It's odd, Blaine thinks to himself, staring into the new locker at McKinley he'd found himself with just a few hours ago and already hated because it smelled faintly like a mix of body odor and cherry Jolly Ranchers. He shudders as he can only begin to think about who the previous owner of this locker must've been. The feeling of being back in a public school, where girls roamed wildly gossiping about which one of them was pregnant, and jocks shoved nerds into lockers, and teachers sat back and watched all of it – he's almost forgotten what it was like. Almost.

Leaving Dalton was one of the most bittersweet experiences he'd ever gone through. Because this was a place that he'd found himself, and tried to put himself together into the person he'd always wanted to be. Hell, he'd come so close to succeeding that it almost stopped him from leaving. To leave Dalton was to leave his security ring, his friends, his own personal comfort zone.

But as he came close to turning down the question of transferring to McKinley, he finally understood that by doing so, he'd never get to be that guy – the one he'd wanted to be. The one who wasn't afraid to take chances, or be a little risky. Plus, it didn't hurt that he thought Kurt might've needed an ally to go back and face his old demons with. Blaine might not have dealt well with bullies in his past, but at least he wouldn't be alone this time around.

"So are you trying to find the secret passage to another dimension, or is there another reason you have your head shoved in your locker?" Blaine grins to himself, pulling his head out of his locker a little too quickly and in effect, whacking his head on the side of it with a predictable bang. As he clutches onto the side of his forehead, still smiling painfully, Kurt winces back at him, sending him a sympathetic smile before starting to laugh. "Just wanted to warn you that Rachel is on the prowl for you, so you actually might want to keep looking in that locker. Figured maybe you could save yourself from her speech on why you're going to have to replace Finn as the male lead at Nationals has nothing to do with her secretly having a trunk full of voodoo dolls made to his likeness with needles jammed in their hearts and other unmentionable places…" With a characteristic huff, Kurt flips his hair a bit before shaking his head amusedly.

Blaine's cheeks are starting to hurt from the fact that he's grinning so hard. He laughs again, grabbing a book out and closing the locker behind him. Kurt's leaning against the locker next to him, a large textbook pressed against his chest, and Blaine thinks that if this isn't a scene right out of Boy Meets World or Full House or whatever other clichéd yet amazing 90s teen drama he used watch and pretend to hate with his sister, he's not sure what is.

"And what exactly is her reasoning?"

Kurt shrugs, looking a tad uninterested, which makes Blaine wonder how many times he's seen Rachel go through one of her dramatic scenes like this. "Something about your height and your hair contrast to her more than Finn did, which allows her to truly accentuate her true star capabilities all while the two of you stay together as uniform couple…"

"My hair?" Blaine chuckles, running a hand through his hair and tugging at one of the wayward curls that's in his face.

"Sure as hell makes me glad that I'm not a brunette, that's for sure…" Kurt mutters, looking away. "But if she shows up, I promise I'll lock you in your secret portal and tell her you were abducted by aliens and won't be returned until after Nationals..." He motions to Blaine's locker, and at this point, all attempts at trying to not laugh at Kurt's serious face fail, because Blaine's fucking giggling like a twelve year-old school girl, and Kurt's just smiling and shaking his head at him.

It's definitely too good to be true.

At first, all Blaine can hear is his own laughter, but the noise cuts through it like a knife, and there's just silence. He looks up after the wolf whistle dissipates through the hallway, feeling Kurt immediately go tense next to him. Across the way is Azimio and what Blaine has quickly come to know as the rest of the football team. In fact, they made sure he knew who they were by throwing him in the dumpster on his first day here.

But when he looks at Azimio, he notices that his eyes aren't on Blaine, and that's when Blaine feels the sensation of his blood running cold. Kurt's standing stiff beside him, and if it was possible, Blaine could feel him trying not to shake.

"Wooohooo, Ladyluscious. You just know how to make yourself stand out in crowd. You must love exciting Karofsky like this… wait till he sees you."

Blaine licks at his lips, trying to piece together something that he can say in Kurt's defense. But his brain feels like it's in shambles, the pieces of the puzzle not fitting together correctly. Just like that, Azimio and the others are gone, laughing as they stomp down the halls. When Blaine finally turns to face Kurt, who's leaning heavily against the lockers, he finally understands. Kurt, whose eccentric fashion sense has always entertained him as well as made him wonder where the hell he got all that money, was currently wearing a draped white shirt that reminded Blaine of something out of Flashdance with the fact that his entire collarbone and both shoulders were bare, and what had to be the tightest pair of leather pants in the history of all time with lace-up knee high combat boots.

Kurt sighed, eventually pushing himself off the locker and sending Blaine a weak smile. It's extremely unconvincing, and there's something behind it that makes Blaine's heart hurt. "Are you okay?" he asks quietly, reaching out and wrapping his fingers loosely around Kurt's elbow. With just a stiff nod, Kurt starts to walk to class, pulling Blaine along with him, and that's enough of an answer for him to realize that he's nowhere near okay.

By the time he meets up with Kurt again, the day's already over and Kurt's smiling again, acting as if nothing had happened earlier. He's talking rapidly about how during his modern American history class, Finn had answered that James Dean was the inventor of breakfast meat.

There's a pause, and usually Blaine would be laughing at something like this, but he can't. Because he knows that underneath all that nonchalance and humor and everything else Kurt is putting forward is how Kurt is actually feeling.

"How are you? You know, after this morning?"

The smile slips off of the other boy's lips and he quickly averts his eyes from Blaine's, looking anywhere else in the hall but at them. "You mean the usual stuff? Blaine, it's fine. After almost three whole years of dealing with this, I think I can handle it. And today was all in the name of fashion, so there's no loss there…"

Blaine sighs, his hand resting softly on the lock of his locker. He's only known Kurt Hummel for a few months, and yet he knows how Kurt manages to deflect all and every bit of tension or stress off of him with a simple comment. Here Blaine's trying to ask him about how he feels in the face of his tormentors, and Kurt says it's not a big deal because it's all in the name of fashion?

"Will you stop worrying?" Kurt mutters before pointing to his head. "You're getting that little wrinkled forehead thing going on that happens whenever you think too much."

"I'm just… I worry about you with everything that goes on here. After everything you've been through here already, combined with the fact…"

The fact you don't really know anything about sex, the fact you dress like you do know, the fact that you're way too trusting of people, the fact that I can't protect you as much as I want too and I should… He can feel the words on his lips, but he holds them back as he notices the way Kurt's watching him intently. A step too far, and he could upset Kurt.

"What's 'the fact'?" Kurt was on the verge of glaring at him, his arms crossed tightly against his chest.

Running a hand through his hair, Blaine took a deep breath, "Look, Kurt, I'm just worried. I wouldn't want to see someone try to take advantage of you."

With a terse laugh, Kurt waved his hand. "I can take care of myself Blaine. Like I said, I've been doing it for years. Long before you waltzed into the mess I've recently come to refer to as my life, and if there's one thing I'm not going to sacrifice, it's the way I dress…" Blaine opens his mouth to say something in response, but Kurt shoots him a look nothing short of shut the hell up. "Let's go. We have rehearsal, which will definitely take your mind off of everything…"

Grumbling, Blaine lets Kurt wrap an arm around his shoulders and pull him towards the chorus room. Ever since Blaine had learned Kurt's fears and lack of knowledge about sex, Blaine couldn't help but feel like he needed to be with Kurt and protect him like he should. Considering that Kurt wasn't really aware of the messages he was sending out, nor was he really aware of how to handle any of the aftermath that was associated with them. It made him such an easy target. He was like eye candy that would have no chance of fighting back.

And no matter how much Blaine wanted to be the one to fight for him, he realized it wasn't his place to do so anymore. He had made it very clear that him and Kurt were only friends, and nothing more than that. There's certain boundaries that lie in the position of friendship, and Blaine knows that by going too far with this white knight act, he's going to overstep them.

"Oh shit, I forgot my music folder. I'll be right back. Save me a seat, okay?" By the time it registers with Blaine that Kurt had been talking to him, pulling him out of his thoughts, Kurt's gone and he's standing in the doorway of the chorus room, half of New Directions staring at him. He splutters a few syllables out before turning out the door and walking out. His head feels like it's in a fog as he wanders down the hallway towards Kurt's locker, like he can't see straight because everything else is blocking him from doing so.

As he's about to turn the corner of the completely empty hallway, he notices that all he can hear is hushed whispering.

"Stop that…"

"I've already apologized seven times. Why won't you forgive me?"

"Because it's not exactly easy to forgive someone for threatening to kill you… besides, what do you want from me?"

"From you? I don't want anything from you… I just want you. I got kicked off the football team for coming out because I was deemed a threat to my teammates, and now you're telling me it was all for nothing?"


Blaine's pretty sure that at that moment, his heart has stopped completely. He's not sure if it's from the fact that Kurt's currently fraternizing with Dave Karofsky, or that he's not there to stop it all, or that Kurt just referred to him as… as Dave. Like he might actually care about him or what he says. With just a step, Blaine peeks his head around the corner, even though he knows that he should be storming around the corner, jabbing Dave Karofsky in the chest, and sweeping Kurt in his arms like the hero he should be. Or something like that.

But he can't move. No matter how much he wants to bolt from his current position and leave and just stop everything that's unfolding in front of his eyes, he just can't. Kurt's backed up against a locker, but he doesn't actually look scared. He just looks… tired, his head tucked down onto his chest. Karofsky is standing in front of him, sans letterman jacket, his hand sweeping softly over Kurt's bare shoulder. With every touch, Blaine could see Kurt flinch subtly. And the longer that Blaine stands there, his mouth going dry and wondering what the fuck, why can't he just get over himself and be a real man and stop this, he sees Finn storming down the hallway. With his hands flying about, words to match thrown at Dave Karofsky, shoving his body into a locker and placing his own in front of his stepbrother's protectively.

It's strange, Blaine thinks to himself. Here's Finn Hudson, who Kurt's had the most tumultuous relationship with, but he still emerges as the ever steadfast hero to Kurt. And Blaine, who wants to be in that role so badly, can't even make an appearance.

Blaine's pretty sure that socializing with the enemy is the number one rule to never be broken in New Directions' rulebook, but then again, if they accepted him, they'd have to accept Jesse St. James again. Especially considering that he had graduated. Rachel and he had gotten back together after Jesse had dropped out halfway through his first semester at UCLA and volunteered his time to work with Vocal Adrenaline to make sure that were at the standard they had once been at.

So when Kurt, Rachel, Mercedes and himself found themselves at a party thrown by Vocal Adrenaline and some other members of the Carmel High School theater groups as well as some of Jesse's other friend's from the local musical theater groups, Blaine can't help but feel a little off. He's already mentioned this to Kurt, who's thrilled at the fact that a guy is trying to sweep Mercedes off her feet.

"Relax," Kurt muttered, handing him a can of beer. "Maybe it's from the fact you insist on mixing clothes from the Gap with American Apparel, which I know would definitely leave me feeling more than just a little off…" Blaine smiles a bit, pushing the can away from him with a small shake of his head. Kurt shrugs before popping the top of his himself.

Now that was a sight to see if there ever was one. Kurt Hummel, dressed in motorcycle jacket with more zippers than Blaine could count over a white oxford with what looked like a leather harness strapped across his chest, was drinking a beer. He was like a leather wrapped conundrum.

"Why do you always insist on making fun of my clothes? I don't say anything about yours…" Blaine teased, tugging at one of the straps of leather that was braced across Kurt's chest.

"Because… you have such potential and -" Kurt trailed off as what looked like a David Beckham knockoff started to approach them, a smug grin on his face as he broke off from heading towards them and simply started heading towards Kurt. Blaine looked over at the smaller boy, who was now smiling pensively at this mystery man. Now within only about three feet of them, Kurt leaned over just a bit to add in "And clearly people appreciate how I dress…" With that, David Beckham's clone grabbed onto Kurt's hand and smiled at him, nodding over to an empty couch across the room.

As Blaine watched to two of them walk away, half-wondering if this was an okay time to throw a hissy fit and throw Kurt over his shoulder like a caveman, claiming his territory, he couldn't help but think maybe he should start saying things about Kurt's clothes. If he did, maybe Kurt would stop dressing like that, and maybe he'd stop attracting so much unwanted attention, and maybe…

And maybe it'd help Kurt realize that Blaine had made a huge mistake by telling him that he'd only wanted to stay friends.

After the twelfth girl of the night approaches him to ask if they could get him a drink or maybe something more, he politely declines and steps away from the wall where he's been leaning for what feels like forever, but probably has only been a little more than forty-five minutes. He feels nauseous and like his head is going to explode, but he's pretty sure that it doesn't have anything to do with the party around him.

With a sigh, he taps Rachel on the shoulder as he leans down over the couch she and Jesse are currently huddled together on. She jumps slightly, before clasping a hand over her chest and smiling at him. Pushing some hair behind her ear, she smiles faintly at him. "Blaine! You terrified me. I was so sure you would be with Kurt all night that I wasn't expecting to see you at all. What's wrong?"

Ignoring the insinuation behind her comment, Blaine shrugs. "I was wondering if you know where Kurt is. I'm not feeling that great and kind of want to go home. He drove me here…"

Rachel's expression is replaced by one of confusion as she seperates herself of Jesse, who sits up as well. "But I thought he's with you… This doesn't make any sense at all."

Jesse places a hand onto her shoulder, stopping her from getting up. "Rach, relax. He's fine. I saw him head upstairs a little while ago with Damien."

Blaine freezes at that. "Damien? Who's that? Does he – he look like David Beckham?" As Jesse starts to nod, mentioning how everything is fine and Damien's a great guy, Blaine's feet are flying, pulling him upstairs before he even realizes what he's doing. Rachel and Jesse are calling out his name like some half-hearted plea. But all he can picture is that something is going to happen, and this time. This time, he's going to stop it.

Through slamming doors open and interrupting hot and heavy make-out sessions, he can only wonder deep down if maybe he's too late. If he's failed once more.

But at the last door, he came to notice that he certainly hasn't, as he slammed the door open bouncing it off the wall with bang that went unnoticed. On the bed across the room, a figure highly resembled Kurt was pressed on his back, a hulking Damien straddling his hips. With one hand gripping both of his wrist while the other was dropping down onto the button of his pants, fingering and dipping below the waistline.

"Tell me you want it…"

"I'm not going to lie to you, loser… I don't fucking want it and I never said I did…"

"That's not what your clothes were screaming at me from across the room. So either give it up or shut up…"

"My clothes…?"

With a lunge, Damien leaned down and tried to capture Kurt's lips in his own, but Kurt whipped his head as far to the left as possible in a desperate attempt to get away from the kiss, pressing his lips together in a firm line and burying his face into his shoulder. His legs started to kick frantically underneath Damien's body, trying to gain some form of leverage to push himself out.

It took a moment for Blaine to shake himself out from being frozen in distress, but from where he was standing, he could see the fear etched across Kurt's face once again. And this time, there was no Finn Hudson to come to his rescue. This time, it was only Blaine. And Blaine couldn't let anything happen.

"Hey! Get the hell away from him!" he yelled, running across the room and grabbing Damien around the waist, pulling him off a now terrified Kurt. Feeling strangely heroic, which in turn led to a lack of thinking through his actions, Blaine's fist was flying through the air before he even knew it, colliding with Damien's face.

Damien let out a cry of pain, clutching at his nose, As Blaine pulled his hand away, it now covered in blood, he prepared to go at it again, doing whatever he had to to show this loser that Kurt wasn't some cheap lay or a quick fuck. Kurt was so much more than that, and Blaine couldn't believe that it had taken something like this, even through everything the two of them have been through together, to realize that he's fallen for Kurt.

He should've seen it coming but he was too high on the exhilaration from landing a punch on this guy to be able to duck from the hand flying at his mouth. Warm liquid bubbled down onto his chin from the split lip, the dull throbbing pain spreading throughout his jaw line. By now, Damien was standing up, fists clenched by his side as he started to walk closer to Blaine. But a hand grabbed onto Blaine's, pulling him out of the room and down the stairs, out into the yard and into Kurt's nearby car.

The car was quickly started and moving down the street before Kurt even said a word to him. A handful of tissue was pressed into Blaine's hand as Kurt said softly "This should stop the bleeding for now. I'll get you cleaned up as soon as we get to my house."

Blaine tried to say thank you, but it only came out as a strangled mumble because of the fact that his lip had now swollen to twice the size – puffy, painful, and hot. The fact that Kurt's more worried about him than the fact that he was just manhandled by DOUCHEBAG's poster child of the month scares Blaine. But that's Kurt. He pulls everything inside and doesn't let his feelings show – doesn't let them out.

The Hudson-Hummel residence was empty and dark when they pull up to it, and Kurt gets out of his car, slowly followed by Blaine who's still pressing the now blood-soaked tissue against his mouth. As soon as he stepped into the kitchen, and Kurt's pushing him down into a chair, grabbing a frozen bag of corn out of the freezer, he saw the dark bruises littered along Kurt's neck under his jacket collar. Few of them are circular shaped, while one was long, resembling a hand. As the icy pack was pressed up against his mouth, a shiver runs down his back, but he knew it wasn't from the cold; it was from the thought of what would've happened if he hadn't walked in when he did.

They sit like that in silence for a while; Kurt kneeling on the ground in front of him and looking at the ground, while Blaine watched him and tried to think of something comforting to say without being condescending.

"Thank you," Kurt eventually muttered, shifting the bag a little. "I didn't – I wasn't expecting – I never…" From the look in Kurt's eyes, he was scared and heartbroken and sad and everything beyond words could describe. But Blaine knows that he'd never say how he felt, because he was too proud for that. He thinks no one would listen. He thinks no one would care.

Slowly, Blaine grabbed onto Kurt's hand, now cold from holding onto the frozen veggies. Encircling it in his own, his fingers pressed up against his wrist, his thumb felt Kurt's frantic heartbeat racing under his fingertips. For the first time, Blaine had the assurance of Kurt's fear from this whole evening. He was scared shitless underneath all that calm and collection. He dropped the bag onto the table with a thud, and despite the still aching pain in his mouth, he reached forward and took Kurt's face in his hands, cupping his cheeks before kissing him.

Kurt let out a noise of disbelief, his hands pressed firmly against Blaine's shoulders, pushing in away and pulling him closer in a singular movement. With a strange, almost growling noise, Kurt finally pushed him away. "Why are you doing this to me? What about 'only wanting to be friends'?"

Smiling softly, Blaine ran a tongue over his bruised lip, before looking up at Kurt. "I guess… I guess I kind of want to be more than friends. I'm sorry it took me this long to realize it, but there's a part of me that's known it all along… I just didn't want to admit it."

Kurt froze, looking exhausted and hurt and sad, but much better for someone who was practically held down and mauled only little while ago. But there was something bright shining in his eyes that Blaine hadn't seen in such a long time, and it made his heart jump a little in his chest. His fingers tighten around Kurt's wrist once more, and with a smile, he pulled Kurt in once again for more.