"Mercedes, if you are lying to me, I will never trust you again."

Kurt Hummel clenched his phone as tightly to his ear as was humanly possible as he strode into 'Hummel Tires and Lube'. He'd already stopped by the new house, greeted Carole and Finn, been swept up into a wardrobe wrinkling but nonetheless welcome hug from Finn, and he was just getting out of the car to see his dad at work when he'd gotten a call from Mercedes.

With the most wonderful news.

"Kurt, you know I wouldn't lie to you. It was on Ben Israel's blog last night, and you know it's on when he posts anything that's not about Rachel. I checked today, just to be sure, and it's legit."

"You have no idea how happy you just made me!" Kurt squealed, walking through the door. His father looked up, pleasant confusion written all over his face. Kurt smiled at his father as he draped his bag over the back of the nearest chair, "Okay, I'm in Dad's shop. I have to go, but I promise I'll talk to you tonight after dinner."

Kurt half-ignored Mercedes customary, "See you, white boy," before snapping his phone shut and rushing over to his father.

"Dad, you're never going to guess what's happened!" Kurt bounced lightly on his heels as he waited for his father to finish with the oil he was currently changing.

"I'm guessing it's good, from the way you came bouncing in here," Burt chuckled, checking the engine one last time before coming up for air. He wasn't even fully clear of the car before his son was bouncing and grabbing his arm. "Was that somebody at Dalton? B-Blaine, that's his name, right?"

"No, Dad. I mean, yeah, it's Blaine, but he wasn't the one I was on the phone with. Mercedes just called. Karofsky's gone!" Kurt laughed, dancing in some strange pattern that, for once, wasn't choreographed by a bottle blonde pop star. Burt looked past his son, instinctively searching the room for someone watching who might hurt Kurt. He hated having to do that, but if it keeps Kurt safe…

Nope, it was just him and Brad. The other mechanic was leaning over the hood of the cherry red Cadillac he was currently fixing to stare at Kurt. "So," He asked, clearing his throat, "That some new version of Bieber?"

"Karofsky?" Kurt stopped, turning to explain, "No, unless Justin Bieber suddenly gained 50 pounds and transferred to Mckinley to make my life a living hell."

"Good," Brad said, "I hate that kid. Looks and sounds like a 12 year old girl…" He had just started a very good imitation of Bieber singing "One Less Lonely Girl" before he noticed the vicious glare Burt Hummel was sending his way, "No offense."

Kurt seemed too happy to care, however, and simply glided around the room with an offhand, "None taken."

"Karofsky's some punk who's been bullying Kurt," Burt explained, "And what do you mean he's gone?" He didn't want to encourage Kurt gloating over the kid's death or anything, even if David Karofsky was on his bad list.

"Got expelled," Kurt said; his eyes bright with excitement. "He got expelled and now he'll have to stay off Mckinley property forever! I can come see Rachel and Mercedes and Tina and Quinn whenever I want without that Neanderthal breathing down my neck ever again. Oh, I could sing!" And Kurt did, launching into that Broadway song he'd flubbed up for him in glee club last year. Burt grinned, listening as his kid hit the high note with enough gusto to blow the roof of the place. Take that, Rachel Berry.

"I'm happy for you, Kurt. But how'd the kid get expelled?" After all, if threatening to kill another kid wasn't enough…

"Oh," Kurt waved his hand dismissively as he jumped down from his dad's desk. "That idiot punched a teacher. I mean, true, Mrs. Groomsman is a homophobic harpy, but he hit her in plain sight of Mr. Schue and like, three other teachers. Can you believe how stupid he is?" Kurt let out one last laugh before pulling his phone out of his pocket. "Can I invite the girls over to celebrate?"

"Sure, kid." Burt grunted, turning to the next car, "Just make sure the party's over by eight. Family dinner."

"Yes, sir," Kurt chirped, fingers already whizzing out the perfect text invitation.

...

"I mean, can you believe it? I haven't been this happy since… well, crap, I can't remember ever being this happy," Kurt beamed from ear to ear, one ear straining to truly appreciate the magic that was Gavin Mikhail radiating from his computer speaker, the other listening for Blaine's response.

He could hear Blaine laughing at him from the other end of the line, and reveled in the butterflies the sound sent around his stomach. Not even possibly unrequited love could ruin this day for him.

"That's great, Kurt. Are you going to be transferring back to Mckinley, then?" Kurt was sure the slight tremor in Blaine's tone was only his imagination.

"No," That sigh of relief was, again, only imagination, "I don't want to waste the tuition money Dad and Carole so generously donated, and besides, I would miss you guys too much. I mean, how could I live without seeing Wes bang his gavel against David's head one more time?"

"It's true," Blaine giggled (no, it was a perfectly normal, friendly laugh, not at all flirty, bad Kurt's imagination), "Wes is just a bit too attached to that thing."

"Yeah," Kurt sighed, "You should have seen the mess I made, giving Tina and Rachel facials this afternoon. Quinn and Mercedes managed pretty well on their own, but Rachel is obviously hopeless, and Tina said she kept up on the condensed moisturizing routine I wrote out for her, but pores don't lie."

"Kurt, I have a confession to make," Blaine said, suddenly serious. Kurt felt his heart skip a beat.

"What could that be?" Kurt asked.

"My pores are hopeless," Blaine said mournfully.

"Oh," Kurt said, "Well, then, I'll simply have to give you the full Kurt Hummel treatment when I get back." That was okay, right? Not to flirty. Oh, no, it was too flirty. But no, Blaine was laughing.

"You simply shall, I'm afraid," Blaine said.

Kurt smiled, reaching over to his computer as "Raise Your Glass" ended to push replay, until his eyes grazed over the time. "Oh, crap. Blaine, I have to go. Dinner starts in ten minutes, and I have to be ready."

"Okay," Blaine said immediately, "Bye, Kurt."

"Bye, Blaine," Kurt said, fighting the smile as he ended the call. He set the phone on the edge of the bed as he scrambled to change his shirt. The white t-shirt he wore to avoid getting cucumber paste on his more expensive pieces simply wouldn't do for a night out with the family.

His phone rang as he was reaching for his closet. The t-shirt dropped to the hamper as he reached for the phone. Maybe Blaine was calling back about something? A brief fantasy of Blaine's voice saying, 'By the way, Kurt, I'm in love with you. Forgot to mention it,' passed through Kurt's mind and disappeared as soon as he saw the words 'unknown number' flash across the screen.

"Hello?" He asked, pressing the phone to his ear.

"You look great without a shirt on…"

"What?" Kurt asked, his pulse quickening. He recognized the voice on the other end of the line, but couldn't quite place it. The words were said softly, almost sweetly aside from their meaning.

"You look beautiful like that." Kurt wasn't sure what he was talking about, but the voice answered his silent question. "Against the white in your room. You look awesome. I'm not sure how you fit all of the furniture from your basement into the new room, but it's really a great… combination."

Kurt nodded aimlessly, before remembering he was on the phone. "Yeah, thanks." He reached behind him, for the door. He wanted his dad.

"I wouldn't do that, if I were you." The voice was suddenly dark, almost angry, and with a jolt of ice through his veins, Kurt realized who it belonged to.

"Karofsky?" He breathed against the speaker. Scanning his room with terrified eyes. The chuckle in his ear confirmed his fears.

"Hello, Kurt."