This fic is coauthored by the fabulous acerulean!

This fic is based on CP Coulter's Dalton. We do not own Glee or any of these characters.

Chapter 1: The First Infection

A fist rapped lightly on the door of Windsor house, sending echoes through the dark common room to the brightly lit kitchen where a cluster of boys sat.

"Who would be visiting at this time?"

"No clue." Wes said absentmindedly as he reached for a cookie on the tray Kurt had just removed from the oven.

Kurt swatted away his hand, "Not yet. Once I start letting you guys at these they're gone in two seconds. At least wait until the second batch is done." Wes slumped in his chair, grumbling incoherently and giving him stomach a dramatic rub.

Another boy entered the kitchen, a broad grin settled comfortably on his face as he glided across the floor in a rather dapper fashion, "Cookies? Sweet!" He slid up to Kurt to give him an affectionate peck on the cheek before grabbing a pastry.

"No fair!" shouts erupted from the other boys in the kitchen.

"We aren't allowed to eat those yet!" Shane cried looking with wide eyed envy at the coveted treat in his brother's hand.

Blaine smiled surreptitiously, "Well, as boyfriend of the chef I get special privileges." He snaked an arm around Kurt's waist and settled into his side.

Kurt smirked at the incredulous faces around the room and then at the boy whose warm, strong arm fit so perfectly around him. "True," he smiled, "but you probably don't want to eat that yet. You'll burn your tongue."

"Well we wouldn't want that now would we?" Blaine winked at Kurt and softly nudged the boy's nose with own as tired groans filled the kitchen.

"Get a room!" Wes hollered.

Any further exclamations were interrupted by more knocking.

David looked up from the newspaper he was reading in the corner, "Someone should probably get that."

"I will!" Reed bolted up from his chair. He didn't get more than two steps before tripping over Shane's feet. The dancer caught him gracefully and set him back on the chair.

"I think you're going to stay right here with me." Shane grinned at Reed, mentally noting that he looked like a cherub disoriented by his fall from the heavens, as the boy glanced up at him appreciatively through his disheveled strawberry blonde curls.

Before anyone else could make an effort to reach the door, two pairs of feet were heard racing down the stairs at a breakneck pace. The boys in the kitchen listened as the door opened with a creak. "Talking flowers!" The Tweedle's voices resounded though Windsor. "Kurt you have visitors!"

Kurt set down the mixing bowl from which he had been spooning more batter onto a sheet and poked his head out of the kitchen door. "What?"

"Talking Flowers, Talking Flowers, Talking Flowers!" the Tweedles chanted.

"Mercedes!" Kurt exclaimed noticing his best friend from McKinley smiling at him from the doorway. He hurried toward them excitedly, embracing the girl that he hadn't seen in far too long.

"Oh my gosh, you brought the whole club!" he laughed peering into the dark and seeing the rest of New Directions smiling back at him. "Come in, come in!" He greeted each member of his old choir with a hug (and even managed not to roll his eyes at Puck's fist-bump and subsequent possible gang sign) as they trickled into the common room. He greeted Mr. Shuster last hugging the choir director fondly.

"It's so good to see you Kurt."

"You too, Mr. Schue. It's so great to see all of you." He gazed at the familiar faces around him while his excited hands attempted to straighten his fabulous, well-fitted sweater that had gotten rumpled during the enthusiastic welcome, "So what, may I ask, inspired this impromptu visit?"

"Mr. Schue arranged for us to see a concert, you know, to do some observational research—" Rachel Berry began on cue.

"And when we realized our way back to Lima passed by Dalton we thought we'd stop by." Mercedes finished for her.

"A concert for a choir field trip?" Kurt arched one of his perfectly sculpted eyebrows in question.

"Ever since Sue got fired, the glee club's been the grateful recipient of her budget," Will answered in his endearingly matter-of-fact way, "so I thought why not take advantage of it and go do something fun as a choir."

The kitchen door swung open again and Blaine stepped out, eyes still on the clustered boys behind the door as he said, "Hey Kurt, I put the next batch of cookies in the—whoa New Directions!" A surprised smile lit up his face as he turned around to see McKinley's glee club. "Hey, really great to see you." He gave Rachel a hug and waved at Mercedes. "We were just making some cookies if you guys want some." He glanced at Kurt who nodded in approval.

"Come into the kitchen!" Kurt urged, grabbing the hands of the girls closest to him and leading them through the door at the other side of the room.

There were a few moments of confusion as the new comers and the boys in the kitchen greeted each other warmly. Exclamations of excitement filled the kitchen as Kurt began to pass out still-warm cookies, but soon all the highschoolers were settled around the room, treats in hand.

The kitchen was far too small for this gathering. Nearly every surface was being used as a seat, but the students were too filled with post-concert thrill and excitement at seeing friendly faces to be uncomfortable. Reed and Mercedes were conversing eagerly about a new fashion spread that had been released that week. Mike reintroduced himself to Shane, complimenting his moves from when they had danced together at the fair. Chaz looked amused and slightly annoyed as an excited Rachel Berry began to ramble about the solos she had scheduled herself to perform for nationals. Wes, David, Puck, Sam, and Artie began an intense debate about their favorite soccer teams, and the Twins were entertaining the rest of the talking flowers with wacky, outrageous jokes (demoniacal, Dwight would admonish) that could only possibly come from minds like theirs.

"I'm really glad you're doing well here, Kurt." Mr. Schuster said as he turned toward his former student, leaning on the counter as he contentedly chewed his cookie. "We miss you at McKinley, but it's nice to see you so happy."

Blaine squeezed his boyfriend's hand, signaling his wholehearted agreement with Mr. Schue. He could still remember the look of hurt and fear in those beautiful blue eyes the first time Kurt had told him about the bullying at McKinley, and that entire nightmare with Karofsky. It made his chest tighten to recall Kurt's heart wrenching confession that that…horrible person had been his first kiss. All too clear recollections of the melancholy air that oppressed Kurt in those days before his transfer to Dalton lingered in the recesses of Blaine's memory– and they wouldn't let Blaine forget how alone and imperfect he himself had felt before they had met. Moving toward Kurt was like moving towards firm ground and safety and chaos all at once. Though they were still young, it was like he'd been waiting forever for someone to make him right. And Blaine knew Kurt had felt the same.

Blaine broke out of his reverie as he heard a loud thump on a nearby table. Puck swore loudly as Sam declared his victory in an intense bout of arm wrestling and Lauren laughed loudly at her boyfriend's sad defeat. Blaine smirked at the scene before looking back at Kurt, and reminding himself that those painful days were over now. They were together, and it made him exceedingly happy to think that maybe he had contributed just the tiniest bit to Kurt's contentment.

"Sorry to steal away your only countertenor," Blaine chuckled as Mr. Schuester turned back to he and Kurt after admonishing Puck for inappropriate language, "but I don't think we'll be giving him back anytime soon."

Mr. Schue laughed goodheartedly, "Well, I guess I can't win them all. However, I have been thinking, and maybe I should talk to your directors about this, I've heard many enthusiastic recounts of your little joint number at the fair. I was thinking that maybe the Warblers and New Directions should do a concert together! Both groups have very different styles, but I'm sure we could learn a lot from each other."

Kurt smiled to himself. Mr. Schuster's ideas were always about learning something. It warmed his heart to think of his old glee family buddying up with his new one. Transitioning to an entirely new world and way of living had been difficult without his closest friends from glee, but he'd met so many important people here— including perhaps the most important person. Kurt affectionately reached his hand out to fix a stray curl that had bounced from its gelled restraints near Blaine's ear as the boy began to express his excited approval of the idea. Before he could fully voice his agreement, Blaine was cut short by the rather loud entrance of another boy.

Dwight raced in, a large butterfly net held aloft. His quick, perceptive eyes were focused on the small ball of yellow feathers that had flown in before him.

"White Knight!" the Tweedles greeted him from behind Brittany, who was perched on both of their laps, "we have guests! Be a good boy and come say hi!"

Dwight was deaf to their words. He had no time for them right now. He was preoccupied with something far more important, something that could change the course of every single life in this room, and possibly every life beyond. His eyes followed Pav intently as the bird flew in an unusual ragged pattern towards the ceiling, its wings beating jerkily. A few pale yellow feathers fell from his wings and drifted ominously onto the tiled floor.

Kurt proffered a cookie with a graceful wave of his hand but the hunter ignored him, still fixated on the avian creature. After years of research and work in the field, Dwight had developed acute senses of detection. Nothing supernatural or sub-natural escaped his notice. Sure, some of the Windsor boys doubted the accuracy of his diagnoses, but Dwight was confident that he had rescued them from innumerable terrors. And right now his senses were going crazy- something was very, very wrong with their cherished mascot. Was he cursed? Had he contracted a virus? All Dwight knew was there was something very unnatural about the little, now not-so-bright yellow bird.

Wes noticed the object of Dwight's attention, "How did Pav get out again?"

Frustrated groans arose from many of the Windsor boys. Not again.

The New Directions looked at the Windsor boys in confusion, but their questions were waved away and they were given an unspoken assurance that things would be explained later. The room fell silent as the Windsors tensed their muscles, ready to spring if the bird came within reach.

Suddenly Pav dived, a tuft of flurried fuzz and feathers zooming toward the tiled floor of the kitchen with unnatural aggression. The Twins rocketed upward (upsetting a still blissfully unaware Brittany in the process), hands outstretched, as at the same time Reed jumped up. The three boy's collided, effectively blocking Dwight from capturing the bird. Kurt watched Pav swoop toward him and stood still, hoping the bird would alight on his shoulder (displeased as he was to sacrifice the well-being of his new sweater, he'd about had it with this silly bird capturing business). He instead saw a quick flash of yellow dart past him to Mr. Schuester's shoulder, but Pav didn't land. Instead he flapped its way back up to the ceiling and remained inauspiciously suspended in the darkest corner of the room.

A few seconds too late, Dwight sprung towards Kurt, swinging his net violently like a sword. Kurt stumbled back and bumped one of the knobs on the stove, causing one of the burners to erupt in a ring of flame. Pav took this chance to make his escape. Like a little yellow bullet racing towards its target, the bird flew straight into the common room the disgruntled hunter rushing after him.

"What the hell was that?" Puck's exclamation summed up the McKinley crowd's confusion.

"A phoenix." Brittany replied matter-of-factly before recommencing her cookie eating from her new place on the floor.

As the Tweedles took it upon themselves to explain (in a way that involved a lot of hand gestures and invented adjectives, and made the whole situation more confusing rather than less) Kurt noticed the pained expression on his ex-choir director's face. "Are you alright Mr. Schue?"

"I just feel a little dizzy." The teacher rubbed the side of his neck and attempted to smile good naturedly, "I feel like I'm getting a head ache, but I'm probably just a bit tired."

"Why don't you rest before you hit the road again?" Blaine offered, worried by the teacher's sickly pallor which he didn't remember being present moments before.

"Thanks Blaine…I think I will."

A few of the New Directions members looked up in concern as Blaine escorted Will Schuster out of the kitchen, but their director somewhat assuaged their anxiety with a half-hearted explanation and a joke about being too old for their crazy shenanigans. Blaine fixed him up on the couch with a pillow, eyebrows momentarily furrowing with worry before he turned back to the lively commotion of the kitchen.

Within fifteen minutes they had forgotten about the director attempting to rest in the adjacent room and had begun to reprise their favorite songs from the concert that night. After a few group songs, Rachel stepped forward for her inevitable solo. Kurt and Santana rolled their eyes but were in too good of a mood to uphold their typically aloof exteriors.

One mistake in a subtle way
Like I'm walking again, all on me
Step slowly, you know that you fall between
Dark places, what a simple web we weave

As the song sped up Blaine joined in, backing Rachel's melody with harmonies he seemed to pull out of thin air.

We've seen the nightmare of the lies that you speak
The beast that I lie beneath is coming in
We've seen the nightmare of the lies that you speak
The beast that I lie beneath is coming in

The Warblers in the room added back up vocals in five part harmony as they rocked their bodies to the beat. Shane spun Reed and pulled him close to prevent the small boy from toppling over. Reed allowed himself to giggle appreciatively at the affectionate gesture, which in turn made the taller boy blush pleasantly.

Know myself
Know myself
Well, oh hell
Prissy queen
Iron bars
Iron heart
Iron bars

By this time every singer in the room had lifted their voice, and they moved across the tile floor with a variety of rhythmic dance moves. Mike glided across the floor as if he possessed some sort of anti-gravity superpower, his limbs twisting impressively in time with the music; Sam was busy with his air-guitar as Puck and Finn fist-pumped beside him; Brittany shimmied suggestively up to Santana, who returned her sly glance and continued to cha-cha. The Windsor boys had, if not the dance moves, the energy to match New Directions; Wes and David had their own dance off comprised mostly of old-school moves, while Evan and Ethan danced some very high energy hip-hop, each motion perfectly synchronized.

A hundred years old
A hundred years old

Last on the village scene
Fall apart
Iron heart

Their voices crescendoed to new heights as they danced around the kitchen. Kurt's gracefully undulating arms made elegantly dramatic gestures to the air, and every now and then he would give a fierce twist of his shoulders or a pop of his hip. Blaine was content with literally interpreting the lyrics of the song with hand gestures and facial expressions. He leant in to his boyfriend's side to whisper something that was surely equal parts dorky and adorable, and Kurt smiled wide, eyes bright, before both boys burst into peals of laughter and continued to shimmy back and forth, hand in hand.

More alive than you've ever been

We've seen the nightmare of the lies that you speak
The beast that I lie beneath is coming in
We've seen the nightmare of the lies that you speak
The beast that I lie beneath is coming in

Suddenly the door the living room violently burst open, revealing an oddly displeased and disheveled looking Mr. Schuester. The kids slowed their joyful dancing to a stop and fell quiet as they realized that it was probably their singing that had woken him up in such a bad mood.

"Sorry if we were too loud Mr. Schue, we got kinda caught up in the song."

The choir director returned Finn's apologetic gaze with his eyes dark under furrowed brows.

"You okay Mr. Schue?" Mercedes asked.

Will remained silent and turned to Tina who stood closest to him. His hands rose slowly as if he were going to place them on her shoulders, but his movements were curiously jerky, as if his joints had become stiff or he had lost control of own muscles.

Dwight, who had reentered the kitchen after giving up on his search for Pav, straightened up, suddenly alert, "Don't let him touch you Tina!"

"Wanky," Santana said lifting one dark eyebrow.

"Something's wrong," Dwight continued, "was he alone in that room? I think he's been possessed."

Wes elbowed him sharply in the ribs.

Tina let out a scream as Mr. Shuester's hands latched firmly on either side of her neck. He pulled her toward him with something that curiously looked like malice plastered on his face. The other occupants of the room watched in confusion, and some began to hesitantly move toward the girl in Will's clutch.

The man lowered his head towards Tina's shoulder, his mouth gaping open. Tina struggled unsuccessfully to shake him off. Her eyes were wide with fear as she squirmed in his grip. She could almost hear her heart pounding loudly in her chest.

"Mr. Schue what are you doing!" Mike stepped toward his girlfriend protectively.

A sudden shout rang through the kitchen, "Let her go!" Dwight dashed toward the crazed looking man and brandished a lighter. The flame flickered threateningly as he waved it in front of the director's face.

The man's expression contracted in a look of rage and hateful fear. His pupils constricted and he released Tina as he backed away from the dancing flame. Inarticulate growls escaped his chest, and his limbs continued their jerky, tense movements as he strained against the air to escape the heat of the flame.

"Evan, Ethan, don't you have lighters?" The Twins pulled identical yellow lighters out of their back right pockets and held them up in the same way as Dwight.

Slowly Dwight took a step forward, and Mr. Schuster took a step backwards, maintaining a safe foot or two between him and the approaching flame. The rest of the teenagers looked on in frightened awe at the scene before them. They remained stagnant in their places throughout the room, for the sheer lack of knowing what to do when your choir director suddenly loses all human composure. Dwight and the Tweedles advanced on the enraged Mr. Schuster, who continued to back away from their lighters like a rabid animal being surrounded by hunters. They eventually forced him through the kitchen to the back door, where he fled wildly into the night.

Every eye in the room fixated on the door through which the man had disappeared. They gaped in silence, too shocked to yet voice their confusion. Kurt's left hand was balled into a tight fist, while his right clutched at the chair he was leaning on. His knuckles burned white from the tightness of his grip, and Blaine reached around and began rubbing small, comforting circles in the small of Kurt's back, while trying to control his own slightly erratic breathing and just process what the hell had exactly just happened.

Rachel was the first to regain her voice, "What's wrong with Mr. Schuster?" her words trembled.

"I don't think that's Mr. Schuster," Dwight answered, "not anymore…"