When Kurt was just a small child, he was told a simple phrase by his aunt Mildred's husband. He had served in several wars before Kurt's time and wasn't the most optimistic man. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer". Kurt hadn't understood what his uncle Brent had meant by the phrase. How could a child no more than eight years old understand a phrase so pessimistic when his biggest problems amounted to which side of the playground to visit during recess?

As Kurt grew older, he started taking on a worldview very similar to his uncles. While his philosophy wasn't tempered by war and death or wisdom that advanced years bring, in a way his life was a metaphorical battleground. Dodging slushie attacks like mortar fire, avoiding enemy "hotspots" AKA the dumpsters or within a twenty foot radius of A: the slushie machine or B: the gym. Gaining intelligence through covert means. Well in his case it wasn't covert if his tormentors only had five brain cells between the lot of them, so therefor the loudly joked and bragged but most importantly they planned their attacks on himself and his friends which at the moment were few and far between.

Friends were a rare commodity at McKinley High School, a true friend was even more rare. He thought he had that with Mercedes Jones: a sassy black diva that Kurt had become close to after she busted his windshield (don't ask).

He naively thought that they would be best friends forever but time moved on and she became closer with a guy she met at a church function during the summer and as far as Kurt knew, they were still going strong after four months of dating.

'It must be easy, she isn't a fabulous gay male in the center of Homophobia USA'. Kurt felt guilty after thinking that thought. No matter how much he felt that she had betrayed him, he was still happy for her but, and this thought made his feel horrible, how could Mercedes, who to him was gorgeous, but society deemed unattractive due to her weight, snag such a hunky and beautiful bottle blond stud named Sam Evans: a transfer student from Kentucky of Tennessee, he didn't really know nor care. The point being, how could she get such a piece of eye-candy hanging off of her arm when he couldn't even find another gay guy within twenty miles of this godforsaken town. Admittedly, he hadn't really looked but he heard people's conversations. If there were another gay student at McKinley, he would have heard about him by now. He was absolutely sure of that fact.

Kurt wasn't bitter, not even a little. If he was being honest with himself, he was frustrated: mentally and sexually, melancholy and almost to the point of being disenfranchised with the whole prospect of dating. Negating the fact that he hadn't really dated anyone other than Brittany, he didn't feel that that should count considering that he didn't go into that relationship with honest intentions. If he had went into that relation with the actual intention of bedding Brittany (eww), Santana would have castrated him with a wooden cooking spoon. It's not like he needed his bits since he wasn't using them but still, they were his boys.

Kurt laughed at that thought, just knowing that that was Santana and Puck's influence. He had an odd rapport with those two. He had spent a lot of time with Santana over the summer and Puck had wormed his way in due to his strange relationship with Santana. They had dated after all, even though it was more a political relationship that actual affection, it was all about image in high school after all, but it was more than that. They had oddly bonded and become closer because Beth, Puck's biological daughter, who he had with Quinn, the mother, been put up for adoption to give her a chance at a better life despite Puck's objection that he could care for them both.

Puck had been a mess after that episode and Santana had received a call in the middle of the night from a very drunken Puck, slurring and begging to be picked up from surprisingly, Scandals: the gay bar in West Lima. Puck with his fake ID had visited every bar, dive and club in a forty mile radius and had decided to visit Scandals out of sheer curiosity and of course another place to get drunk. His logic had been that he knew Kurt, who was harmless really and who wasn't a bad guy, so he assumed (due to his pea sized jock brain Kurt was sure) that all gay guys were of a slight build, feminine and most importantly: shy enough not to make a pass at the hot mohowaked and tan guy. Boy was he wrong. He had finally cracked the next day and told Santana everything under threat of her blasting her stereo at him with his massive hangover.

He had waltzed into that bar with his expectations, to feel good about himself as all those guys would stare at him and drool, hey you can look but not touch, but all he got was a couple of blank stares and a proposition from a guy old enough to be his father. After a prompt "no" from Puck he had gotten smashed at the bar and stumbled outside to call Santana. When Santana heard this she laughed loud enough to negate the threat of the stereo entirely, seeing as she had it beat by at least ten decibels. Puck had clutched his head and did something even Santana had never seen: he blushed a deep beet red.

He mumbled "shut the hell up Satan" at her.

"Maybe you should just go after Kurt if you're looking for a tight ass, good luck getting through his steel chastity belt though".

"I'm not gay Santana, if I were I would have gone after Kurt after his 'Push It' performance last year".

Santana nodded at that statement, even she got a little tingly watching that performance and it certainly wasn't Yentl, Crips-McGee, Frankenteen or Asian Vampire and she had been surprised and a little proud to see Kurt slap an ass other than his own, even if it was with a guy who was so tall and dopey that he was a personification of Goofy himself. She would have to influence Kurt's likes slightly if she were to spend any more time with him.

She and Kurt had an interesting friendship. It had started the year before as a grudging respect and appreciation for the insults they hurled at Berry and her reindeer sweaters. Puck's friendship with Kurt had started a little rockier, namely with him slamming the door in Puck's face after Santana had surreptitiously invited him over during one of their hangout sessions at Kurt's house.

After the incident at Scandals Santana had recommended at least getting to know Kurt, if not for a relationship then for a friend with a straight guy that Kurt desperately needed. Straight guys, whether intentional or subconsciously gave Kurt a lot of extra space and the only physical contact Kurt had with them was violent when they pushed him into lockers or picked him up to throw him into the dumpsters behind the school.

After two months with Kurt, teaching him how to play video games, jogging with him every morning, teaching him how to slowly get into weight training and playing basketball, Kurt and Puck had become great friends, especially with Kurt who as a guy had a deeper understanding of his emotions, would help Puck get through his separation from Beth and how to deal better with his anger. Kurt taught Puck how to expand his mind while Puck taught Kurt how to improve his body. Puck still thinks Kurt only agreed to play basketball with Puck because puck didn't wear a jockstrap under his basketball shorts so his junk was always outlined very clearly and on prominent display. Puck always was an exhibitionist so he loved showing off his body, he didn't see it as any different with the straight guys on the team, he wouldn't have sex with any of them either but Kurt had the advantage of actually noticing it and from what Puck could tell, Kurt liked it. Puck was weird for liking the fact that even guys noticed him, even if he would never do anything sexual with them, so sue him. Puck had explained to Kurt when they first started talking that he never bullied Kurt for being gay, it was never about that in Puck's eyes, it was more to do with the fact that the team did it so he went along with it and the fact that Kurt acted like he was better than everyone else, which in turn made Puck feel like he was beneath him and hurt his self-esteem.

He also taught Kurt how to fight, Kurt had been highly resistant at first, preferring to use his voice, not his fists but he had relented after three days of constant annoyance from Puck on the subject. After two and a half months of almost constant training (they had to take several days off just to have fun with their favorite girls Santana and Brittany) Kurt had filled out very nicely. He didn't have the mass Puck did but he doubted he ever would with a frame as slight as his. He had impressive pecs and arms for someone with his frame and a small six pack that at first Kurt wouldn't have cared about, but now, he was proud of his accomplishments.

He really didn't have to worry about bullying anymore except from the occasional freshmen jock who hadn't received the memo that Kurt Hummel was off limits. Dave Karofsky had had two of his teeth knocked down his throat as well as two broke ribs after Dave had started to personally torment Kurt at the beginning of the year. After that incident, Kurt was left alone and he didn't have to worry about those foolish jocks because they punished the ones that tried to go against him.

It was a good time to be Kurt Hummel, he did silently question sometimes whether losing his past identity to become semi-popular was wise. He would quickly snuff out those thoughts though because another lesson his Uncle Brent had taught him was that change is inevitable, even personal change, you can resist it all you want but it will still come, albeit slower and harder gained. He was still a forgiving person and after the fight with Karofsky he had personally sent flowers and a card to his home, explaining that he was sorry for what he did, but he didn't regret ending the torment that was getting worse with each passing day. Karofsky had sent a letter back having gotten his address from the internet and had kindly thanked him for the flowers explaining that he was changing schools after being expelled from McKinley for the fight, which Kurt had barely been able to stay at McKinley himself for and that was only due to him having a spotless record. He divulged a secret that Kurt had theorized about but had deemed too crazy to really consider: Karofsky was just as gay as Kurt and had been lashing out at Kurt as a twisted punishment against himself. He begged Kurt not to tell anyone about this and Kurt silently agreed not to, he would never out someone no matter what they had done to him personally, it just wasn't right.

Kurt rubbed his temples to stave off the impending headache from thinking about the screwed up psychology of the human mind. He moved at a sedate pace through the halls, still thinking about his fight with Dave. His friends had been proud and even happy that he had taken the worst tormentor of the glee club down a peg or four but his father had been less than happy with him. His father had been worried about Kurt's safety first and foremost and had promised that if Kurt was in another fight, no matter how insignificant, he and Carole would send him to Dalton Academy, a zero tolerance school that was very prestigious and had alums in several important positions around the country.

Burt and Carole had been married during the summer, much to Kurt's chagrin as they had decided to go the Las Vegas and eloped removing any chance Kurt would have had to plan the wedding. It was Kurt's fault after all, he wasn't vocal about his desire to plan the wedding so they never knew he wanted a part of it. Afterward, they had told Kurt that they would have held off on the wedding if they had knew Kurt wanted to plan it, but since Kurt was always gone the whole summer, they never knew.

Back to Dalton though, Carole had heard about the academy from a doctor she works with, he had advised a boy and his parents of the school after the boy was admitted to Lima Hospital after being beaten by several boys at his old school after finding out he way gay. The doctor told them about how his own son went there and how they had a zero tolerance policy against bullying. Carole was convinced it would be great for Kurt after hearing that. Price wouldn't be an issue since Carole was an RN and his father, who owned several tire shops and garages in the state.

Kurt walked into the choir room to see that only the girls were there.

"You were fifteen minutes late so we started without you. You need to be more punctual Kurt, especially if we're going to win nationals this year".

Santana and Kurt shared an eye-roll at Rachael.

"Well where are all the guys?" Kurt asked to the group

"Spanish room" Santana said with a jerk of the head towards the door. Kurt smiled at her before winking.

"Thanks Satan" Kurt walked out the door before realizing he hadn't even thought to ask what the assignment was. 'Where is my brain today? It's certainly not where it's supposed to be. Oh well I'll just ask the guys' Kurt thought.

Kurt stepped through the door and saw the guys sitting in a semi-circle with their backs to him. He cleared his throat and caught their attention.

"Hey dude! I thought you ditched glee today" Finn said with that trademark goofy smile of his.

Another small but drastic change for Kurt was his wardrobe. He loved fashion, don't mistake him on that, but as he got stronger and more confident, he realized that he was using his clothes as a shield against the outside world. He dressed outlandishly to get attention and deep down to be noticed in the wrong way since he was so unhappy with himself. He had felt he deserved it, even if he fought tooth and nail against it.

Now he wore much simpler clothing, he realized he liked the skater look for its simplicity and splashes of bright colors, depending on the brand of course, there were a lot of them. It was simple but with amazing shoes and most days he wore a beanie, not worrying as much over his hair, although it was oh so touchably soft. He had let it grow out and dyed the tips black for a pop of color and mystique. He still did his entire moisturizing routine, thank you very much, but most of his old habits had faded away.

The last physical change had been to get rid of his contacts, he was always losing them anyways and the classic black frames made him look a lot smarter not that he had a problem in that aspect considering he was in the top five percent in the entire district but still he wasn't worried.

"What's the assignment?" Kurt asked to the group.

"Guys vs. Girls week with an emphasis on preparing for sectionals, We've already figured since you don't like working with the guys that you should go spy on the Garglers!" Puck said with a proud look on his face like it was all his idea.

"Warblers" Kurt corrected offhandedly.

"Whatever, anyways, you've been saying you wanted to check out Dalton to see to see if you would be interested, this is the perfect excuse! Besides that school is crawling with gays, you'd fit right in! Don't forget that you're there to spy, not get a date" Puck said with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

Kurt nodded before punching Puck on the arm and laughed when Puck hissed and put on an expression of a constipated toddler, usually a look reserved for one Finn Hudson-Hummel.

"What was that for?" Puck whined.

Kurt sniffed and said "That was for being insensitive you prick, and FYI I'm in".

"What about school? Are you going to skip the rest of the day to go out there?" Finn asked.

"Yeah, I don't see the point in staying here all day learning absolutely nothing and besides, I've got the absences to spare, just please don't tell Dad and Carole" Finn nodded at Kurt and smiled.

Noah puckered his lips and made kissing noises, Kurt smiled again and whacked him upside the head. Puck groaned and as Kurt left the room, he could swear he heard Noah mutter "I've created a monster". Kurt smirked and continued on his way towards the car and in turn Dalton.