

"Stop running."

Both Blaine and Kurt looked up in surprise. Dwight was not a Warbler, but he insisted on being in the party to defend them against anything bloodsucking and venomous that might be attracted by a group of souls gathered conveniently in one room for them to victimize.

Right now, Dwight was soundly asleep in an awkward position draped over the beanbag chair, his body arcing over it. He sniffled and rolled over, mumbling, "Stop running…walk by yourself and figure it out…"

What…? Kurt stared.

Dwight snored. He rolled over again and fell off the beanbag with a loud thud—but kept snoring.

Blaine and Kurt looked at each other, and then started to smile. Blaine laughed softly. "He's got sleeping issues. I didn't want him to sleep here because I was afraid he'd wake the boys…"

Kurt smiled at Dwight almost affectionately.

Stop running, huh?

Incidentally…that took some "courage" too…


I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.

The day before yesterday, Blaine and Logan dueled for a solo. Blaine won, but when I left that room I felt different. Being sung to by two different guys with two different functions in your life has a way of doing that to you.

Today is Sectionals, and everyone is tense. I'm going to go against McKinley, and that makes it worse.

The pressure is everywhere. I'd want the mayhem back instead, but it appears that it just took a different form.


"Dwight kicked me last night! In the shins! Twice!" Wes snapped at David as they boarded the large tour bus that Dalton used for all its students' off-campus activities. It was morning, the sun was beating down golden rays onto the mass of Warblers that prepared to board and the students who cheered them on. "I swear, David, if I can't walk properly today and we lose because I made a misstep, I'm going to ship him to the Amityville house. I knew we shouldn't have let him sleep over there!"

"And he talks too much in his sleep," David grumbled, rubbing his eyes as he took the seat next to Wes. "He told me he was dreaming about playing Sonic the Hedgehog and he couldn't get to the next level because Sonic wouldn't stop running."

"He needs to be checked for drugs."

"We checked," the twins mumbled from the seats behind them. "He was clean. So he's just pure loony."

Kurt stumbled down the aisle, looking a little more disconcerted than his usual self. Reed waved to him from a window seat to catch his attention. Kurt saw him, immediately walked all the way to the back to them and took the seat next to Reed.

The smaller boy blinked. "You okay? Not going to sit with Blaine today?"

Kurt just shook his head, smoothing out his best blazer and making sure his pants weren't creased. "Just wanted some time to think."

Reed studied him carefully. He leaned to him and murmured. "…about…Blaine and Logan?"

Kurt looked at him. Reed's face split to an adorable smile. "It's kind of obvious, Kurt. To me, anyway." He turned to him fully. "You know this is not about them, and that it's really about how you feel? This time is yours now. You have to be happy—because if you're just troubled, you'll make the wrong decision." He shrugged. "And they don't want that either."

Kurt stared at him. His eyes misted up. And then he grabbed Reed into a tight hug. "Ow!" Reed cried, laughing. "You're crushing my ribs, Kurt!"

"Sorry." Kurt laughed, wiping his eyes a little.

Reed grinned. "It's Sectionals, Kurt. What we've all been waiting for, working for. It's time to push all that aside for at least today—and just have fun." He stopped. "Kurt, why are you wearing that hideous lapel pin? Give me that!"

"Hey! I liked that one!" Kurt protested, trying to grab it back as Reed held it away from him.

"It's from last year's line, Kurt, don't be ridiculous. Ow!"

"See? Now you've stabbed yourself with it. Give it back."


Blaine couldn't sit with his friends. He had to sit in front with Harvey, Medel, and Logan, the designated second soloist. It was purely a decorative title, because Blaine had no intentions of suddenly developing severe illness that would prevent him from being onstage.

Harvey didn't like the boys making noise in the bus en route unless they were singing, and Medel happily conducted the boys into their warm ups as they went on their way.

Sitting next to Logan promised to be an exercise in patience. Blaine had mountains of it, after living in Windsor. But it looks like it was all for naught, as Logan merely gave him a cool smile, turned to the window and remained silent for the ride.

Blaine's phone vibrated.

You all right up there? Logan not giving you problems? –Wes

And then a follow up: Aside from the obvious, I mean?

Blaine smiled faintly and responded: Logan's quiet. So am I. We're not talking to each other. Focusing on Sectionals. –B

If you say so. –Wes

From the twins:

Saw you and Kurt making out this morning. –E&E

Blaine colored to his scalp and furiously texted. We were NOT making out. –B

Awful tight hug though. You both were as adorable as bunny slippers. ps does he know you have a pair, White Rabbit? –E&E

Blaine wished glares could be conveyed over text. If he "suddenly" finds out during this bus ride, I will use your comic book collection as Christmas kindling. –B

He heard laughter from the back of the bus, and then a small commotion at a pair of seats. Blaine texted, What's happening there? –B

Reed choked on a Skittle. –David

Told you not to give him candy. –B

Kurt gave. Brought snacks in case of sugar shortage. -David

And then a mass message from Wes to all the Warblers: KURT BROUGHT COOKIES FOR THE AFTER PARTY. We must win or we don't get those or Medel's brownies!

"Miss being with your friends?"

Blaine looked up at the first time Logan had spoken. The taller boy was smiling coolly again. "I'm sure if you ask Harvey, he'll let you sit with them."

"No…they can take care of themselves." Blaine gave him a sideways glance as he texted the other back. "What about your friends?"

"They're just glad I'm sitting in the front again," Logan sighed, leaning back. He had his phone in his hand, but he had no messages. "It's been a while since I was lead anything here."

"That was by choice, and you know it," Blaine remarked without looking at him. "You could have gotten the lead anytime you wanted, Logan. You just stopped wanting it."

"Really? Well, not from the way it looks from here," the other boy snorted a little, playing with his phone. "When I was singing lead, you sang chorus. And there you would've stayed until Wes and David heard you sing on your own—and then you became lead. You're steep competition."

"Coming from you, that's quite a compliment…and quite a threat. I know how volatile you get when you're compared to anyone," Blaine said mildly. "Seen it first hand. There had been casualties."

"Touche."

After a moment, Blaine put down his phone and said, "I won the fencing match and the duel, Logan. You told me that if I beat you, you would tell me what your beef is with Kurt."

"I don't have a beef with Kurt," Logan said calmly, looking out the window. He remained quiet for so long that Blaine was just about to say something else, until Logan added, "…I'm in love with Kurt."

Blaine's fingers froze on the tips, that numbness climbing slowly upwards until it was prickling onto his arms. "…what?"

Logan smiled out the window. "You act like you don't know why. I saw the way you looked at him when he stopped you at the staircase that very first day he tried to spy on us. I saw you sing to him, I didn't know him then—I didn't really care. When I heard and watched him sing for audition, I finally got why you kept flying off to Lima instead of staying for practice."

He drummed his fingers on the windowsill. "…you have no idea how much that amplified when he walked into the Hall to sing with me that other time. It was the most ridiculous thing that had ever happened to me, I almost hated him for reducing me to this."

Blaine clenched his fists silently, trying to figure out how to even react. Knowing Logan the way he did, Blaine saw so many underlying words in his statements that he had to compose himself. "If you…do anything untoward to him, Logan—"

"All right, Blaine." Logan finally straightened up. He looked at Blaine. "Let's just clear this now. I know you saw him first, but how he looks at me and how he looks at you… He's comparing me to you, Blaine. And like you said…" there was no warmth in those green eyes anymore, "…I'm really…really volatile…when compared to anyone."

Blaine never wavered. He matched that gaze. "That's true… but I'm not going to make it easy for you."

"It would be immensely boring if you did."


"Kurt! Kurt! Finally!" Mercedes came running up excitedly to him backstage and gave him a huge hug. Kurt laughed and hugged back warmly. "It's so good to see you here!"

"You guys are all here?" Kurt asked, grinning.

"Yup, the whole crew…" Mercedes beamed, looking at him with pride. "Finally at Sectionals. Some…issues going on in the green room, though. Sam and Quinn are taking the lead."

Kurt looked confused, but Mercedes waved it away. "Whatever—besides that, how are you? I mean, you are going up against us now. I'm sure you've got one heck of a performance planned."

"Well, I don't have a solo but…I think I've started to mesh in pretty well with the group," Kurt admitted with a relieved smile. "It took me a week, on top of everything else. I'm looking forward to performing with them. How about you? Is it that bad back there?"

"There's a whole lot of drama back there but…" Mercedes smiled a little bit. "But when did we not, right? The important thing is we somehow pull it off. We can't lose now, Kurt—especially with you on the other side." She laughed.

Kurt smiled a little bit. "Are you…are you guys sure, I mean, is there anything I can do at least? I don't know, yell at someone? I'm getting pretty good at that, apparently."

"Considering what you've been telling me about your friends, I'm not surprised," Mercedes snickered. She patted his shoulder. "Look, you just focus on your own group, okay? We got this." Kurt raised an eyebrow, and Mercedes nodded, grinning, "Okay, I think we got this. Well, just…watch us onstage and tell us how we did afterwards. Okay?"

Kurt gave her a long, affectionate hug, and smiled. "I miss you guys, you know."

"We miss you too. Good luck."

The Warbler smiled and waved goodbye as Mercedes hurried back to the New Directions greenroom. Kurt turned around and found Logan standing there with a smile. "We were wondering where you'd gone to," he said.

"I was just—"

Logan laughed. "It's fine, don't look so worried. Everyone knows you came from that group, which makes us doubly interested in what they've brought to the table this time. We definitely got the better end of the bargain, though. They might not be all that much when it comes to skill, if they got rid of your talent so easily."

Kurt's cheeks flared with all the heat rising to his face. "They did not get rid of me, all right? I left them. You don't even know anything about what happened! They didn't want me to leave! I made the decision to go without them even—"

"Kurt! Calm down!" Logan put his hands on his shoulders, staring at him. "Relax! I'm sorry—I didn't mean to imply anything. I'm sorry, all right? Calm down."

Kurt was breathing hard and just glared at him with the minimum conviction necessary. He glanced away. "Just don't talk about them like that."

"I won't, all right? I won't…" Logan assured him. He had yet to let go of Kurt's shoulders. He leaned down to him. "I still have to thank them, though. …if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have gotten to meet you."

He was uncomfortably close. Kurt averted his eyes, shrinking back just a bit. "…please let go of me."

Immediately, Logan released him, holding up his hands in a safe distance. "Right. Okay, sorry about that too. I just didn't want you to get upset with me."

Kurt just nodded, clutching at his elbow. Logan studied him for a moment and smiled. "Why are you so afraid of me? I won't hurt you, Kurt."

"…I don't know that yet," Kurt muttered under his breath.

Logan wasn't sure of what he heard, but he knew it wasn't good. He frowned slightly. "…I suppose your other Windsor friends told you some things about me?"

Kurt sighed. "Maybe."

"You believe them?"

"I don't know, should I?"

"They're biased! Everyone is! Is it because I'm from Stuart house? The Windsors never have anything good to say about us!"

Kurt narrowed his eyes at him. "You think that this is about what House you come from? Logan, I really don't care if you come from Stuart, or Hanover, I don't even care if you board or not! It's what all the other Warblers, no matter what house they're from, say you're like! They've known you longer than I have and they can't trust you!"

"Give me a chance, Kurt," Logan said, expression almost pleading. His green eyes were intense even in the low light. "Just give me a chance. Or at least…talk to me. That's all I want."

When Kurt didn't answer immediately, hesitating, Logan's temper finally got the better of him. "Why don't you just trust me?" he demanded, slamming a hand to the wall and making Kurt jump.

Heart pounding at this sudden show of fury, Kurt finally looked up at him. "Trust? Okay, let's try that. Logan, why did you stop asking for the lead? Why did you let the Warblers down last year? Because everyone has been working to the edge of their lives off for this this year, it had to be the same last year. They were all counting on you—they trusted you and then you left them all hanging. And everyone said you were good, brilliant and you still are! And then you just dropped them because you didn't feel like it anymore! Why did you just stop?"

Logan looked stunned. "I…" he looked around him, as though looking for the answer. He licked his lips, looking anxious for a moment, and then suddenly became furious. "Well, what about you? Why do I have to explain anything to you, new kid? You think you're some kind of saint? You dumped your friends to join a better group after you saw us, didn't you? You dropped them right before Sectionals! You're no different from me!"

Kurt stared at him, mouth open slightly in what might have been shock or just disgust. Then he just dropped his gaze, laughed hollowly and shook his head. In a low tone, he said, "…you think…I left my friends, my family…and everything I had left in McKinley…because I wanted to be in a "better" group…"

"Well didn't you?" Logan glowered down at him, breathing hard. "You could have stayed, but you're here, aren't you?"

Kurt took one step towards him, blue eyes locked on Logan's green ones.

And he slapped him. Soundly.

At the unprecedented action, Logan stared into the side for a moment, frozen in shock. Kurt glared at him. "You are just such an…" He stopped himself and exhaled, recovering, trying to control all the rage that was in him. "…get over yourself, Logan." And then he walked off, fuming silently.

Logan seemed to come to his senses. "Kurt!" he turned to him, but Kurt just stormed into the other corridor and vanished. Logan groaned in frustration and rage, punching one of the nearby stage props, the wood shattering beneath his fist. His hand bled some, but he didn't care. He slumped back to the wall and slid down to the floor, trying to calm himself down.

Evan and Ethan quietly watched from the other end of the corridor, faces impassive. They considered the figure that against the wall and then to the direction where the other had gone. They looked at each other, nodded silently, and went the same way.


Greg knew something was wrong when he walked into the greenroom.

The twins weren't talking, and that was always the bad sign. They just sat there, arms crossed and faces stony. Logan was standing at one side with the other Stuart Warblers, one of which was helping bandage his knuckles. Kurt sat in silence, face white and eyes distant. Blaine stood over him, hand on his shoulder, looking deeply concerned. Wes and David were hovering near him, looking confused and throwing glares at Logan. Reed looked anxious. All the rest of the boys looked divided in attention, talking darkly about suspicions about what might have happened, and what went on last year.

"What happened here?" Greg demanded. The room instantly fell silent. He looked at Logan with a frown. "What happened to Logan's hand?"

"I cut myself, sir," Logan said in a low tone. "I fell onto a stage prop."

"Odd, that's usually Reed's excuse," Greg snapped, knowing he was lying. "Any reason why it's just your knuckles that are damaged, Logan?"

No answer. Greg turned to the Windsor boys. "What happened to Kurt?"

"We don't know, sir," said Blaine truthfully. He didn't know. Kurt just walked in there looking white, shaky, and lost in thought. His body was incredibly tense, slowly easing, like ebbing rage. But the look on his face was of doubt, guilt and self-questioning. He seemed like he had gotten into some kind of fight, but he was not injured—so Logan's cut knuckles weren't the cause.

Greg frowned at them all. "Look at all of you. The atmosphere here is so negative, that none of you even look like a team! Just like last year! And stop glaring at him Wes! David!" he snapped when, at the mention of the previous year, the two immediately glowered at Logan. The two dropped their eyes immediately. "I've had enough of these dramatics!"

He turned to the whole group. "You all come from one school. All from different Houses, come together to make some real music and show them all what a real show choir should sound like. As a group. As a unit. You're smashing each other to pieces before we can even place an achievement next to your names! What are you so smug about? The fact that this generation of Warblers doesn't have a single National title to its name, all because they had to keep dwelling on battle lines?"

He glared at all the boys, who now looked guilty and couldn't look at him. "I've just been to the other greenroom. I've seen and heard New Directions warm up. They're a twelve-member choir and you know what? I wish they would beat you! I wish they would beat each and every one of you so soundly that it would wake you all up to the fact that all of you are strongest only when you work together."

He looked at each of them in the eye, lingering on the particular ones but never naming them. "You know your sound, boys. One unit, forming a perfect harmony. Each one carrying an integral part. It takes all of you, to make the Warblers what they're so famous for."

There was silence in the greenroom. The Warblers glanced guiltily at one another. Greg glowered at them. Sylvia who had been watching from the door now carefully walked in. She smiled gently at all the boys, gesturing for them all to stand.

"All right, boys," she said carefully. "Shall we have one last warm up? On my signal, give me your group chord. Ready?" The Warblers hesitated and barely nodded. She lifted her hands and made a gentle sweeping gesture. The Warblers, all together, let out a chord—but it didn't sound right. Someone was too high, too low, ended too fast, or too late.

Greg pushed up his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, looking frustrated. Even some of the boys looked chagrined at such an output. But Sylvia just smiled. "Ah… Did you hear that? Didn't sound quite right. It's because you all are thinking too much about other things. Let's try that again, all right? This time, listen to each other. Your voice must support everyone else's—and know that without you doing this, it will not work."

She urged them forward. "Deep breath. Push everything aside, and just focus on one, single sound. Because this is you. All of you, understand? Can you do it again now?"

The Warblers looked at each other. Blaine looked at them and smiled. He gestured for them to take it away. The Warblers nodded, smiling faintly. This time, they moved to their proper base formations, each in their proper place, standing tall.

Sylvia beamed. "And again." She lifted her hands and gently swept inward and upward.

In unison, the Warblers sang a single, powerful chord—a union of harmonious voices—that rang through the room, spilling outside, making passerby look up and wonder where it was coming from. Sylvia was beaming brightly as she carefully made a cutting gesture and all the Warblers stopped in perfect unison.

"Much better," she said, smiling.

The Warblers looked at each other, grinning and smirking.

Even Greg almost smiled now. He slowly got up. "That sounded a bit better… maybe you guys now actually have a shot in hell of winning. Unlikely, but there's a light."

Brief murmur of laughs. The boys of Windsor looked at one another and grinned. Blaine took Kurt's hand and was happy to see him smile at him. Even Logan smiled slightly at their director with a nod. One of the stage hands now arrived at the door.

"Mr. Harvey? Ms. Medel? We're about to begin. You may take places in the audience as the Hipsters are going first."


The auditorium erupted into applause when the Warblers finished their performance. They held their elated smiles from their positions, waiting for the curtains to drop again. As soon as it fell, the entire group burst into cheers and applause, cuffing each other in relief and excitement.

"We did it! I can't believe it, we performed at Sectionals!" Reed cried, jumping up and down—and nearly fell off his position if one of the twins hadn't grabbed him before he fell. Wes and David were laughing, hugging and cuffing every Warbler they could reach as they got off the steps, massing to the backstage.

Kurt jumped down from his step and pushed his way to Blaine, giving him a quick hug as the other Warblers swarmed him with praises. Blaine was surprised but hugged back, laughing.

"You were great," Kurt grinned, flushed with adrenaline.

"And you didn't miss a step," Blaine beamed down at him, holding onto his waist. "I guess you're officially one of us now. You're a Warbler, Kurt Hummel, how does it feel?"

"Not bad at all," Kurt laughed.

"Come on!" Blaine called to the other Warblers as they rushed backstage. "Let's go see what New Directions has packing!"

There was chorus of agreement as they did so. Kurt smiled up at Blaine. "Gonna help me support my friends?"

"Of course. They gave us a standing ovation, after all," Blaine grinned. "Besides, I want to see what style you had previously come from. Who knows—maybe Harvey would like that and let you get a bit of that in for the next performance. Make you feel more at home."

Kurt turned red, pleased, and Blaine took his hand to lead him after the others. As Kurt followed, he caught Logan's eye, who was also being given friendly pats and cuffs as they hurried off. Kurt's smile dropped a fraction, and he just glanced away, following Blaine. Logan's gaze followed after him, but he just smiled a little to the other Warblers who were congratulating him and each other.


New Directions was in the middle of their performance and already Kurt could see the Warblers looking very interestedly up at them. They were grinning, studying their movements. They especially looked impressed with Mike and Brittany's wild dance moves, flipping and twirling all over the stage. Kurt had no idea that Santana would be singing the solo, and he felt proud of the Glee club vixen's vocals as she gave it everything she had.

And as he expected, if there had been any problems backstage, at this moment, the Glee club didn't look as though they had any. Each and every one of them came alive onstage—even Lauren Ziszes didn't do too bad.

"Man, they are good," Wes whispered to Blaine.

"We're in trouble, aren't we?" David muttered.

"Singing flowers!" the twins chirruped happily from where they were devouring packs of snacks, going through a giant package of red vines.

"You used to do all this?" Reed turned to Kurt with wide eyes. "I mean, it's not the normal show choir style, but man, you guys are amazing! Singing while dancing like that!"

Kurt had so much pride in his chest, watching his friends, that he felt as though he would explode. He might as well have—the moment Mike and Brittany made the final flip in their routine, Kurt leapt to his feet, applauding, joined the rest of the Warblers and the audience, cheering for the McKinley group.

Blaine glanced to their director, and smirked when he saw Greg nodding with a smile, impressed and clearly turning ideas in his head. Sylvia looked delighted to see such theatrics from the McKinley group and clearly also thought they were wonderful.

"They're good," smiled Greg.

"Amazing," Sylvia agreed.

"Now let's just hope our boys managed to pull themselves to a win."


"What do you mean we tied?" demanded David in a shocked whisper from where he stood with the other Warblers. The Warblers looked confused as they looked at each other and even Will Schuester looked a bit puzzled. Greg only looked as though he almost expected it. But there was no changing the judges decision—both New Directions and the Warblers would be going to Regionals, they announced.

For a moment, the audience was silent, also a bit puzzled. New Directions stood staring, stunned, looking at each other. The Warblers were as puzzled at this, if not more so.

"How…" Reed was biting his nails. "Has this ever—"

"Oh man," the twins looked confused.

"What's wrong with you guys?" Blaine whispered back, giving them a pointed look. "Don't you get it? Let it sink in for a bit—we've just won Sectionals! The Warblers are going to Regionals!"

"Hell yeah we did!" Wes yelled, throwing a punch into the air and the Warblers erupted into cheers. At this signal, the auditorium came to life, erupting into cheers that lifted to the rafters. Confetti came falling from above. There was bedlam on the stage as the groups went crazy, throwing songsheets and programs into the air as their Directors shook hands.

"Kurt!" Mercedes cried, running across the madness of the stage to engulf him in a hug. "We won! All of us, we won!"

"I can't believe it!" Kurt exclaimed, hugging her tight.

"Kurt! Look, it's Kurt!" Tina yelled from where she was clinging onto Mike. New Directions immediately swarmed onto their prodigal one, hugging and cheering with him. The girls all talking at the same time and the boys giving him high fives.

"Good to see you again," Finn smiled. "You guys did great."

"I know, so did you," Kurt laughed. Artie gave him a high five and Kurt nearly buckled under the force of Puck's hand on his back, clapping him heavily there in congratulations.

The Warblers watched in amusement as Kurt was enveloped by his McKinley family. "He looks pretty happy," Reed said, smiling. "Look at him."

Kurt was laughing at something Santana said, and he congratulated Brittany and Mike for their dance. "Yeah…" Blaine nodded slowly, faint smile. "Those guys took care of him…now it's our turn, I guess."

"Yeah, or Alice will leave Warbler Land," the twins grinned.

"Guys!" Kurt breathed, dragging the New Directions to the Warblers. "These are my friends."

"Oh we've met," Quinn grinned. Sam blinked. "You did? When?"

"Uh…long story," Santana rolled her eyes, waving it away.

Kurt introduced them all to one another, and the Warblers and New Directions greeted each other on that stage, with Kurt forming a bridge between the two groups. "You guys did amazingly," Blaine told Finn with a smile.

"Your group's vocals—they were so solid in harmony, it was great," Artie said to Reed, who was grinning.

"Yay! Talking flowers!" the twins grabbed Mercedes and Tina's hands, twirling them onstage, making the two girls laugh.

The choir Directors stood to the side, watching their two groups interact. "Not bad at all, Will," grinned Greg. "You've got one hell of a group there."

"So are your boys. That's quite a sound they've got. But my kids, yeah, they worked hard," Will nodded with a smile. "We had our problems but…worked out in the end."

"Ah, same," nodded Greg. "You'd think an all-boys school would have less." Then he looked at Will and smirked. "I bet the only reason we tied was because both our groups had so many issues in their heads that they couldn't give it everything they've got the way they're supposed to."

"That I'll believe," Will laughed, shaking his head. "They made it all right this time…but they can't be like this if they want to beat Vocal Adrenaline."

"Oh…" Sylvia shook her head, looking worried. "I know. Those boys better get their acts together. They'll be facing you and a juggernaut for their first Regionals."

"We'll see you then, Will?" Greg shook hands with him with a smile.

"See you then." Will turned to New Directions, who were all making a cacophony with the group of Warblers onstage, scattered singing of "The Dog Days are Over" as they did, laughing too hard to actually be coherent. He smiled and said, "All right, guys, let's pack it up. Let's go."

"Boys!" said Greg to the Warblers, leading them towards the stage exits, "We can celebrate later! I want a big talk with you guys again before we have that after party."

"Party!" the twins exclaimed, delighted. "We get to eat Kurt's cookies!"

"They want to eat your what?" Santana looked at Kurt in a flash of confusion.

"Baked goods, Santana, get your head out of the gutter—go on get out of here…" Kurt smirked, motioning to where the rest of them were going, following Will. He hugged each member of New Directions as they left, genuinely happy to see them all again.

The audience was leaving as well, slowly draining out of the auditorium. As Kurt bid his friends goodbye, Lauren moved away from his view of the audience and Kurt saw something that made his blood run cold.

In the audience, standing at the side, one of the few not yet leaving, was Dave Karofsky. He was watching Kurt, no expression of his face; or maybe too far to properly see it. He just simply stood there, watching him.

Kurt's heart shot to his throat and his hand reached out to grab the nearest jacket sleeve his touch could get to—Wes'. "Kurt?" he asked, surprised. "What is it?" He saw Kurt's face, white as a sheet and the grip on his sleeve tightening. "Kurt, what's wrong?"

The other Warblers in the area started to look. Blaine turned around and saw Kurt's expression, then to where he was staring. He was staring out to the boy in the jacket in the audience, now moving to exit, but never breaking eye-contact with Kurt.

"Kurt, you're scaring me," said Reed, frightened. "What is it?"

Logan, who was nearby with other Warblers, saw the commotion and frowned, looking to where Kurt was. He saw Karofsky, and his brow furrowed a little, not understanding.

Blaine took two strides and was next to the paralyzed boy in an instant. "Kurt," he grabbed his other hand. "Don't look at him. Don't look at him—look at me." He shook his arm. "Look at me, Kurt!"

Shaking, Kurt turned terrified blue eyes at him, breath coming short, nodding shakily. "Is that him?" David demanded to no one in particular as he stood near him. "Is that the guy?"

The twins stood on either side of Kurt now, glaring at the boy in the crowd. The group of blue blazers stood protectively around Kurt, looking at Karofsky right back, until he made it to the exit, and vanished.

"Come on," said Blaine gently. "Don't let him get to you. You're safe now, remember? You're safe—it's okay."

"I—I nearly got him expelled…" Kurt stammered. "What if he—"

"There are no what ifs," Blaine snapped sternly, trying to get a rise out of him. It made Kurt look up. "You're with us now, you understand? It's all right. You're safe."

Kurt, heart pounding in his throat, looked at Blaine and whispered, "…he said he was going to kill me, Blaine."

All the Warblers now turned to Kurt. "He said what?" Blaine demanded, as it was also the first time he had heard of it.

"He…" Reed turned shock white.

Wes and David were moving across the stage with fierce strides now and the twins leapt forward and grabbed their arms. "Whoa! Hey! Stop—stop! Don't go there, guys!"

"Go there?" Wes demanded. "That guy's been there and back! And he shows up here to see Kurt?"

"Don't do this now! He's gone!" Evan snapped. "He didn't do anything here. Come on!"

David shrugged free of Ethan's grasp, glaring at him.

"Why didn't you tell me this?" Blaine demanded to Kurt, voice rising. "All you told me was that he was shoving you and making fun of you and downright terrifying you and the incident in the locker room, and now—" He stopped, then came to the realization. "…that was it. That was it, wasn't it? That's the reason you left. …he threatened to kill you…" Blaine stared at him in shock.

Kurt swallowed, lowering his eyes, calming a little. "…yes. It was that. I nearly—I nearly got him expelled for it and…" he choked, forcing himself to become calm, struggling. "…the school board overturned it. He was coming back and I…I had to leave." He moved a hand through his hair, trying to compose himself. "...I couldn't tell you. I just...I couldn't."

Reed put an arm around his friend comfortingly. "Let's go. He's gone, you're okay. Let's go back to the greenroom and…give you something to calm you down." He led him offstage. The rest of the Warblers looked at each other darkly, but followed.

Standing at the wings, Logan watched all this. He turned and walked away once they all disappeared.


On the next episode: Dalton becomes too much of a Winter Wonderland as a record-breaking level of snow descended on Westerville, effectively trapping the entire student body in for the day. Blaine falls ill, leaving the Windsor boys with no chaperones and no prefects.