AN: Sorry to anyone who read the earlier version of this. I didn't really like how that chapter went, and felt in the need for something kind of dark. So. . .entirely revamped version of the story. Not. Happy. But with happy morals! Yay!

Wes didn't look happy. In fact, Blaine realized with a wince, he looked downright pissed off. And rightfully so. The bus, lined up and ready to take them to Nationals, was costing them extra money with every minute that it sat in the parking lot.

"I called him twice, I don't know what else you want me to do," Blaine sighed. "It's not like I'm Kurt's baby-sitter. You're on the council. . .isn't it your job to keep everyone in line?"

Wes just glowered a bit more. Blaine could almost read the murderous thoughts that must have been going on in his best friend's head. Admittedly, the group needed Kurt – he was the only one who could reach some of the notes that they'd managed to add in to a new, ten part harmony number for Nationals. And most of the boys liked him. But somehow, responsibility for the notoriously tardy diva had fallen squarely on Blaine's shoulders. And while he liked Kurt, and respected him, he certainly didn't want to be responsible for him.

"Okay, look," he said finally. "You guys go ahead. I'll get Kurt and we'll follow you in my car. Okay?"

"Why, Blaine, what a wonderful suggestion," Wes said, his tone positively chipper, though his face still suggested a killing spree. "We couldn't let you drive all that way alone, though."

"Oh, whatever," Blaine sighed. "Just text me when you get to a rest stop. We'll meet you there."

Wes finally smiled at that, and boarded the bus. Blaine watched dejectedly as all the Warblers headed off into the sunset, leaving him behind.

"Kurt, you'd better have a good excuse," Blaine muttered under his breath as he stalked back into Dalton Academy.

He hadn't gone more than a few steps when a bundle of energy nearly pounced on him. Kurt's cheeks were flushed, and his eyes shining. He was so excited, Blaine noticed, that he'd buttoned his blazer wrong, and it hung crookedly on his slight shoulders. Panting, he held up a phone.

"OhmygodBlaine!" he exclaimed. "Look at this! Look at this!"

He practically thrust the phone into Blaine's face. With a sigh, the older boy took it. The anger he'd felt toward Kurt was already dissipating, despite his better instincts. He read the text.

Hey, boo! Did you hear? The Cleveland Criers couldn't put together the funds to make it to nationals, so they called the highest scoring second place team to fill in – New Directions! We're going to nyC! ~Mercedes

"They made it, too!" Kurt squeaked. "Isn't this great? I felt so bad when we beat them at Regionals, but now it doesn't matter. We're all going to New York City!"

Blaine tried to smile. He managed to force his lips into something resembling happiness, but he was sure it didn't meet his eyes. New Directions being there just meant more distractions for Kurt. And with a solo and a vital part of every harmony, the Warblers couldn't afford him to be distracted.

Plus, he was still pissed that they'd missed the bus.

"That's great, Kurt," he finally managed to force past stiff lips. "But didn't you forget something?"

"Forget. . .?" Kurt frowned. He glanced up at the ceiling, a habit he had. "I didn't. . .ohmygodblainethebus!"

"Yeah, it left. . ." Blaine lifted his watch and read the time. "five minutes ago. Without us."

"WITHOUT US?" Kurt's voice probably shattered windows somewhere. Blaine winced. He was pretty certain that the Dalton chandeliers, proudly displayed for one hundred and seventy years, were shaking above him. Kurt took a deep breath, and continued speaking in a more normal voice. "Okay, Hummel, don't panic. Dad took your car away, but there are always taxis, or. . ."

"Calm down," Blaine said, a little chuckle in his voice now. It was hard not to see the humor in the situation, with Kurt getting all worked up. "I told Wes I'd drive us to the first rest stop. We can meet up with them there."

'Oh," Kurt nodded his head. "Yeah. Good idea."

His phone buzzed again. This time, Kurt didn't even flip it open, he just stared at it consideringly. "You know what, Blaine, I have a better idea. . ."

"Absolutely not," Rachel Berry said, stomping her foot on the ground. "I refuse. This is a clear abomination and almost certainly against the rules."

"Oh, come on Rachel, it's just Kurt," Mercedes said, winking at her friend. Blaine just watched, somewhat amused, from his vantage point just behind Kurt's shoulders. They were standing in McKinley High's choir room, and Blaine felt a little pang of nostalgia. It was almost exactly like the room at his old school. . .shoddy and worn down, but with splashes of color and personality all over. His lips quirked.

"Just Kurt?" Rachel crossed her arms defiantly. "Need I remind you that he is not a member of the opposition? A Warbler? And he's brought another spy!"

"Shut it, midget," a Latina girl said, standing and sashaying over to where Blaine and Kurt were standing. She smiled at Blaine, one eyebrow raised suggestively. "Hi, handsome," she said, her voice low and husky. Kurt giggled. Santana glared at him.

"Hi," Blaine said, his face as charming as he could make it. "I'm Blaine. You must be Santana."

"At your service," she said.

"Um. . .Santana. . ." Kurt was still giggling. Finn, meanwhile, looked as though he'd been hit on the head with an anvil.

"Oh!" He said, both eyes and mouth as wide as they went. "Kurt, is this the guy you're totally in love with?"

Blaine enjoyed the way Kurt's entire face turned bright red, starting with the tips of his ears. He also enjoyed the way the blonde girl started clapping, and Santana rolled her eyes.

"Really, Kurt?" she asked, venom in her voice. "Going after the straight boys, again?"

"Actually. . ." Blaine coughed delicately into her fist. Santana turned to look at him again.

"Oh," she said. She turned to sit down again, giving one more look over her shoulder. "Well. . .we can always change that," she said. Blaine just shrugged.

At that moment the director of New Directions burst into the room, looking agitated. He pushed his way past Blaine and Kurt to stare down his students.

"Guys, what are we waiting for? The bus is just outside. . ."

All of his students just stared back at him, Mercedes with a broad grin, and Rachel still looking irritated. Mr. Schuester slowly turned around.

"Oh, hi, Kurt. What are you doing here? And hi. . ."

"Blaine," he said, reaching out a hand. "We're actually here asking for a favor. You see, Kurt, being a diva, wasn't ready to hop on our bus on time. They left without us."

"Mr. Schuester, I really think it would be highly irresponsible to allow these two infiltrators to ride with us to Nationals. We should really work through our set list, and perhaps rehearse a few of the numbers."
"Rachel, Kurt is our friend," the director said decisively. "If he needs a favor from us, then we'll give it to him." Rachel opened her mouth again. "Rachel, this is not a discussion."

As the New Directions members trooped into the hallway, most of them paused to give Kurt a quick hug and shake Blaine's hand. Except for Rachel, who muttered "Traitors!" as she walked by.

They'd been driving for about ten hours. Blaine was still awake, busy texting Wes to chart the progress of the Warblers. They'd arrived in the city, were already checked into the hotel, and busy exploring New York. Blaine sighed. It could have been worse, of course. He liked Kurt's friends – they were full of life, and vim, and vigor, but they weren't his friends. And he'd woken up early. Had he known that he'd miss the bus, he would have slept in the extra hour or two.

Most of the other students were sleeping. Quinn had fallen asleep with her head on Sam's chest, and Finn had laid himself out against an entire row of seats. Brittany's head was resting in Artie's lap. Mercedes was drooling on a window, and he was pretty certain that Santana was drooling on her. Even Kurt had fallen asleep, his head on Blaine's shoulder. Puck was still awake, nodding his head to whatever music was playing on his iPod, and Rachel was staring into a mirror, her lips moving soundlessly.

Blaine was looking out the window when it happened. He saw it, first. A dark cloud, rising above the trees. He frowned. The cloud rose, too quickly to be smoked, as if it were literally propelled upward, growing and blossoming as it rose. He shook his head. He knew that shape, had seen it in his history textbooks. . .

He opened his mouth to yell, a warning, a plea, a prayer, he didn't even know. He opened his mouth, but before any sound could escape that bus was in the air, and he was out of his seat. He crashed into the roof of the bus with a resounding crash, a crack, and a fiery pain in his arm. When the bus jerked again, his body hurtled toward the back, and when his arm collided with a seat, blackness descended.