In An Octopus Garden

"Finn… Finn… Wake uuuuu-uup…"

Finn's brain felt like it was filled with cotton balls. Or cotton candy. Speaking of which, it smelled like cotton candy. He scrunched his eyes open in the dusty light and sat up, hoping that it was the fresh kind that didn't just come in a plastic bag. A hand clapped him on the shoulder, and Finn nearly jumped out of his skin when he saw the person standing over him.

"Welcome back to the living, Finn," said Kurt.

At least, he thought it was Kurt. He didn't think that there was any way Kurt would actually wear… whatever it was he was wearing. A dusty black jacket with knee-length coat tails over a red and white pinstripe vest didn't seem like Kurt's style. Nor did the freakishly tall top hat with the top ripped, or the frayed and dirty fingerless gloves and rings covering his hands. But even more unsettling than his clothes was the makeup on Kurt's face. The white clown paint was caked so thick that Finn thought Kurt must be having a difficult time holding his head up, and his unblinking blue eyes were bordered with smudged black kohl, giving them the appearance of glowing in the dusty dimness around them.

Kurt cocked his head to the side and flashed an unnerving, wide-eyed grin. "You're just in time."

"Huh? For what?"

Kurt only tipped his torn hat, then threw his arms out to the sides and yelled "Showtime!"

The movement stirred up the dust floating through the air and made Finn sneeze; when he opened his eyes again, Kurt was gone. Finn blinked. Either he'd sneezed for a lot longer than normal, or his stepbrother had superpowers. Which would actually be really cool. Maybe he could fly too.

Finn jumped again when he saw that there were other people around him, all of them Glee members. Quinn was sitting closest to him, on the same bench (and he'd just noticed that he was sitting on wooden bleachers), and a few others were scattered around below him. Mercedes, Puck, Rachel, Santana, Artie… He turned to ask Quinn what was happening, but she didn't respond or make any indication that she knew he was there. Strangely enough, all of them were vaguely staring ahead, their faces completely void of expression. And to be honest, that was way freakier than Scary Kurt.

A spotlight clanked on somewhere above him, and a fat beam of light cut through the dimness and shone down on Scary Kurt, who was standing about fifty feet ahead in the middle of a giant ring with a hard-packed sand floor. The dust swirled through the air, tickling Finn's lungs and making him want to cough.

A megaphone identical to the one Coach Sylvester used to scream at people materialized in Scary Kurt's hand, and he spoke loudly into it, his voice vibrating over the bleachers. "Ladies and gentlemen… Children of all ages…" he began, his eyes flashing with a creepy euphoria. "Welcome… to the Most Spectacular Show On Earth!"

Finn honestly thought that Kurt could have come up with a better name than that, but by this point he'd figured that he had to be dreaming, so if the name was coming from his own limited imagination, then it wasn't that surprising.

A low, rhythmic fanfare began from the shadows off to the left of the ring, and Finn could see the light glinting off the wide mouths of a small collection of trumpets and trombones (whoever was playing the instruments was invisible). His attention was drawn back to the ring as Kurt began to sing.

"For the benefit of Mr. Kite, there will be a show tonight on trampoline!" Kurt twirled a cane through his fingers (and where the hell had he gotten the cane?) as Brittany and Tina appeared behind him on either side, dressed in skin-tight pink leotards and buoyant tutus, their faces frozen in porcelain-doll smiles with small red hearts painted over their lips. In unison, the two girls began to dance robotically in time with the slow beat, their limbs jerking like wind-up toys.

"The Hendersons will all be there; late of Pablo-Fanques is there – what a scene!" Kurt spun his cane from one hand to the other, tipping his hat. "Over men and horses, hoops and garters, and lastly through a hog's head of real fire! In this way, Mr. K. will challenge the world!"

Okay, Finn was definitely dreaming.

As Brittany and Tina turned rigidly in place a few times, like they really were music-box ballerinas, Kurt cupped his hands in front of his mouth and blew out a billow of flames, making Finn jump, his eyes wide.

The flames faded into the dust and Kurt snatched his hat off his head, spinning it around his finger. "The celebrated Mr. K. performs his feat on Saturday at Bishop's Gate. The Hendersons will dance and sing as Mr. Kite flies through the ring—"

"Don't be late!" Tina and Brittany chimed in, their legs and arms bending mechanically.

"Mrs. K. and H. assure the public their production will be second to none!" Kurt flipped his hat into the air, where it twirled upwards at least four feet before spinning down and landing neatly on Kurt's head. "And, of course, Henry the Horse dances the waltz!" With a flourish, Kurt pivoted on his heel and disappeared from the spotlight, vanishing into the surrounding dimness.

A split second later, Mike crashed between Tina and Brittany with a forward flip in midair, landing squarely on his bare feet in the sand. Finn blinked when he realized that Mike's feet weren't even feet – sprouting out of the bottoms of Mike's dusty white jeans were two polished black hooves, fringed with coarse white fur. This was starting to get really weird.

As Brittany and Tina pirouetted in their rigid clockwork ballet, Mike danced in place, his hooves clopping loudly against the packed sand floor like tap shoes. Little clouds of dust and sand were kicked up each time a hoof struck the ground, and Mike reared back, his arms twisting in time with the low music.

With a final solid clip-clop, Mike backflipped out of the spotlight, making way for Kurt to reappear.

"The band begins at ten to six, when Mr. K. performs his tricks without a sound," Kurt whispered loudly, holding a finger to his lips. He winked, his eyes glinting underneath the brim of his top hat.

"And Mr. H. will demonstrate ten somersets he'll undertake on solid ground!" Kurt sang, his voice now booming through the air and over the bleachers where Finn was sitting. "Having been some time in preparation, a splendid time is guaranteed for all! And tonight, Mr. Kite is topping the bill!"

Kurt spun in place, his coat tails whipping out for a moment before he caught Brittany's arm. Pulling back, Kurt bounced back up as if by a slingshot and fell neatly into Tina's embrace. The two of them locked arms, Kurt mirroring Tina's robotic waltz with mockingly jerky movements. He grinned widely, his teeth flashing through the dust swirling around them…

…And suddenly, Finn was staring at his bedroom ceiling, wide awake with the midmorning sunlight on his face and a low fanfare still echoing in his ears.

On any other day, Finn would have rolled over and shoved his head back under the pillows. Today, he immediately threw back the covers and strode down the hall to Kurt's room, not even bothering to knock before opening the door.

"Finn, if you want to hang out with me, you must be wearing a shirt," Kurt greeted him from where he sat at the vanity table, in the midst of his morning skincare.

"Just one question, dude," Finn promised, his hand still on the doorknob. "Do you own a top hat?"

Kurt made a face. "Uh, no?"

Finn nodded. "Okay. Good. Don't ever buy one – it's not a good look for you."

"Are you sleepwalking?"

A/N: Yeah, I really have nothing to say about this. No idea where it came from. Leave a comment if you feel like it.