A/N: Welcome everyone! CE Winters here, thanks so much for clicking into this story :) I thought I'd give a little bit more thorough of a summary than the other would allow before we launch into the story!

Rating: M - This is for language, mild to medium (teetering on high much later on) sexual material, as well as sensitive subject matter. Warning you exactly what that last one is would give it away, I'm sorry :)

Summary: This is a story of Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson, two boys stuck in Ohio where life is less than easy and Madam Justice isn't always so just. The fate of their relationship won't depend solely on gathering the courage needed to face their own feelings...that would be much too easy. Blaine must battle for Kurt's affections with a competent and experienced foe, not to mention the battles he has to wage for his own sake. Kurt must face a tough decision, with many factors weighing in. In the end, it isn't just about how he feels. There are much bigger and more dangerous powers at play.

This story strays from Glee canon after A Very Glee Christmas. From there on, some things will be the same but most will not be. I've talked enough, I'll let you get started!

Enjoy! :)


Kurt sat on his bed, drumming his nails softly against the chic covering. He was contemplating, because as much as he'd begun to hate being at McKinley, his time at Dalton hadn't been exactly what he'd expected. The boys there were kind to him and his days were blessedly death-threat free, but the private school lacked a little something that McKinley had never failed to provide. The teenage boy couldn't put his finger on the 'what' of it, but it was noticeably absent.

Dalton Academy was just so…rigid. Kurt supposed that was the reason that no bullying was able to take effect in the first place, but it certainly stifled the atmosphere. Democracy wasn't the right word for what went on in the New Directions, considering Mr. Schuester's god-awful penchant for making them sing Journey songs, but they were highly encouraged to sing out their feelings. Dalton was just that much different, that much more structured in the way they ran both the Warblers and the entire school. The only time Kurt had gotten the opportunity to sing anything on his own was when he was trying out for a solo part, and he'd been turned down. In retrospect, Kurt wondered if he had even stood a chance.

Don't try so hard next time, Blaine had said to him. Kurt understood that there was a hierarchy within the Warblers and he was the new guy; he couldn't jump to the front that quickly, everything took time. But he couldn't help but lament the fact that he'd gone to all that trouble just to be put at the back of the line again. His father and Carole had given up their honeymoon so that Kurt would be safe and comfortable in Dalton, and now he was having doubts if he belonged there. It was ridiculous enough to make him want to simply shake his head and laugh at his own reservations.

Of course he belonged there. Blaine was there, and he was happy about the transfer he'd made. It would just take time, Kurt told himself. At least he had Blaine to talk to now. He never thought that he would be able to find someone like that, someone so similar to him. Kurt could begin to feel his feelings toward Blaine grow even stronger, and he had to desperately try and stifle them. So far, it wasn't working. The confession he'd let slip to Mr. Schuester at Christmastime had been a telling weak point in his poor excuse for hastily set up romantic defenses. He couldn't mess this up, this perfect friendship that was forming. He needed to have Blaine there, always. If it was as a friend only...well, that was better than nothing.

Kurt reached into his drawer and pulled out the framed picture of Blaine that he kept there, with the word 'courage' cut out above it. He'd taken it home after he'd moved his things out of his locker at McKinley. He drew a slender finger across the Warbler's two-dimensional jawline and smiled to himself. His eyelids began to lower peacefully and he could feel the beginnings of a daydream coming on –

Only to be drawn abruptly out of his reverie by the sound of his door swinging open. Hastily, Kurt shoved the picture back into the drawer and slammed it shut before crossing his legs primly and turning toward the intruder.

"Oh, uh…I probably should have knocked," Finn said, looking uncomfortable and running a hand over his neck. "But I didn't see you tonight after dinner, and I was just wondering if something was wrong?"

Warm milk. He'd forgotten entirely. "Things are slipping my mind left and right," Kurt exclaimed, hopping to his feet. "Do you want me to –"

"No, Kurt its fine," Finn assured him, waving a hand in dismissal. He shoved his hands in his jean pockets and kicked at a scuff on the floor, silent for a few moments. "Those guys at Dalton aren't giving you a hard time, are they? I can go get Puck and Sam and Mike and we'll go over there and show them a piece of our minds."

"They're all lovely," Kurt answered quickly. "Perfectly mannered gentlemen, the lot of them." Too mannered, it would seem. "Though the sentiment is flattering."

"Well…good," Finn mumbled, looking up at the wall. "Because you were ours first, and we'll be the first ones to protect you if anything happens." The quarterback cleared his throat, still lingering at the door; Kurt began to get rightfully suspicious. "Anything else I should know about? Anything at all?"

Kurt raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow and crossed his hands on top of his knee. He turned his face to Finn with innocent sweetness and said: "Ah...you want to know if I have a boyfriend over there in gay Hogwarts?"

Finn looked appalled. "No, that wasn't – I mean, I never said that…"

"No, Finn, I don't have a boyfriend. You can go report back to dad and give him the all clear."

The football player looked properly abashed, his face was flushed from neck to forehead. He retreated with a mumbled good-night and Kurt sank back into his pillows with a sigh. He squeezed his eyes clothes and wished that his skin-care routine would magically get itself done so he didn't have to get up and do it himself. It was insane how much more tired you were after four hours of commute a day, broken up only by demanding classes followed immediately by demanding Warblers practice. He wished something would just make Dalton ruffle its feathers, Kurt decided, just once. That would be enough...

He woke to a ray of sun falling across his eyes: Saturday morning. That meant that he could lounge in bed for as long as he wanted, as he didn't have to make the commute to Dalton. Kurt laced his fingers behind his neck and crossed his ankles, relishing in the ability to do nothing for however long he wanted, until he heard a strange noise coming from his window. His light eyes drifted down to the windowsill, where he saw several pine cones hanging on as if they'd been thrown there.

Suspicion rising, Kurt crept over to the window itself, blanching when he saw who waited outside, two stories below. Hastily, he slid open the sliding glass and tried to calm his racing heartbeat as he observed Blaine's face widen in a smile. "What are you doing?" Kurt hissed, fruitlessly trying to comb his hair back into its usual order with just his hands.

"Can I come up?" The head Warbler asked, trying to keep his voice quiet. Kurt glanced at his wall clock, which read seven o'clock, and he had to stifle a moan. What he really wanted was to go back to sleep, but there was no way he was going to turn Blaine away.

He turned back toward the window shortly and nodded. "I'll come down and let you in through the kitchen."

"Nope, I've got it," Blaine answered quickly. Kurt didn't realize he had his guitar with him until the other boy slung it over his back and walked toward the trellis.

"No, Blaine, bad idea. I don't want to drive you to the hospital." The head Warbler grabbed onto the bottom rung. "They might have termites, you could hurt yourself." Blaine stepped onto the first rung, testing his weight. It held. "Okay, just let go, I'm going down to the kitchen. Just walk in like a normal person." When he turned away from the window and began to hurry to the door, the other boy was already making his way up the wooden ladder.

Kurt had just touched his door handle when he heard the floorboard behind him squeak. "I'm flattered you're so worried about me," Blaine said mischievously, laying a hand across his heart.

"Worried that you'll fall and break open that pretty little head of yours," Kurt defended himself, suddenly very aware that he was still in his silk pajamas. Blaine, on the other hand, appeared sinfully dapper in a soft looking sweater and a scarf falling loose about his neck, to fight back the winter's chill. "Anyways, care to explain why you're here in Lima at the crack of dawn? What Godforsaken time did you have to get up at to already be here?"

"Crack of dawn?" Blaine repeated with a laugh. "The day's practically half over, Kurt." He fiddled with a guitar for a moment, gaze cutting sideways. "But I, uh…wanted to tell you something, actually. About the solo thing –"

"Blaine, we really don't have to talk about that."

"But I really think we do. I hated seeing you so downtrodden, so crushed by what happened with Karofsky." Kurt visibly flinched at the name. "I just didn't want you to feel that uncertainty that I felt after I came; I wanted it all to be different for you."

"That's it?" Kurt asked, incredulously. "Blaine, I don't regret coming to Dalton, you know that. It's different, but...I'll get used to it."

"I know, but that's not all. I didn't want you to think that coming was a mistake, so I talked the council into giving you that try out. I knew they wouldn't let you in, but I did it anyway." The boy shrugged helplessly, his un-gelled curls bouncing slightly. "I couldn't see you leave so soon. You were the first person to come to Dalton who was like…well, like me. Someone who wasn't from some big tycoon family who could afford to send them there. Someone that was there for a real reason." His tongue flicked out briefly, wetting his bottom lip in a distracting fashion before he began to worry it with his teeth.

Kurt stood silent for a moment before allowing a smile to cross his face. "Well…thanks."

"For what?" Blaine asked softly, perfectly triangular eyebrows dipping slightly.

"For being the first person to fight for me before I had to fight for them." If it couldn't be attributed to that morning light which lit everything into strange relief, Kurt would have sworn that he saw a faint pinkness take up residence in Blaine's cheeks. "So, what's the guitar for?"

"Ah, right," Blaine intoned, gratefully jumping to the new subject. He grinned widely, revealing his perfect teeth. "We have a date to make." It was no trick of the morning light when Kurt's face lit up like the fourth of July. "Come on, go get dressed. We can't be late."