"It's not normal."

"It's creepy, is what it is."

"Why is she there?"

"Are they dating?"

"What do you know about this, Finn?"

Finn wasn't even sure who'd asked the question, but when he looked up the rest of the club was looking back at him expectantly.

"I don't know any more than you guys; she just told me in the lunch line that she was eating with him."

"Aren't you going to do something?"

"You need to talk to her."

"Something's going on."

Finn couldn't take it anymore; he grabbed his unfinished lunch and left the table. He stopped at the jock's table on his way to dump his lunch tray, but before he could say a word Azimio started slowly pelting him with tater tots. He took one to the chest and another one on the cheek. When the last one hit him right between the eyes and Azimio cried out, 'Score!' while the other jocks laughed like hyenas he finally turned and fled. Rachel and Karofsky hadn't said a word; they didn't even laugh with the rest of them, they'd just sat there and stared at him coldly the entire time. Finn wanted to cry at the unfairness of it. What was he supposed to do? He wasn't Rachel's boyfriend anymore, he was with Quinn now.

OoOoO

They sat with the jocks for another two weeks until she, Karofsky and Azimio started taking a table by themselves. No one could talk to her in the hallway, at least one of her new friends was hovering continuously. The first week she'd only say, 'It's none of your business,' when asked about it in Glee Club, and then only if asked directly, she ignored the speculation even when they talked right in front of her. The second week she refused to say a word about it at all. Then, on the same day the threesome moved to their own lunch table, Karofsky joined Glee. Now Rachel sat next to him and no one said a word about it.

Kurt was beside himself with anger. He felt like Karofsky and Rachel had connived to exploit the Glee Club's open door policy. Of course, anyone could join, but everyone knew that Glee was a refuge of sorts for freaks and losers. Now he was here. A bully who had made them all feel like losers at one point or another.

No one ever heard him make a sound until it was time for him to sing. And, damn him, he had a good voice, too! No, Karofsky just sat there, hulking over Rachel, glaring at the rest of them while she whispered in his ear. Until one day, out of the blue, the whispering stopped and he looked up at Santana.

"Hey, Barbie-tits, you wanna come have dinner with us tonight? I'm cooking."

Santana's death glare would have turned a lesser mortal to stone, but Karofsky just looked at her, calm and placid. Kurt thought he looked like a ruminating bull.

"Not on your life you fat freak!"

He just shrugged and leaned down so Rachel could start whispering to him again. When Brittany went forward to sing with Quinn and Tina, Kurt grabbed his phone and sent The Evil One a text.

Go! We need to know what's going on.

She sent back a one word reply.

No

But so did he.

Gossip.

"Hey, Karofsky, I changed my mind, I will take you up on dinner. None of the veggie shit your girlfriend likes, though - I'm a meat eater."

She smirked at them in a way that could only be described as lascivious, but Rachel just smiled in return and Karofsky shrugged again.

"No problem, I'll make you some puerco chops, chiquita."

Kurt's heart fell at the look on Finn's face. It was the first time any of them had referred to Rachel as Karofsky's girlfriend.

OoOoO

Puck had first period with Santana. He knew if Kurt hadn't gotten to her over the weekend (and he doubted it, that girl held on to info like a squirrel held on to nuts) he'd be the first one to get the low down. She might not be willing to dish for Kurtie-poo, but she'd give it up for the Puckster.

Santana only stared at him and pointedly turned her phone off when he tried to text her. For the third time. Fine, she wanted to play? He could go elementary on her ass. He tore a sheet from his notebook and wrote, 'What happened!' on it, then folded it into a hard, compact triangle and flicked it at her. And damn that girl was good! Santana had actually caught it in mid-air before opening it up and writing back.

Puck guessed she lacked his paper-folding skills because she just crumpled the note into a ball and threw it at his head. That was alright; he was satisfied as long as he got some answers.

'We ate dinner. We danced. Leave me alone.'

He wasn't satisfied. He'd get to the bottom of this eventually.

On their way to lunch he'd prepped Brittany on what to say to her best girlfriend so they could ferret out some information. They fell into step beside Santana at the cafeteria door where she hooked Britt's pinky with her own and the two queued up to the salad bar. Puck followed behind with his own tray, ready to do a hard interrogation if the soft questioning (Brittany and some kissing) didn't work.

But when they got to the Glee table Santana dropped Britt's finger and continued right by, taking a seat with Rachel, Azimio and Dave. None of them even looked in their direction for the rest of lunch.

Puck spent the lunch hour trying to cheer Brittany up along with Kurt and Mercedes, but comfort was not his forte. She'd looked crestfallen when Santana had glided past her and then she spent the rest of the week moping. Puck kept trying to get answers from Santana, but she told the teachers in all the classes they shared that he was harassing her and now he couldn't even breathe in her direction without getting the stank-eye.

The worst day for him was Wednesday when he offered Britt a ride on the Puckasauras to cheer her up. She told him it wasn't the same without Santana and then cried like a baby. Puck had to stand there feeling like an ass while he awkwardly patted her shoulder.

She stayed noticeably depressed until Friday when they all gathered in the choir room for Glee practice. From his spot between Rachel and Santana, Dave spoke aloud, seemingly to the air.

"It's supposed to rain tonight," then he turned to look at Brittany, "you wanna come over and dance with us later?"

Puck thought her reaction was pathetic. She bounced up and down in her seat with tears of relief in her eyes.

"Thank you! I'd love to!"

At lunch time on Monday the Glee Club could only stare in horror. Brittany had cheerfully followed Santana past their table and gone straight across the cafeteria to sit at the table with them.

OoOoO

By Wednesday Artie had called an emergency lunch meeting of Glee Club in the choir room. 'Without the traitors', the text they'd all received had read.

"Don't you see what's happening here? They're stealing our women!"

Puck thought he'd gone nuts, "Man, if Santana Lopez didn't want to be sitting at that table she wouldn't be."

Finn had agreed with Artie but a glare from Quinn had silenced him. Artie wasn't ready to let it drop that easily, though.

"I'm telling you guys, if one more of our girls turns up over there, heads are going to roll."

Mercedes was livid, "Look, bubba, I'm not anybody's girl but my own and I'll have lunch wherever I want!"

"You'll be next!" he cried, but she was already heading out the door.

The emergency meeting broke up then and they all headed to the cafeteria. They still sat together but it was tense. Artie couldn't care less if the rest of them glared at him. Let them deny what was right in front of their faces, he didn't have any blinders on about this situation. He looked around at the remaining Glee women and tried to decide who they'd target next.

By football practice he'd decided to take a direct approach. He got there early intending to confront whichever of the harem-builders showed up first. He wheeled in the door to take in Karofsky looming over Sam, one arm over Sam's shoulder, his hand pressed against the locker Sam was leaning back against. Sam looked flustered and was nodding his head while Karofsky whispered to him, too low for Artie to hear.

"What's going on here? Leave him alone!"

The larger boy ignored him and turned to his own locker, while Sam shot him a guilty look.

"We were just talking man, don't get so upset."

"Was he threatening you?"

Karofsky started to laugh and Sam looked taken aback.

"No, dude, nothing like that, just chill okay?"

After practice the other Gleeks watched with surprise as Sam climbed into Karofsky's truck along with Azimio; he usually rode home with Finn or Puck. Artie just looked on sadly.

"You know he'll be sitting with them tomorrow, right?"

OoOoO

After Sam's defection from the Glee table things moved into a stasis of sorts for almost a month. The Glee kids picked songs and duets to sing together and so did the others. They addressed one another when they had to, but for the most part kept to their own. The Gleeks spoke to each other audibly; the others mostly spoke in whispers or at least kept their voices low.

Then one rainy day things almost blew up in the choir room. Brittany approached Tina and said in a quite normal tone of voice, "You should come over to Dave's and dance with us tonight."

Before she could reply Mike was out of his seat and yelling at Britt, "Get away from her! She's not going anywhere with you people!"

Santana and Sam had snickered at that while Rachel rolled her eyes, but Karofsky didn't change expression, just watched what was happening with interest.

"Mike you don't have to answer for me."

Tina was clearly annoyed but she spoke regretfully to Brittany, "I'm sorry Britt, I really can't."

The blonde gave her a huge, obviously genuine smile, patted her hand, then walked back to her own group. She stopped to whisper in Karofsky's ear before sitting beside Santana. Mike sat back down but continued glaring; they completely ignored him, none of them so much as glanced at him again.

Rachel leaned toward Dave and murmured, "Curiosity killed the cat."

Dave smiled at her and stroked the back of her hair, "But satisfaction brought it back."

They hadn't been whispering, but they spoke in such low tones that Kurt thought he was probably the only one who'd over heard them. The next day he was the only member of Glee Club who wasn't surprised when lunch time rolled around and Tina took a seat by Azimio at that table.