I'm Ba-ack!

My most sincere apologies to all my lovely readers, I hope I haven't lost to many of you with my appalling tardiness with this fic. I just want to send a mass thank you for all the wonderful messages of love and support. You really do help to motivate me. Next chapter has been planned, but my muse for Don't Trip is biting so the next chapter for that may be ready first. :)

This chapter see's a direct continuation of the previous chapter and is based on the second half of the duets episode. I hope that it will start to answer some questions.

No additional warnings and of as usual I don't own Glee or it's characters, I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement.

Beta'd by the ever patient and incredibly talented Brellegenana. You truly make all the difference in the world so Thank You! :)

Kurt straightened his cap as he walked down the hall towards the locker room, completely oblivious to Brittany twirling on the spot as she flapped her hands around her head. He was on a mission and he had to do it right now before he let his emotions get the better of him. Stopping in front of the red locker room door Kurt paused to inhale a deep breath. This is for dad, he reminded himself. Squaring his shoulders he nearly fell over in shock when the doors burst open and was nearly run over by the clueless green (with envy at least) giant.

"Kurt!" Finn face was a picture of shock and, if he was being honest, abject terror. "Wha-what are you doing here?"

Kurt watched as Finn's eyes darted around the nearly empty hallway as he tried to surreptitiously block the doorway, no doubt to 'protect' all the manly-'I share a shower naked with 20 other guys'-boys of this backwards town.

"Not that it's any of your business, but I'm here to see Sam."

"You can't!" Finn practically shouted in his panic.

With narrowed eye's Kurt didn't even bother to hold back the challenging tone. "And why is that?"

"Uh, because this is the locker room."

"Yes, and?" He was really not in the mood to deal with Finn right now. He knew what was going through that pathetically pea-sized brain of his.

"Kurt," Finn spoke as though trying to make an over-emotional toddler understand, "You can't just go in there, I told you. You have to leave Sam alone, and it's really not cool of you to stalk him in the locker room. Guys just don't do that."

Kurt saw red, and no, not just because of the glaring shade of paint on the door behind the gangly teen.

"Just stop Finn, before your homophobia spills out any further and I vomit, this is a Donna Karen original jacket and doesn't deserve your hate spewed up on it."

"Hey, not cool dude! I told you, I'm not a homophobe!"

"Yes you are you moron! Everything you just said to me was based purely on the fact that I'm gay and you don't like that."

"I don't care that you're gay Kurt!"

Great, now the knuckle dragger was whining on top of everything else. Kurt closed his eyes for a second to compose himself, you're better than this, he reminded himself. Opening his eyes, he fixed them on the taller teen.

"Finn, shut up and listen for a moment, the grownups are talking. No, just stand there and blink and try to listen," Kurt added when Finn made to interrupt again.

"Now, you and I know that you have issues with gay people, you may not want to accept that about yourself, and honestly I don't blame you. Who really wants to admit that they are a small minded bigot? But, the sooner you accept it, the sooner you can stop pretending that you are a good person and will therefore just back the fuck out of my life. No – still not finished Finn.

"You've made your point abundantly clear, I get it, its fine, I don't like it and it really makes me dislike you, but I'll get over it. You're not worth my time. But, just this once, and I really mean, just this once, I'm going to help you so you don't spend the rest of your pathetic ideological high school day trying to work out whether you 'succeeded' in your plan.

"Yes, I know all about your little plan with Rachel, I'm not an idiot. You want to tell yourself that you are only trying to stop me working with Sam so your precious plan comes to fruition, be my guest. Whatever helps you sleep at night. But know this, first and foremost – it wouldn't matter who Sam sang with, he'd still win if you and Rachel vote for him. If you can't work out why, well I won't be surprised; you're both exceptionally atypical self-centred teens.

"Secondly, and I really want to drive this point into your thick skull. Sam asked me to meet him here; I'm not going in there with any notion of getting a free peep show from anyone. For you to stand there and accuse me of being a sexual predator is not only highly insulting but incredibly judgemental of you. No, still not done.

"Lastly, I'm going in there to tell Sam that I won't be working with him, and you can wipe off that self-satisfied grin right now, I'm not severing our partnership because you want me too. In fact, I would love nothing more than to go ahead with it if for no other reason than just to piss you off. You may have gotten to my father by tattling your side of the story about everything, but I am only doing this because I am trying to keep MY father ALIVE. He doesn't need stress of any form. If I hear of you running to him, or using his illness in anyway shape or form to get what you want, I personally will ensure that everyone in this town knows of your 'minute-man' problem... Got that? I will actively work against you with every iota in my body, working with those whose hatred of you is legendary. Coach Sylvester's little spat against glee club will look like a toddler's temper tantrum compared to what I will do to you, psychologically and physically, if you in any way become a threat to my father's continued well-being. Now get the hell out of my life and stay out."

With that, Kurt pushed his way past the red-faced stunned teen and entered the locker room, though he could have sworn he heard someone say something about 'Nargles'... now why did that sound familiar?

Brittany clapped her hands and jumped up and down, performing a mini-cheer for her dolphin's defense against the not so jolly-giant. Finn's been really mean to him and she doesn't know why, Kurty was super nice to her, if she could just get rid of these Nargles maybe she would understand.

"The dolphin doesn't have any Nargles," Brittany murmured to herself watching as Kurt went off at Finn, before Kurty continued into the deep, dark, showers. Coach said showers were for weak people who hadn't had their sweat glands removed, that must be why Kurty went in fully dressed! Maybe he would fight the showers next! "I wonder how he gets rid of them, I think I will ask." Making her way fully into the locker room, Britt paused beside the still dumbfounded Finn. "You're really mean and I don't like you. Plus, you are not nearly as hot as my dolphin or myself."

Brittany watched in fascination as that new kid shook his head like a dog; he must have Nargles too, she mused to herself. Deciding that he needed help, because he was totally doing it wrong, you can't get rid of Nargles that way! Brittany started to head into the dreaded showers where Kurt and Trouty Mouth were talking... that's his name right? I'm pretty sure that's what Sanny called him... Brittany thought to herself as she passed by the cubicles and urinals – OMG! Wishing Wells! So many of them too! She hurried over with a grin that slid off her face faster than Stinksap. She didn't have any coins... perking up slightly, she started unlacing her shoes and removed the laces – she's pretty sure that shoelaces work just as well as coins... but she only has two of them. There are lots of things Brittany wanted to wish for. Well, she mused, shoelaces are bigger than coins, so maybe they can be used a few times each. Nodding her head and proud of her logic, Brittany proceeded to close her eyes and mouth the words of her wish before dropping one of the laces into the urinal, flushing with an important 'pretty please with sugar on top'.

"Britt, what are you doing?"

Brittany turned to see her dolphin watching from a really far distance, he kept looking at the wishing wells as though they would bite him... but that's silly! Wishing wells don't have teeth! Lord Tubbington does though.

"Making a wish," she proclaimed as she reached into the wishing well to retrieve her 'coin', she's pretty sure she could get at least two more wishes from that one.

She lifted her head with a grin but instantly dropped her 'coin' back into the wishing well when she saw Kurt looking like he was going to be sick. Rushing forwards to help her friend, she felt very hurt when he pulled away from her and stared at her hands like he was scared of them. Thinking very hard about it, Britt looked between Kurt, her hands and the wishing well...

"Oh! You don't like God hey? Is making a wish in a wishing well the same as talking to the evil dwarf? I'm sorry Kurty! I just have one more then we can go okay?"

Turning back to the wishing well she clutched her other shoelace, "I want a happy dolphin." Flushing again with a solemn "Pretty, pretty, pretty please?" She turned back to Kurt and eyed him thoughtfully.

"You're really pretty too, Kurty. You have really soft hands. I miss kissing you. Do you want to make out?"

"No! I mean no thank you Britt... Let's go get your hands washed... really thoroughly... Then I think we need to have a chat to Miss P... though I don't know if she'll stay conscious after we tell her about your 'wishing wells'..."

Brittany hummed along happily as her dolphin made her wash her hands four times with special stuff from his magic bag. Brittany was positive the bag was magic because her dolphin could make anything clean and soft again when he used stuff from his magic bag.

"Here Britt, rub some of this lotion on your hands, we don't want your skin drying out remember?"

"Thanks Kurty!" Britt swooped in and planted a kiss on her dolphin, she hopes that soon his magic will rub off on her too if she gets enough kisses in.

She watched as her dolphin's face turned pink before he looped her arm through his and led her out of the locker room.

"Let's go talk to Miss P now okay Britt? I'm actually really glad to have run into you, for more reasons than one," Kurt added softly, "I have an idea for our Glee assignment and I could really use your help, Mike's and Tina's too if they're willing."

Puck shut the door behind him harder than he had intended before leaning against it and scrubbing a hand over his tired scruffy face. He needed a shower and a change of clothes then he could get back to Beth.

"Noah is that you? Can you come in here please?"

Puck groaned internally when he heard his mother's voice from the kitchen. That tone boded no good for anyone and he really didn't have the time or energy to deal with whatever she wanted. Heaving himself away from the door Puck entered the kitchen to see both his mom and Sarah working together to fill what looked like a supermarket worth of containers with various foods.

"What's all this?"

"Why haven't you called Kurt back?"

"What?" Puck was confused but just decided to go along with whatever tangent his mother decided to go on, it was easier.

"Why haven't you returned any of Kurt's phone calls?"

"Ma, I don't have time for this right now okay? I have to get back to the hospital."

"Sit down Noah! Now I want to know why you are ignoring Kurt. He's been nothing but a good friend to you and Sarah said he called her yesterday afternoon for an update on Beth. I know Kurt has tried to call you and now I want to know what's going on."

Puck really didn't have the energy for this. He scrubbed his face tiredly again and groaned.

"Nothing ma, I've just been a little preoccupied with Beth being sick is all," Puck couldn't help the insolent tone that crept into his voice, "why are you getting on my case about this?"

"Don't you take that tone of voice with me young man. Need I remind you that Kurt is the only reason that you have a daughter to worry about in the first place? That poor boy has been through hell and back over the last few weeks and he is worrying himself sick over both you and Beth now too, I don't think it would be too much to ask for you to pick up the phone every once in a while."

"Jeez! Beth is MY daughter! It's my decision what information I share and with whom! I am so sick and tired of people telling me what is best for my kid! Kurt is not her father, I am! You're right; Kurt has been too involved with Beth. Maybe if I had stopped it earlier than Beth would never have gotten sick in the first place!"

Both Puckerman women sucked in a breath and their jaws tightened in synchronisation, it would have been comical if Puck were in a better mood.

"Sarah," Ruth began calmly, "Why don't you go get cleaned up. I'll finish here then you can drop them off okay?"

Sarah walked out of the room quietly, resisting the urge to break her brother's nose. Stopping just outside the door Sarah flattened herself against the wall and opened her ears. She wanted to hear this. She heard her mother talk to Puck with that dangerous tone, one she'd not truly heard from her mom since before Beth's arrival.

"Noah. I'm not going to comment on that accusation just now. I know you are tired and upset though that does not excuse what you said. What I want to know is where this came from?"

"Nowhere all right!"

"Do not shout at me. Now, you are obviously angry but I demand the truth young man. What has put that idea in your head because I know you Noah and that is not you."

"Argh!" Noah stood up abruptly, knocking the chair to the floor. "Beth is my priority all right! Everything has to be for her! Kurt said it himself – He's putting Beth at risk by hanging around too much. He suggested that he back off first, okay! I'm just so stupid that it's only sinking in now. I think he's right. Everyone's right. Kurt shouldn't be around Beth so much!"

Puck hated seeing the pity in his mother's eyes when she looks at him so he turned his back to her sullenly.

"Noah," Ruth began gently, "please sit back down and look at me."

"No! I'm done, I have to go."

"Stop it Noah! Talk to me. Who told you these things?"

Puck whirled around and glared at his mother. "Quinn all right! Are you happy now? Quinn has been visiting Beth and she's right. It's not good for Beth. Everyone treats Kurt like crap because he's gay and I don't want Beth to get that! It's not right!"

"What? How did Quinn get into the NICU? How often has she been in there?"

"She's Beth's mother so they let her in, parents only remember? She's been there every day this week after school."

"Noah, Quinn has no right going into the NICU. She's not Beth's parent. You are."

"It doesn't matter ma! She's been saying all this stuff about Kurt being a bad influence on Beth and how she made a mistake. I can't lose her ma, she's everything to me. Kurt will understand."

"Noah wait -"

"I gotta go ma," with that Puck walked out the door and walked blindly past a gaping and furious Sarah.

Sarah Puckerman may look young and small for her age but she has a ferociousness that even the likes of her big brother doesn't question; which is how she forced her brother to drive her over to the Hummel household on his way back to the hospital. The atmosphere in the cab of the truck was very frosty, despite being filled with bags of steaming soups and casseroles.

When Puck pulled up at the driveway Sarah turned her glare onto her brother and spoke for the first time since announcing he was driving her over there.

"Are you going to come in?" It wasn't really a question and she wasn't really surprised by Puck's non reaction. "You're pathetic." She spat as she slammed the door and walked up the path without looking back.

She didn't bother knocking, despite her idiot of a brother's new attitude she still considered the Hummel's part of her family and had no qualms about making herself at home. Entering the house and shutting the door quietly behind her she stepped quietly into the living room and saw Uncle Burt asleep on the sofa. It was the first time she'd seen him since he woke up at the hospital and her arms ached with the desire to hug him, as though she would never get another chance. Scolding herself silently for her own ridiculousness she tiptoed past the living room and headed down to the basement where she knew she'd find Kurt.

And find him she did. Sprawled out across the floor, a black tuxedo jacket spread out in front of him wielding a pair of scissors an intense look of concentration on his face. Poking his tongue out, Sarah watched as he put the scissors to the jacket and prepared to cut the fabric.

"What are you doing?"

"Arrrgh!" Kurt flew backwards and nearly stabbed himself in the face with the scissors as he clutched at his heart.

"Sweet Dolce! You scared me Sarah! What are you doing here?"

"What am I doing here? What are you doing? Your about to cut into an Armani!"

"Tsk-tsk, do you really think I would commit such crimes against the fashion Gods? No my darling, it's not an Armani, it's a knock-off." Kurt resumed his position and once again put the scissors to the fabric and prepared to cut.

"Wait! Are you sure?"

Kurt levelled his best 'bitch please' look at the pre-teen.

"How can you tell?" She asked with professional curiosity. She sat down the bags she was carrying and stepped over to sit herself opposite the boy, prepared for the in-depth fashion lesson she was certain would follow.

"There are several 'tells'. Do you see the buttons? The buttons on authentic Armani suits are plain, without any decoration. Classic giveaway, plus feel the fabric, see; Armani suits are never made from imitation materials."

Sarah wrinkled her nose as she nodded, poly blend... she suppressed a shudder and then her brain caught up with her once more.

"I repeat then. What are you doing with a knock-off?" she sneered around the word as though it committed great offense to her.

"Rookie designer mistake my dear. I brought this online two years ago because it was such a steal," Kurt snorted, "let it be a lesson to you, be careful how and where you shop online."

"Well I can understand why you would want to cut it to shreds, but shouldn't you have done that straight away?"

Kurt smiled, "I kept it as a warning and a reminder to myself. It's worked out quite well; I've not been fooled again."

"So what are you doing?"

"I'm making a costume. I have a Glee assignment tomorrow and I had to alter my plans last minute so I've got to cut some corners."

"Can I help?"

"Of course you can. I'm going to make one suit out of these two," Kurt indicated to a glittery white suit spread out on his bed. "I'm doing homage to the great Julie Andrews and singing Le Jazz Hot from Victor/Victoria."

Seeing the girl's confusion Kurt explained.

"The story is about a woman pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman. I thought to illustrate both sides I'd have dual costume. The black side represents the masculine and the white side represents the feminine."

"I still don't really understand, but I'm your willing fashion slave, so tell me what to do." Grinned Sarah.

Kurt set her up with the white jacket he'd already cut in half and handed her the right side along with a row of tassels to stitch along the bottom of the sleeve. Kurt put his I-pod on and cued up the song for her to listen to so she could get a better understanding.

"So why are you doing this song? What's the assignment?" She watched as Kurt tried to cover up his hesitation by pulling out a few stray threads from the inferior fabric.

"The assignment is supposed to be a duet, but because there is an odd number in the club at the moment, someone has to work solo. That'd be me." He finished with a small self deprecating smile.

"Why'd Schue give duets if your group has uneven numbers? Seems stupid to me."

"Yes, well Mr Schue isn't always the most tactful or observant of a teacher." Kurt ground out.

Sarah thought to herself as the song started again. She was much more observant than people give her credit for, and she knew that there was something Kurt wasn't telling her, she just didn't know how to get it out of him so she decided to change topics for now.

"So, is that why you're doing the male/female song thing? So it's like a duet?"

With a grin Kurt nodded. "Sort of, I guess that's the short reason. Mostly I guess I thought about traditional duets, they are about a balance between the singers, their voices are to complement each other. Everything in nature is about balance; the yin and the yang; Black and the white; Light and the dark and male and female. The story of Victor/Victoria is about embracing both the masculine and the feminine in each of us, because we all have aspects of both so I thought it would be very fitting for a solo duet."

Sarah was watching Kurt shrewdly. "There's something else you're not telling me about why you picked this song."

Kurt couldn't help but laugh, "You're quite perceptive Sarah. Yes, there was something else. My mom, it was her favourite show and she used to sing this song with me all the time. She said that it was 'my' song because I got the best from both my parents. I inherited a lot of traits from both my parents. She said that I got stubbornness from my dad and my creativity from her and therefore I was destined for success. So yes, I'm singing this song for her. She is my duet partner in this assignment."

Sarah scrambled up to hug the fashionable teen. "I love you Kurt. No matter what happens I want you to know that okay?"

"I love you too Sarah. But what's brought this on?"

Sarah looked at Kurt intently and chewed her lip for a while before making a decision and taking a deep breath.

"I'm not sure if I should be telling you this, but I think you deserve the truth."

Sensing the seriousness Kurt set aside his scissors and turned to give his full attention to the young girl. Sarah carefully watched his face as she told him everything. He was very good at maintaining his physical composure. If you didn't know him you'd think he was just listening to a weather report. But Sarah could see hidden in the depths of his eyes just how hurt he was with what he told her.

"Well," Kurt began, straighten up and blinking a few times he continued. "Thank you for being honest with me Sarah. It certainly clears a few things up. But I'm okay, honest," he added seeing the disbelief in her eyes. "I'll need to have a chat with Noah, but that can wait till Beth's better and back at home. There's not much we can do right now anyway. So I say we just put it in the back of our minds and get on with the alterations for the suit hmm?" He finished with a smile.

Alright, if he wants to play it like that for now she'll let him. But she won't forget. "So is there a prize?"

"Yes actually, free dinner at Breadstix." Kurt grinned.

"Oh! Speaking of dinner, mom sent all this food over for you and Uncle Burt. She said just because he's out of hospital now doesn't mean he shouldn't be taking care of himself and she told me to remind you to take care of yourself too," she added sternly. "She wanted to come but she has to work extra at the moment to make up for the time off she had looking after Beth."

"Trust Ruth to go to all this trouble," Kurt groused. "Well I thank the both of you it will certainly be appreciated. Well, that settles it. After I blow them all away with my duet and I win dinner, you ladies shall be joining me on a date to Breadstix."

Sarah couldn't help but squeal in excitement. "Okay! Of course you'll win, besides, no one else will look as good as you once we've finished here."

Kurt just smiled in agreement.

The next day Kurt was up before the sun rose. He had a lot to get through today, and it's not like he was able to sleep very well that night anyway. He simply couldn't turn his mind off after he took Sarah home the previous evening. During dinner, which was dominated by Sarah and his dad 'catching up', as well as Kurt avoided his dad's piercing gaze; Kurt had been completely unable to focus on anything beyond maintaining his composure. He knew that the hurt and resignation from Sarah's revelation was showing through the cracks in his mask, but he was determined not to burden his father with it right now. Besides, he wasn't really sure he was up for discussing it yet anyway.

After he got back from taking Sarah home and being fussed over by Ruth, Kurt went straight downstairs to his basement room, thankful for the thousandth time that the room was soundproofed. He spent the next three hours rehearsing his solo/duet and watching the choreography rehearsal he'd taped during the lunch break earlier that day.

He may not be on the Cheerio's anymore (seriously, like he needed more stress in his life), but he was still seen as an honorary member among most of the squad, which may or may not be due to the fact that the girls love his facials and the guys loved his 'in' with the girls. The fact that coach seemed to have at least a certain level of respect for him doesn't hurt either. So it wasn't too difficult to get a group together who was willing to help him out for his assignment. He has to remember to do something special for Mike and Brittany though, their choreographing skills are amazing and it's a pity Schue doesn't utilise them more.

So he had rehearsed until his bruised muscles (Karofsky really needed to find a new pastime) protested then he treated himself to a decadent hour in his Jacuzzi tub. Refreshed and rejuvenated, Kurt was still up till nearly midnight putting the finishing touches on his costume and making sure he had everything prepared. He just hoped he could pull his plan off at Glee, and that it doesn't look obvious that it was a last minute routine. Though judging from the routines he'd seen so far this week for the assignment, he still had a decent chance of standing out. At least he had a plan to use the auditorium and had bothered to plan costuming and real choreography. Santana and Mercedes had sounded amazing together, but they could have really put on a show if they'd put a bit more effort into it.

He'd spent the night tossing and turning. He was incredibly hurt of course that the entire Beth/Puckerman situation had come down to this, but deep in his heart, he'd been waiting for the other shoe to drop the whole time. Expecting it doesn't change the fact that it hurts though, in fact it he suspects its worse now because he let himself get too attached, not just to Puck, but the whole Puckerman family, especially Beth. He really loves that little girl and it's breaking his heart to know that he can't be involved in her life any more.

Stupid, he scolded himself. It' is his fault. He knows just what this town thinks of him and he's been incredibly selfish in thrusting that hate into Beth's and Puck's life just because being with them made him happy. For the first time since his mom had died he'd understood what it felt to be part of a real family. He knew his dad loved him, just as he loves his dad, but for so long it's just been the two of them and their relationship had been more unbalanced than he'd realised. Being around Ruth he was able to see just how much he wasn't the kid in his relationship with his father. He spent more time taking care of his dad and shielding him from the hate of this town, even before his heart attack, than the other way round. And it was nice to feel that level of responsibility lifted from his shoulders when he was with Ruth.

He was upset he was losing that too along with everything else. He didn't blame Puck. How could he? He was only looking after his daughters best interests, and Kurt had offered the same thing himself only a couple of months ago. No, he didn't blame Puck but he was pissed at Quinn. He'd noticed her sly smirks during the week when she thought no one was looking but he'd just put it down to her sinking her talons into Sam. Now though... well, like he told Sarah, things make so much more sense.

During his morning shower Kurt forced himself to stop lamenting the issue. What's done is done and he can't change that. He could only look forward and remember the promise he made to Puck; that he would do everything in his power to ensure his daughter stayed with him and be damned if he was going to let Quinn Fabray step in to ruin that again. He had some phone calls to make.

Kurt was beyond disgusted. When he'd stood up to announce his change of plans for the assignment he was not oblivious or really surprised by Quinn's and Santana's malicious smirks nor Schue's flustering. But seriously, the man gave a duets assignment in a week with odd numbers and not one member saw the problem with that until he made his announcement? – And thank you Santana, your particular brand of vulgarity made the entire situation that much more palatable.

But what really and truly angered him was Rachel's expression. The self absorbed diva spent the entire week trying to ensure Sam won the competition for her own personal agenda and gain, but not once did she actually stop to consider just who Sam's partner was and how the bigoted big footed oaf of a boyfriend of hers tried to split them up.

Oh Rachel, if only you could open your eyes long enough to see past that enormous nose of yours to see exactly what sort of boy Finn is. I'm sure your daddies would be so proud of your judgement.

Nevertheless, Kurt gave what he felt was a truly spectacular performance. He knew he wouldn't win, Finchel would see to that. But at last he really got to show his supposed friends just what he could do. He naturally took great pleasure in seeing the uncomfortable expression on Quinn and Finn's faces. But the real icing on the cake was watching both Berry and Schue realise just how easy that High F is for him.

With a smirk on his face, Kurt took his bow and levelled his gaze at Rachel. I challenge you Ms Wannabe Broadway Diva to rise through six octaves from chest to head voice to a High G and hold the note for 10 counts after full choreography. Yes, Kurt was proud of himself, and very thankful that Zizes was willing to film and edit the performance to full film clip standards for a month supply of Godiva chocolates. Although her initial request of snickers had practically caused him to vomit on his Doc Martin boots that morning when he'd requested her assistance. If he was going to buy chocolates, it would be the best, regardless of who would receive them. The film would be very useful in his expanding portfolio come next year when he applied to colleges.

Kurt stared down at the note pad in front of him. He didn't know why they were even bothering to continue with the charade of voting. It is painfully obvious that Schue overestimated the teenager's ability to vote without bias. Well, with the exception of Rachel and Finn of course, but even they are voting with their own agenda and not whom they truly believe was deserving of the prize. With a soft smile Kurt included several doodled flowers around his duet name. That was for you, mom.

He was sitting alone in the back row of the choir room as Schue counted the 'votes'. Indicative he thought, about his true place in this 'family'. Maybe this was why extended family are so often looked upon as annoying, a burden, and something to avoid unless at the holiday season. He heaved an internal sigh and just really wished that this day would end already, it had been another trying week. He knew from the beginning that it would be, but the unexpected drama this week with Finn and Quinn dictating who he could be friends with certainly pushed it well past 'difficult'.

He pulled out his phone to send the text message he'd been holding back on; no matter how unpleasant the prospect there was no time like the present.

Noah - I understand and I'm sorry. I hope Beth gets better soon. Look after yourself – Kurt.

He didn't expect a reply.

He heard Schue announce the winner of the competition and couldn't help the eye roll when he heard the disappointment and accusatory tone in his voice. Seeing Rachel and Finn pat themselves on their backs he threw a scathing look their way as he prepared leave the room. He didn't remove the glare when Rachel glanced at him or when she flinched at his expression. He had a date with two very lovely ladies to prepare for.

Brittany was sad and very confused. She was sad because she'd spent so long practising pushing the meatball around with her nose and she'd really hoped that Artie would play with her, but he was angry with her. She really liked Artie. He was very nice to her and didn't make her feel stupid like all the other boys. And she was confused because she doesn't know why Santana would make Artie sad and mean to her. Why does Artie think that Brittany only wanted him for sex? Yeah, she's catching up with Santana with the number of make outs and V-Cards (Britt really hopes she wins this game even though she doesn't know what the prize is yet). But she really likes Artie and his wheelchair rides.

So she was at Breadstix by herself without a tramp or a lady to pass the meatball back to her. She'd forgotten that she didn't win the competition until after her mom had already dropped her off and she had no one to eat with. She saw Quinn come in with that new kid, but Quinn didn't even say hello to her; maybe she was invisible and forgot to change herself back. That happens sometimes; it's how she caught Lord Tubbington hacking into her LJ account (he still can read her diary even though she has a passworded one now).

While she was waiting for her meatball to arrive Brittany was busy check the swinging ponytail of Quinn's for cookie elves. She heard Coach Sue talking about them once and so she's always on the lookout for them. She really wants one, but Lord Tubbington can't have any cookies because he's on Atkins. She was startled when the apron lady put the plate in front of her with a smile. Mmm smells yummy... Britt was leaning over the plate when she heard Quinn and Sam talking about her Dolphin.

They weren't saying very nice things about her dolphin and it was making her very sad and angry. Why are people always mean to her dolphin? Britt wasn't very sure she liked Sam, even if he had big lips that she really wanted to kiss. She didn't think she could like anyone who was mean to her dolphin, especially people she'd not made out with. Her dolphin had liked Sam, but Finn and Quinn and even Sanny kept saying mean things about him to Trouty Mouth. She thinks Sam is being very silly too. He lets other people tell him who to like and Brittany doesn't like that. Maybe he was a robot? Designed to only follow the instructions of those infected with Nargles? That's why she's so confused about Santana and Artie, they tell her what to think but she still likes them, maybe it's because she's made out with them...

Quinn is saying something about Puck's baby shark... Britt really likes Puck's baby shark. She's so little but lots of fun to play with. She was sad when her dolphin told her the baby shark was really sick, and that they couldn't go and play until she's better. She hopes the baby shark gets better soon. She wants to play with her again, but really it's because her dolphin is so sad. She doesn't know if he's sad because the baby shark is sick or if because he misses Puck... Or maybe he's sad because people push him around more when Puck's not here Britt thought.

Britt saw it happening all the time now. Karofsky has been really mean and keeps hurting her dolphin, but she doesn't know what to do. She thinks that Karofsky is an invisible dolphin – like Santana. They are both so angry all the time and they keep hurting people and it makes her very sad. If she could only remember how not to be invisible any more then she could tell Santana and Karofsky and they could not be invisible and then they could be happy, and then her dolphin would be happy because he wouldn't get hurt anymore. But she can't remember how not to be invisible. Right then her dolphin slipped into the seat opposite her with a smile.

"You're so magic." Britt breathed out.

She watched as her dolphin tipped his head to the side like a confused puppy.

"Because you can see me!"

"Yes I can Britt. I can see you very well."

Britt really liked it when her dolphin smiled at her like that. Like just looking at her made him happy.

"Why are you here by yourself Britt?"

"Because Artie is mad at me and I'm invisible."

She could see her dolphin put on his thinking face, but she wanted to see him smile, so she nudged the meatball across the plate with her nose towards him and was happy when he smiled at her before he leant forwards and wiped the sauce from her nose with a napkin.

"Well, since I can see you Britt, I think you should come and join the two very lovely ladies and me over there for dinner."

Britt looked to where Kurt was pointing and saw Puck's mom and sister at a table across the room.


"Then you and I are going to go back to my place for a much needed facial. It's really not good for your skin to put food on your face sweetie."

"I like your place Kurty! Can we make out again?" She asked hopefully, but her dolphin just smiled and sighed and patted her hand as he led her over to the other table.

Whew! Long chapter and I hope the changing POV's wasn't too confusing! Just want to advise that my ear has been untrained for far too many years for my liking. That being said, my summation of Kurt's performance for Le Jazz Hot is to the best of my knowledge and my ears. :)

As always fellow Gleeks -

Love it? Hate it? Review and let me know why!

Mischievous Gleek.