He looked out of place in the neatly trimmed haircuts and raised heads, he knew. He walked facing the ground, his hands gripping the strap of his messenger bag, and his mop of long, curly dark hair hid his face quite well. "Hey new kid!"

He froze and looked up, pure terror on his face. "M... Me?" He stammered, his voice soft, looking at the two boys watching him.

One shoved the other's shoulder playfully. "Ignore him. He's being obnoxious. A bit late in the semester for a new student, isn't it?"

"I'm a transfer student." He murmured, looking shyly at his shoes.

"Welcome to Dalton. I'm Wes Anderson and this is David Michaels."

"B... Blaine Criss. But you... you might not want to talk to me." When did he develop a stutter? Great. Another reason for an entire school to hate him. He might as well just drop out of high school altogether.

This confused the friends. 'Why's that?"

Blaine blushed furiously. "I... I..." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Give them fair warning, Blaine. He reminded himself. When he spoke again, there was no hesitation, but he was even more soft-spoken. "I'm gay."

David laughed. "So?"

"Seriously, Blaine, why should we care?" Wes replied, draping an arm across the slight boy's shoulders. "Where are you going?"

"My... um... dorm."

"What number is it?"

Wes grinned. "Nice to meet you, Roomie. Shall I show you our humble abode?" Blaine turned white, mumbling something, and David nudged him, falling into step on the other side of Blaine.

"Speak up, new kid."

"S...Sorry. I don't mean to be in the way."

"Dude, Wes has been needing someone to keep him in line for over a year now. You'll be a good balance for this psychopath." David laughed, ruffling his curly hair.

He didn't understand. He was a gay boy, sharing a room with a straight guy, and there was no 'Stay away from me and my side of the room, Fag.' He had heard that Dalton had a strict no-bullying policy, but there was no way that there would really be absolutely no problems, was there? Wes must be waiting for privacy to lay down the law. He just hoped that, if he was quiet and nice and respectful of Wes's demands that it would be the end of the problem. He would probably never hear from Wes or David again though. Still. He could deal with being alone if there were no confrontations.

So you play guitar, huh?" Wes touched the guitar case strapped onto Blaine's back.

'Huh? Oh... sort of."

"Cool. Just don't keep me up all night with it."

"Oh no! Of course not! I don't play that often, and I wouldn't dream of disturbing someone else with it!" It was a lie. He had three or four notebooks with him that were full cover to cover with guitar tabs and lyrics, but he resolved never to play it again.

The pair laughed, and he turned red, knowing he was making a fool of himself. "Relax, Blaine." Wes laughed. "I'd like to hear you play sometime." He slipped and arm through Blaine's, turning him down a corridor. "I hope you're not a neat person." He said, opening the door to his dorm. It was a mess, and Blaine was a very neat person.

"Not really." He squeaked, staring in horror at the bombshell of a room. Wes laughed.

"We can clean it up." He assured, seeing easily through Blaine. "I can't promise that it will stay that way."

"Dude, we're gonna be late for rehearsal." David said.

"Right. David and I have Warblers practice, but feel free to make yourself comfortable, and to neaten things up if you want."


"The school's Glee club. An a capella group. We could use another voice, if you're any good at singing."

He fervently shook his head. Oh God no. Getting up and singing in front of all those people? He could never do it. And he wasn't a particularly good singer anyway.

"Dinner's just after practice at six thirty. You saw the clock in the entrance?" Blaine nodded. "You think you can find your way back to it?" Another nod. "Meet us there and we'll introduce you to everyone."
He nodded, wondering if there was a way he could get out of it."Stick with me and Wes. We'll teach you Dalton Survival 101." David assured him, clapping him on the back. Blaine very carefully didn't wince as David's hand collided with the still-healing bruises on his back and shoulders.

"Thanks." He whispered, looking at his feet again.

"Chill out, dude. You'll like it here."

He nodded again, and the pair of boys wandered off down the hall. He closed the door to Wes's dorm - Your dorm, Blaine. It's yours now too – and sat on the bed that wasn't covered in wrinkled blazers and a pair of gray pants that were in desperate need of ironing. He grabbed the small toiletries bag he had brought with him, with his comforting Old Spice shampoo and the various collection of different cleansers and exfoliators that only a gay boy would have. He went into the bathroom and wrinkled his nose, almost having a panic attack at the amount of unwashed socks lying in the corner. But he wouldn't complain. He wouldn't. He searched high and low for fresh towels and finally found one that was balled up in a linen closet, but at least smelled clean. He turned the shower on as hot as the water would go and undressed, neatly folding his uniform before stepping into the shower. He stayed in there until the water turned from scalding to hot, then warm, then tepid and finally, reluctantly turned the water off and grabbed a towel, drying his face and getting as much water out of his hair as the stubborn curls would release, then wrapped the towel around his waist and stepped carefully out of the shower, skirting three discarded shirts and a red sweater vest lying on the floor. A quick glance at the watch he had left lying on the bathroom counter told him that it was almost six. He ran a hand through his unruly curls and looked at himself in the mirror. He needed to shave. Desperately. He ran through the steps mechanically, his mind focused elsewhere, and he nicked his jaw at least three times for not paying attention to what he was doing. Perfect. It was now six and he dressed quickly and grabbed his messenger bag, which he wouldn't need, but it was like a security blanket to him, and he never went anywhere without his notebook, and he would look like a much bigger douche carrying a lone notebook and pen than the messenger bag. He hurried out the door, following the crowd towards dinner. Wes and David were standing by the clock, looking around through the crowd. David saw him first and pointed him out to Wes, who, with a complete lack of tact, opened his mouth and shouted Blaine's name. He felt the heat rush to his face. Why me? He raised a hand in a halfhearted greeting and went up to them and the tall blonde boy who was standing with them.

"Hey Blaine. This is Alden Winchester. Alden, this is my roommate, Blaine Criss."

"Hey man. I hear you play for my team." He winked, and Blaine turned a deeper shade of red, if that was even possible.

"Uh, depends on what team you play for." Blaine mumbled.

"The team that likes boys." Alden said. Blaine's eyes widened, his face going white as he looked at Wes and David. Alden laughed. "Don't tell Wes anything you don't want the whole school to know. He gossips like an old lady."

Blaine laughed slightly, and Wes and David stared at him. "Damn, Alden, we've been trying to get him to smile since we met him, and you've already got him laughing." David said, looking impressed.

Alden smiled easily and hooked a finger under Blaine's chin when he looked at the ground, turning red again. "You're doing a good impression of your sweater vest."

Blaine smiled hesitantly, and Alden winked. "Blaine, you have got to do something about that messy hair. Did you even comb it?"

He shook his head. "It's really thick, and it gets frizzy if I try."

"I'll cut it!" Wes volunteered, and Alden gave him a look.

"You will cut his hair only when I want to see him bald, or looking like you." Blaine laughed at the look on Wes's face, uncertain, as if he wasn't sure if he had been insulted or not. Alden grinned. "See? It's not that hard to smile, Blaine. You know, I'd be willing to bet that you're pretty cute underneath all that hair." He laughed as Blaine turned red again. "Easily embarrassed, aren't you? C'mon. I'll buy you dinner." He offered Blaine his hand, and hesitantly, Blaine took it.

"T… Thanks." Alden nodded, and stopped, turning to look at Wes, who was following with a grin."That was not an open invitation. Go mooch off of someone else." He wrapped an arm around Blaine's shoulders and steered him away from the pair. "They're good guys, but kind of a handful. I dunno what the Dean was thinking, rooming you with Wes."

"He seems nice." Blaine admitted softly.

Alden stopped in the line and looked at Blaine shrewdly. "I'm willing to bet you're coming out of some rough times."

"How'd you know?"

"My dad didn't take the news of my being gay too well. He disowned me, and I went to live with my aunt, who sent me here. I've been there. It gets easier, and the guys here are cool. They won't give you a hard time."

"You might have had an easier time, Alden, if you weren't a screaming yellow homosexual." Someone said. The color left Blaine's face, and came rushing back at Alden's easy response.

"Where as you don't even have the excuse of being gay for being shipped off to boarding school, Cam. That's got to suck."

The boy, Cam, laughed and focused on Blaine, who Alden had tucked protectively against his side. "Oh, hey new guy. I'm Cameron."


"Watch out for Alden. He's a shameless flirt, and he preys on the new gay guys."

Blaine looked at Alden in surprise, and Alden leaned over easily to cuff Cam. "You're gonna scare the poor kid."

"Alright, alright. He's the shameless flirt who is the gay welcome wagon." Cam edited. Alden nodded, satisfied as he felt the tension go out of Blaine's shoulders.

"Don't be so nervous, Blaine." Alden murmured. "The guys here like to have their fun, but I've never seen anyone being intentionally hurtful."

"Well that's a relief." Blaine smiled nervously, and Alden brushed his hair out of his face. "You're definitely a cutie. We've still got to cut that hair though."

"Um… Wes and David told me that if I stuck with them, they'd teach me how to… blend in, I guess."

"They will. There are a few things that are disconcerting at first. For example, witty banter is more or less limited to mealtimes and after class hours. When you're in class, or in whatever extracurricular activities you choose to pursue, people are a lot more serious. It's all about balance. It takes a while to find that balance, but once you do, you'll blend right in." Blaine nodded and Alden laughed, ruffling his hair. "You're getting a haircut tonight, Scruffy." He teased.

Blaine chewed his lip. "Is my hair really that bad?"

"It's actually really cute, it's just... a bit much for Dalton. Have you noticed that everyone here is neatly trimmed?"

"Yeah. I stick out huh?"

"You'll stick out less when you've got a proper haircut."

He nodded. He didn't really want to cut his hair. He liked it longer and shaggy, liked being a little bit on the scruffy side. It had become comfortable for him. He had been growing his hair out for a year now, using it as yet another way to hide. But Dalton boys didn't hide, he had realized. Dalton boys walked with their heads held high, their backs straight. He looked even smaller the way he stood now, staring at his feet, his shoulders hunched, in a permanent slouch. Apparently Alden noticed. "Stand up straight, Kiddo. You're short enough as it is." Blaine stood up a bit straighter, his head barely reaching Alden's shoulder. "You really are short, aren't you?"

Blaine flushed. "Sorry."

"Are you seriously apologizing for your height?" Alden rolled his eyes and laughed, resting his arm on Blaine's shoulder. "You're got a long way to go, Frodo."

Frodo? I'm a hobbit now?

No sooner had Blaine and Alden sat down at the table with Wes and David, they were instantly surrounded by boys who were all scrambling over each other to introduce themselves to him, and he was forcibly the center of attention all throughout dinner, blushing often and answering question after question, talking as little as he possibly could.

"How old are you?"


"Liking Dalton?" A nod

"Wes says you brought a guitar?" Another nod. "Do you write your own music?" A blush and a nod.

"Sweet! You should play in the courtyard at lunch sometime." A deeper flush and a frantically shaking head.

"Who are you rooming with?" He pointed to Wes.

'You gonna keep him in line?" A shrug and laughter as Wes fervently shook his head.

A wink from a guy who was a little too camp. "You got a boyfriend?"

Blaine's eyes widened and he choked on his drink. Wes patted him on the back as the youth coughed. Alden slung his arm around Blaine's shoulders. "Geez, don't even give the poor kid a day before you go after him. Seriously, Ian?"

The boy, Ian Webber, shrugged. "He's cute. I like curly hair."

Alden stood up, pulling an overwhelmed and still coughing slightly Blaine with him. "Seriously? Come on, Frodo, you've had enough attention for one night."

"Too much." Blaine murmured, hesitantly smiling. Everybody laughed, then laughed harder when Blaine turned red yet again.

Alden slipped an arm around him, leading him out. "We're going to the prefects' bathroom. They'll come looking for you in my dorm, and yours, and Ian is my roommate." Blaine turned white and stumbled, and Alden caught him. "Careful there. You okay?"

Blaine nodded, though he knew Alden could feel him shaking. "Thanks."

"Someone really messed you up, didn't they, Frodo?"

He nodded again as Alden ushered him into the bathroom, locking the door behind him and gestured to the bench. "Sit." Blaine sat obediently. Alden started sifting through drawers, pulling out the tools he would need, then combing carefully through Blaine's still–damp hair. The younger boy closed his eyes, trying to ignore the sound of snipping. He started humming softly, then louder to drown out the sound. The song was a tune he had invented, but had yet to put words to. He didn't realize how loud he had gotten until Alden's hands weren't touching him anymore, and he murmured a hasty apology and fell silent.

"Voice like that, Frodo, you could be a Warbler. We're in the market for a new lead."

He shook his head violently, until a large hand landed on top of his head. "Stay still, Frodo. I'm working."
Blaine sat in still silence until he felt Alden's hands combing through his hair. His head felt lighter, and Alden slapped his hand away when he reached up to feel it. "Now, for the last touch. Pay close attention to how I do this, because I can't do it for you every day." He rubbed gel into his hands, then passed them through Blaine's hair, sweeping the significantly shorter strands to the right and back, then carefully parted his hair, running his hands through his hair, over and over, until the gel started to hold. He then stepped back to admire his work. "I was wrong. You're not cute, Frodo. You're hot."

Blaine blushed. "I don't know about all that."

"I do. Take a look at yourself in the mirror."

He looked in the mirror, but didn't recognize the boy there. Sure, the boy had his teeth, his insane eyebrows and his color-changing eyes.

But that wasn't him. It didn't look a thing like him. The boy in the mirror was a blushing, wide-eyed Dalton student, not the scruffy wannabe. "Wow."

"Wow is right. You're covered in hair." He brushed his hand down Blaine's back to get it off, and Blaine wasn't quite fast enough in covering his wince. "You alright, Frodo?"

Blaine nodded, his eyes suddenly scared looking in the mirror, and Alden reached around him to unbutton his blazer and tugged it off of him, then untucked his shirt, pulling it up, gasping at the amount of half healed Bruises on Blaine's body. "Jesus, Frodo. Has anyone ever showed you any kindness?"

"Aside from my parents?" Alden shook his head and gently kissed Blaine's forehead.

"It's going to be different here. Mark my words, Kiddo, you're gonna be something great. They'll all learn that in the end. Until then, chin up, stand up straight, and remember to smile." Blaine smiled, laughing slightly, and Alden grinned. "Just keep it up and they won't glance twice at you. I've got to clean up this mess. Go straight to your dorm. Don't stop, don't talk to anyone, and don't wait for me. They'll realize that's it's you if you're with me, no matter how different you look when you're not hiding under all that hair."

Blaine nodded. "Um..." He hugged the taller boy hesitantly. "Thanks Alden." He hurried out, going straight for his dorm. Head up, back straight. No one glanced at him as he went back to the dorm and slipped inside.

"Um, excuse me, I think you have the wrong room." Wes said.

He flushed. "Wes, I... it's-"

"Oh my God, Blaine?"

He nodded, chewing his lower lip. "Yeah. Alden ah..." He touched his hair absently. It wasn't soft anymore. It was hard to the touch, soaked through with gel. He would have to get some for himself.

"Dude, that's amazing. Seriously, you look great."

"Th... thanks." He flushed crimson as Wes tugged his shirt off, reaching for one on the floor, then looked at him.

"Oh shit. Sorry, dude. I wasn't thinking." Wes tugged a different shirt on. Blaine carefully removed his blazer, plucking the last stray hairs from it and hanging it up neatly, followed by his shirt. He left the v-necked undershirt on, and searched through his bags for his sweatpants and went into the bathroom, brushing his teeth and changing into his sweatpants. He returned and watched Wes, who was staring at his guitar. "Show me what you've got, new kid."

Blaine flushed, but went to open the case, taking out an old and well cared for acoustic guitar, sitting on the edge of his bed, thinking for a moment before playing a song he had written years ago. There were lyrics that went with the song, but he didn't sing them. There were too many scars now, too many still healing wounds. All the same, he wasn't sure he would write songs again. He would continue to compose melodies and write lyrics. He just wouldn't combine them.

"What's that on your arm?" Wes pointed to the edge of the bandage that was wrapped around his shoulder.

"N... Nothing." He immediately packed his guitar away, focusing his gaze on anything but Wes.

"Blaine, man, are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'm just tired." He lied easily. There were few things that Blaine was good at. Lying was one of them.

"Oh, right. You're probably exhausted. First day's always the worst. I'm kinda working on a paper. Will my laptop bother you?"

He shook his head, climbing into bed with his back to Wes. It made his injured shoulder uncomfortable, lying on it, but it was better than staring at the mess on the floor. He honestly didn't expect to fall asleep, but the next thing he knew, someone threw something that felt suspiciously like a shoe at him, and he rolled over away from the pain, making a soft noise of protest, looking to see who was throwing things at him this time. "I've been trying to get your ass up for ten minutes! We're going to miss breakfast!" Blaine groaned and dragged his tired body out of bed, changing with all the speed he could manage before disappearing into the bathroom to fix the bed-head he knew he had and brush his teeth, and followed Wes out of their room towards breakfast.

"Pippin!" He looked up, purely at the voice, and saw Alden grinning at him. Only then did he realize that apparently he was a different Hobbit today, and raised a tired hand in greeting as Alden sauntered over to him, dragging him into line with Wes and David, who were having an intense discussion over why David's girlfriend had gotten even more angry when he brought her flowers to appease her.

"Because you were trying to appease her." Blaine said, covering a yawn with his hand.

"Wait, what?" David asked, looking confused.

"You brought her flowers as an instant fix. Her first thought was that you brought her flowers to shut her up because you didn't want to talk about the problem."

Wes, David, and Alden shared a look. "I don't think he's ever said that many words at one time before." Wes said.

Blaine flushed, and Alden draped an arm over his shoulder. "And now he's back to the little Hobbit we know and love." He and Wes laughed, but David was watching Blaine.

"So what do I do?"

Blaine thought for a moment, then shrugged. "Talk to her. Tell her the truth about what you're thinking and feeling."

"Follow your own advice, Pippin." Alden said, reaching up to ruffle his hair. Blaine ducked away at the last second, trying to preserve his hair. "My God, boys, I think he might be human after all." Blaine flushed, and Alden laughed lightly.

Breakfast passed, thankfully without the group of people surrounding him and chattering questions. No one even looked twice at him, and he looked up at Alden. "Do I really look that different? I don't think anyone even recognizes me."

"Pippin, you look like one of them. You're one of us now." He smiled softly, pleased, and Alden ruffled his hair. "Eat up, Pippin. You need your strength." He teased.

Alden, David, and Wes walked him to class, and finally, on the way there, someone recognized him. "Hey Blaine!" A hand was held up, and Blaine gave a high five, blushing and smiling. After that, news traveled fast, and at least one person in all his classes knew him and sat by him, giving him advice or just chatting.

He was still quiet, and still spent most of his day resembling a tomato, but it was easier, and he found that he wasn't quite as terrified. When he got to lunch, Alden dragged him into the courtyard, where the Warblers, led by Alden, sang an impromptu performance, and Blaine was speechless, staring at them, the only person who wasn't moving with the music. They were amazing. Alden threw himself down at Blaine's side, smiling. "Impressed?" Blaine nodded, watching him.

Alden was one of those people who, even when he wasn't standing, never just sat. Alden lounged, all the time. Even now, on the bench, he was sprawled out, one arm dangling over the back, his legs crossed out in front of him, managing to display all six feet and five inches of himself. "Seriously, Pippin. We could use another guy."

Blaine shook his head emphatically. "I don't really sing."

Alden watched him, and reached up to ruffle his hair, messing it up. "Bullshit." He said easily. "You have any plans for the weekend?"

"I think my parents want me to spend the weekend at my place."

"You live far?"

He shrugged. "About an hour away."

"Not too far then." He nodded. "Well when will your parents be here?"

"When my last class ends. We're going for dinner."

"Well I won't see you again until Monday then." The bell rang and he stood up, hugging Blaine lightly, kissing his cheek. "See you then, Pippin."

Blaine flushed and smiled. "Bye Alden."

When his parents picked him up, he could hardly escape the mass of people trying to hug and high five him as he made his way to their car. Eventually, he would bring his own car, but not yet, apparently. He slipped into the backseat, pulling the door closed.

His mother looked at him. "When did you get a haircut?"

"Last night. A friend did it."

She smiled. "Friend, huh? Been a long time since I've heard you say that."

"Yeah." He nodded his agreement, smiling. "I like it here. It's taking some getting used to."

"Are they being nice? I swear, Blaine, if-"

"Mom, they're great." Blaine said, smiling at her, giving her an honest to God smile. "That's what's taking some getting used to. I've got three friends already, and everyone else wants to be my friend. You'd like Wes. He's my roommate, and he's kind of crazy. Woke me up this morning by chucking a shoe at me." He rolled his eyes. "Then he waited for me to get dressed and walked me to breakfast."

"Does he know?"

"That I'm gay? Yeah, he knows, but he doesn't care." Blaine grinned. "And Alden is acting like Yoda, teaching me the ropes, how to fit in, and I'm starting to. It's amazing." All through dinner, he chatted animatedly about everything that happened to him, all the people asking him questions, showing him to his next class and being both friendly and occasionally funny or witty By the end of the night, he already missed Dalton, and all the people there who he knew already, rattling through names and talking about the Warblers and Alden and Wes's attempts to recruit him.

The weekend passed slowly, because although Blaine had missed his parents, he was already used to the noise of everyone chattering at dinner, the high fives and jokes that were thrown around, few were not hilarious, and even fewer were appropriate. When he went back late Sunday night, Alden, Wes, and David were outside waiting for him. "Frodo! Welcome home!"

And he smiled. "It's good to be back."

Alden threw an arm around his shoulders, leading him inside, and Wes and David were chattering on about something, and Blaine felt braver as he walked inside. He didn't need his mantra. Stand up straight, chin up. He just walked in with them, his head held high.

As the days passed, Blaine wasn't new kid anymore. They greeted him by name, cracked jokes with him. The blushes became more and more rare, and the smiles became more and more frequent. Alden still hung out with him, but it was less protective. He stopped defending Blaine from people's jokes, instead teasing Blaine on his own.

And Blaine was never more proud when someone made a comment about how scruffy his hair had been, and he smiled easily and replied. "That's okay. My hair still looked better than yours." Alden laughed and hugged Blaine.

"You made it, Frodo. You're one of us."

Blaine hugged him back, laughing. "It's a good feeling." He admitted. Days turned into weeks, where he was smooth and friendly, and would laugh and chatter with people as they walked down the hall with him, no longer flinched away from being the center of attention at dinner, and gradually, he wasn't the center of attention anymore. He was just part of the group, occasionally calling out a snappy retort or witty remark, and someone would clap him on the back, and it didn't hurt anymore, because the bruises had healed, and he hadn't gotten any new ones.

Wes was in Warblers rehearsal, and Blaine hopped into the shower, humming one of his most recent tunes quietly as he washed his hair.

He never thought it would happen again, but like so many times before, the tune morphed into words, and Wes was in rehearsal, and Blaine hadn't sung in so long.

And so he did.

I've heard the word before
But it's never meant much more
Than ust a thing I've never had
A place
They say 'hey know your place'
But I've never had a place to even know
Or a face that I could go to
If I needed someone there
I'm laughing
It's hard to hide a smile
My God, it's been a while
Since I have had a reason to
To think
It's been here all along
Somewhere to belong
And a reason
A something to believe in
I've finally found it
A place where I'm wanted.
This must be how it feels
To have a home."

He slammed his hand against the wall, letting himself sing out, project like he had wanted to for so long, gave the song a bit of a rock style.

"I used to dream about it,
But never schemed or counted
On fantasies or wishes
It breaks a man to see what he misses.
And so many nights,
I'd pray for a better life
And a better day.
But I never thought that it'd come true
It's finally here and I don't know what to do
And I'm trying not to cry.
This must be how it feels to have a home!"

He was being loud, he knew, but he was so sick of being soft spoken, never shouting across the courtyard to get someone's attention, never standing up with the Warblers and singing. He was tired of toning his voice down.

"I've finally made it
I've hoped and I've waited
And for the first time in my life,
I don't feel so alone
My heart starts to heal
To know this is real
This is how it must feel
To have a home!"

He held the note for what felt like a long time, and he fell silent, grinning.

He got out of the shower, dressed, and was amazed to see Wes waiting for him outside of the bathroom. Play it cool, Blaine. "You're back early for rehearsal."

"I ran out to get my music." Wes lunged, grabbing his wrist. "You're coming with me." He dragged Blaine through the halls, and into the rehearsal room, where the Warblers all looked up, at the very red Blaine, and Alden rolled his eyes as Wes closed the door and searched through his pockets until he pulled out a tape recorder. "Dudes, you have to hear this kid."

Blaine stared at the tape recorder in horror. "Wes, you didn't!"

"Oh, I totally did." Wes hit play, and Blaine covered his face with his hands in humiliation as his voice played. Wes draped an arm across his shoulders, keeping him where he was as the song played, beginning to end.

The end of the song was met with silence, and then Alden spoke. "Jesus, Frodo, I knew you could sing, but not like that."

"What song is that? "I've never heard it before?" David asked. Blaine turned red.

"I just... made it up."

Alden laughed. "I think that's a good enough audition." He looked at the other members of the council, who nodded. "Congratulations, Frodo, you're our new lead."

"What?" Blaine stared at him.

"Seriously, Blaine, that's amazing." John, another council member told him. "And we need someone who can sing like you if we're going to go up against Vocal Adrenaline."

There was applause around the room, and it took Blaine a long time to really comprehend that the applause was for him, him and his voice. And he was going to sing with them. As the lead. And it was amazing, and finally, he grinned.

This must be how it feels to have a home.

And he was happy there, and he loved his school, loved being a Dalton boy, and a Warbler, and the boy who was quiet and shy finally faded all the way into Blaine Criss, lead singer for the Dalton Academy Warblers and he was well known, and well liked, and it was everything he had wanted for so long.

And the council graduated, and Wes and David took over, and there was a new transfer.

The new boy, Kurt Hummel didn't stay long, and he never fit in the way everyone else did. He was too different, and he wanted something different. He wanted to stand out, and to shine, and to be recognized for the amazing individual that he was.

And when he left, the lead singer of the Warblers didn't stay long after him.

On his last day, he stood up, smiling around at them and thanked them, because, as he put it, "You guys saved me. Gave me somewhere to fit in and belong, and that was what I needed, but I don't need that anymore. I'm looking for something more. Something bigger than me. Someone stronger than me. And I'm going after him. You guys gave me a place to fit in. He gave me the courage to stand out."

And then, every time there was a new boy who transferred, shy from years of having problems and being bullied, there was someone to teach him the ropes and make him laugh and smile, and to tell him the story of 'Warbler Blaine Criss' and his boyfriend 'Courage Kurt Hummel.'