Author's Note: And so we come to the epilogue. I may have an idea brewing for a one-shot based on this story that is more smut than anything else, but we shall see. Thank-you for sticking with this story until the end and for all the warm and wonderful reviews. Seriously, you guys are the best xx

Blaine Anderson locked his car door with the remote in his hand and slipped it into his satchel. He joined the crowd of uniformed boys ambling their way from the student parking area to the landscaped lawns in front of the school. The school bell signaling the start of the day was yet to sound. Despite the cool morning temperature, some students had chosen to talk to one another outside on the lawns instead of making their way inside. Blaine recognized a few faces among them; he waved to Nick and Jeff when they called out a greeting to him.

The morning sun began to shine hazily through, but it was nothing compared to the buzz that he could feel in the air, the anticipation of the beginning of another school year. Blaine had appreciated the break from studying and homework that summer had provided, but he had been anxious to return to Dalton Academy after experiencing bouts of loneliness at home. Coincidently, he knew that he didn't have much time remaining at Dalton and he couldn't wait to leave, to be free not only of the constraints of the school, but also that of his father, and the control he had over Blaine's life.

There was also another reason that Blaine couldn't wait to begin the school year, and it made him curse the fact that Dalton always included more days of summer vacation.

Blaine held on to the strap of his satchel as he moved around the groups of boys conversing animatedly with one another. Being that there were too many students clustered the main building entrance, he slowed down his pace, knowing that there was still plenty of time before classes would start. He passed one of the large oak trees that lined the side fence which consisted of brick walls interspersed with iron bars.

'Bonjour, mon amour.'

Blaine stopped at the sound of the voice, and backtracked a few steps before he saw its source. As he took in the sight of the boy who had spoken, he couldn't believe that he had walked right past him. Blaine leaned casually against the trunk of the oak tree beside him as he slipped his hands into the pockets of his blazer. He couldn't hold back the smile that had formed on his face.

The boy was leaning against the brick wall, arms folded and one leg crossed over another gracefully. His pale skin contrasted with his bright blue eyes, and his light brown hair reflected golden under the sunlight. His Dalton uniform was polished and new and he had a satchel slung over one shoulder. His face revealed only a hint of a smile, but his eyes were beaming with delight.

'I was wondering when you'd show up,' Blaine said. He gestured to the other boy's uniform with a nod of his head. 'The blazer seems to fit you perfectly.'

Kurt Hummel blinked slowly and shifted his body slightly.

'How did you know that I was accepted into Dalton?' Kurt asked, looking puzzled.

'I kind of figured it out.' When Kurt raised a questioning eyebrow, Blaine continued. 'Actually, Puck tipped me off that you were released. I paid a visit to McKinley back in July and I was hoping that he would have passed on the message that he had seen me over to Finn, and then over to you.'

Kurt was silent for a moment, but when he spoke, his voice was breathy.

'Cute and smart,' he replied, his eyes gazing over at Blaine with affection. 'I think I'm in love.'

Blaine laughed lightly, but he knew that Kurt wasn't mocking him; his expression was dead serious.

'However, considering that they failed to tell me this information, I am going to kill them both,' Kurt added, the change in his tone indicating his displeasure.

'So, how did you get in?' Blaine asked.

Kurt unfolded his arms and left them to rest on the wall behind him.

'I did my community service here at Dalton in June,' he began. 'I was fortunate enough to be seen by the headmaster and he could see that I had potential, so he suggested that I try for a scholarship since my father was unable to pay for tuition fees. I studied all summer for the entrance exam and I passed with flying colors. I have to report to my parole officer every fortnight and they will keep a close eye on me while I'm here, but otherwise I am free to do as I wish.'

He sank back further against the wall behind him and looked over at Blaine with teasing eyes. 'Including bothering you as much as possible.'

'If I let you,' Blaine said, taking pleasure in where the conversation was going.

'If you let me. If you don't consider it criminal behavior.'

'Why would I think that?'

'Considering where I've come from, you have every right to have your suspicions about me.'

'Trust me,' Blaine replied. 'I already know what you're capable of.'

Blaine had meant it as a joke, but he watched in horror as Kurt's smile faded rapidly.

'Oh - Kurt, I didn't mean it like that.'

Kurt didn't meet his eyes.

'Blaine - I'm sorry…'

'Don't be.' Blaine stepped forward to diminish the gap between them. 'I could have gone down that same path, but I didn't. I ran away instead of standing up for myself. I let them win. We were both bullied, Kurt, and for what? Just because we love differently from most people doesn't give anyone else the right to make us feel bad about it or make us feel less worthy of their respect. There aren't many guys who can say that they've experienced the same struggles as we have.'

Kurt watched his fingers as he stroked them over the back of his hand. It seemed to Blaine as if he was thinking something over.

'Maybe boys like us should stick together,' he answered softly.

'Definitely,' Blaine replied. 'I think it would be a good idea.'

Kurt raised his head but his eyes were still averted. 'You've made me want to become a better person. I have you to thank for that.'

'You're most welcome. Besides, you've confirmed for me what I had known for a while. I'm really only attracted to guys.'

Kurt nodded. He looked over at Blaine with hopeful eyes.

'Does that mean we can still be friends?'

Blaine didn't hesitate as he reached out to hold Kurt's hand in his own, feeling the smooth skin underneath his. If Kurt was going to be his boyfriend, then he knew it was the gentlemanly thing to do. He didn't want to leave the other boy doubting.

'I think we're past that,' Blaine answered, tilting his head to one side as he looked up at Kurt. 'Don't you?'

He watched as Kurt's face lit up with a smile so warm that he felt the glow of it radiate to his heart. Blaine smiled back in response. He stepped away from Kurt and tugged at his hand.

'Come on, let's find your locker.'

He noticed that Kurt was hesitant, and was looking down at their hands and then at the other students with uncertainty.

'It's okay,' Blaine said, reassuring him. 'It's really not much of a big deal around here.' He gave another tug of Kurt's hand and Kurt moved forward, reaching over with his other hand to brush off the dust from the tree trunk that had fallen on Blaine's shoulder. They began to make their way across the lawns to the main school building. Kurt was walking so close to him that he breathed in the scent of vanilla and cinnamon spice on his skin. Blaine was comforted by the fact that Kurt was able to trust him enough to hold his hand. But he still looked around a little warily, and Blaine knew that it would take Kurt some time to adjust to the other students and the school environment.

Many of the Dalton boys were already inside at their lockers and the remaining few had started to make their way over to the entrance. Blaine and Kurt joined them a distance behind, their hands clasped together tightly.

'I will have to introduce you to the other Warblers,' Blaine said, after a stretch of comfortable silence. 'They were very impressed with your vocal range when you gave that impromptu performance in May.'

He felt Kurt freeze beside him and come to a halt, forcing Blaine to stop and look behind him. The sparkle in his eyes had vanished and he looked fearful.

'Warblers?' he whispered.

Blaine frowned at Kurt's sudden change in demeanor, but then he remembered what he had told him back at McKinley.

'You know that thing I said about what I had to do to get into the Warblers? Well…I lied.'

'You did not.'

Blaine winced slightly, though it wasn't at Kurt's intonation. 'I kinda did.'

Kurt sighed in relief. 'So all that was just…'

'…to show to you that I was capable of going through with it,' Blaine finished for him. 'Even though you were the first person I've ever…given that to.'

Kurt started to walk again and Blaine walked beside him, still clutching his hand.

'Well, then,' Kurt said after a pause, and his voice was a little deeper. 'Remind me to return the favor.'

Blaine almost choked on his own saliva.

'Let – let's get you settled in first,' he stammered, trying to ignore the warmth that threatened to flood his cheeks.

'You must tell me all about Paris,' Kurt continued, letting their hands swing together and smiling at the pink tinge that had started to form on the other boy's face.

Blaine knew how eager Kurt was to learn about his time in Paris, and he wasn't fazed when Kurt corrected him on his pronunciation of the names of localities in French. Kurt was bright, after all; there was no doubt in Blaine's mind that Kurt would thrive academically at Dalton. He listened just as eagerly as Kurt pointed out the flowers he had planted, and the passageway he had helped create by the entrance.

After spending three months apart, Blaine couldn't believe how lucky he was that he had the opportunity to see Kurt every day, without such things as barred fences and visiting hours confining them. He could see how happy the other boy was to have his freedom, to be at a place where he did not have to endure taunts and bear the ridicule of others because of who he was. And he was grateful for being able to do the things that restricted them both before.

Kurt may have slipped his hand in Blaine's under their desks during the English Literature class they shared together. And Blaine may have taken Kurt down to another oak tree by the edge of the courtyard out of sight of everyone else, where they stole kisses from one another for the whole of lunchtime. One day, they would walk by McKinley in their Dalton uniforms, only to be greeted by a group of reform boys by the back fence, eager to catch up on the latest news from the outside.

As a Dalton Academy student, Blaine knew that William McKinley Correctional had a bad reputation. Like the other Dalton boys, he thought that nobody of good character could be found at the school, and for once he was right. He glanced over to the other boy who had been contemplating him with sincere and gentle blue eyes. The best that McKinley had to offer had left, and Blaine couldn't wait to spend more time with him.