Hello again, lovely readers!

We're back with another chapter for you and would once again like to thank everyone who's sticking with us on this crazy ride :D We love you guys!

It's important to note here that neither of us know ANYTHING about American football and this WILL be apparent xD
We're very sorry… Buuuuut… it did make for some awesome inspiration for a certain conversation between two equally clueless characters later on…. It was basically a word for word account of what we went back and forth on when trying to work the game out for ourselves and its probably all still wrong xD

So enjoy!

Love A&M

"Please hold a second, Miss. Jones," the young butler spoke politely into the phone speaker and turned towards the stairs where two figures were stumbling down, giggling and fighting for a breath as the brunette one recounted a story that was obviously hilarious to a slim, tall blonde.

Theo watched them for a second, a small smile on his face as he took in how at ease they seemed with each other, relaxed and trusting, the way they just couldn't seem to allow themselves to be around others.

The brunette, Kurt, was a breath of fresh air at the Anderson manner; sweet and polite and always butting in and trying to help cleaning, demanding that he liked it and that it made him feel better. The house staff indulged him more often than not because he was infectious when he laughed and he was so pure and unspoiled by rudeness and darkness of the world he grew up in. He almost seemed like he inhaled all the kindness while the bad just rolled off of his pale skin.

He was a joy to be around and, cleaning or not, the maids usually felt happier when he was there.

His friend, Jeff, was still a mystery to them all; quiet and reserved in front of everyone, but silly and giggly with Kurt by his side. His personality seemed almost like it dimmed along with the mark on his neck that they all respectfully didn't talk about, but flashes of it showed that he used to be a prankster, wild imagination and crazy ideas included.

Theo wished he would find a way to be that person again, as he seemed like someone who would make an amazing friend, if his wives opinion was anything to go by. She had managed to wrestle a few words here and there with the blonde when he stopped by and she swore up and down he was the sweetest thing.

The butler hoped things turned out for the better for him. The laugh he could hear right now deserved to be heard more often.

"Master, Kurt. There's a Miss Jones on the phone for you," he called out to the sub when he came all the way down the stairs and Kurt reached to take the phone from him scowling dramatically in exasperation.

"For the millionth time Theo it's just, Kurt," he rolled his eyes at the butler who nodded in amused agreement and then put the phone to his ear. "Hi Cedes. What's up?"

"Hey, Master Kurt," she giggled and Kurt stuck his tongue out as if she could see him.

"Oh ha ha. Very clever," he drawled and she chuckled madly, obviously very impressed by her own wit.

Jeff stood by him giggling lightly as he could hear what she was saying.

"Anyway…I know we couldn't met up over the weekend but I was calling to tell you that my dad will be driving to Westerville tomorrow so we could meet up at a coffee shop or something so you don't have to drive all the way here. If you want?" she asked and Kurt turned to Jeff in question.

The blonde mouthed, "It's okay with me," and Kurt turned back to the phone.

"What about school? The seniors have tomorrow off because there's this big math competition, but you still have classes right?" Kurt asked curiously. Thad had been talking about this competition for a while now, cramming for it all of Monday and Tuesday, Ryan was getting quite put out.

"My dad said I could have the rest of the week off to pack and stuff since I'm moving into Sam's on Friday," she explained.

"Oh my god, it's so close!" Kurt grinned, bouncing on his toes for her happily. "Okay, well I'll have to clear it with Blaine but it should be okay. What time?" he asked eagerly.

"My dad has to be there at around eleven in the morning, so he'll drop me off at a café near the theatre. We could meet there at quarter to eleven?" she answered and he nodded at Jeff to check it out.

"Sure. I'll have to inform Blaine, but we'll be there," he said and the exchanged a few more words before he hung up the phone.

"Inform Blaine of what?" came a teasing voice from the doorway as Blaine entered the house, stripping out of his coat and gliding across the tiled floor to crash Kurt into a bear hug.

The brunette giggled before pecking his lips and wrapping his fingers around Blaine's. "Mercedes called to tell us her dad has some stuff to do here tomorrow so she would be coming here instead of us driving there. We're supposed to meet her at quarter to eleven at the café next to the theatre. Is that okay?" he asked and Blaine smiled nodding his head as he played with Kurt' fingers.

"Of course it is. Whatever works for you, lovely it's your day off to do whatever you want to, I'll be stuck at the studio for most of the day tomorrow. As a matter of fact there was something that I wanted to give you and now would be a good time to do it so you can use it tomorrow with Jeff and Mercedes," Blaine said as the three of them made their way over to the living room and sat down on the comfy sofas.

"What is it?" Kurt asked sounding nervous and curious at the same time.

Blaine reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, plastic, black rectangle and handed it to Kurt who took it a gasped at the sight of it.

"Blaine…w-what…." He stuttered, staring at it in wonder and Blaine smiled. "I can't take this!"

"Kurt, it's my job to provide for you now that you're my sub. You're still in high school and I run a business that brings me enough money to take care of you. When you finish school and start working you can refuse to use it all you want but for now, that credit card is yours and you will use it for whatever you like. Got it?" he asked in a mock stern voice and Kurt nodded dumbly, turning the little plastic card between his fingers deftly.

"So why did you say I could use it tomorrow?" he asked biting his lip.

"Well there's a really cool, little known mall close by the café you're going to so you could maybe take your friends shopping. My treat," he smiled and Jeff's eyes widened in shock.

"That's not necessary sir…I mean Blaine I…" he started but Blaine threw him a pointed glare.

"There's really no use in arguing. I took responsibility for you the moment I had you transferred to Dalton. And even if I didn't, I want you guys to have fun. Buy some clothes. Be eighteen and spend money on stupid stuff you don't really need. It's part of growing up. Just go with it," he said and Kurt shook his head.

"You're not gonna let this go until we really do it, are you?" he asked and Blaine beamed leaning over to peck him on the nose.

"My baby knows me so well. Anyway I gotta go, we have a huuuuge contract to draw for one of our artists. You two have fun and Kurt, lovely, don't forget we have dinner plans tonight," he winked as he pressed his lips to Kurt once more, only this time on his lips tenderly and then made his way towards the door.

"Where are you taking me?" Kurt asked in a burst of sheer optimism, knowing Blaine would never tell him.

"It's a surprise," Blaine answered cheekily over his shoulder and Kurt pouted.

"Sure it is," he scowled and Jeff huffed out a laugh as Blaine closed the door behind him leaving them alone in the living room.

"Sooo…" Kurt started, waving the card in front of his friend. "You up for some shopping tomorrow?"

"Well…the man said we had to so…I guess it would be rude not to…right?" he raised innocent eyes to his friend and Kurt laughed loudly a little giddy at the prospect.

"I love the way you think mister Sterling."

The sun was bright in the sky, unusually warm and shiny for late fall, as Kurt and Jeff strode towards the tiny quaint café, squeezed between a huge imposing theatre building and the empty house currently being redecorated into a gallery of some sort.

They both smiled widely when they saw their friend standing in front of their car chatting with her dad through the window of the ratty old Volvo, paint chipped off and the metal beat and a little rusted.

"Cedes!" they yelled and slammed into her, sandwiching her in between them as they jumped crazily up and down, earning amused chuckles from the by-passers.

"Guys, guys, you are crushing my girls and let me tell you, Sam will not be happy about it…" she joked and the two of them let her go instantly, "ew-ing" exaggeratedly at her girl parts.

"Not something I wanted to hear," came a gruff voice from the car and all of a sudden the three of them remembered that Mercedes' dad was still there, listening in to their conversation.

Blushing furiously but chuckling like idiots Kurt and Jeff waved awkwardly.

"Hi, Mister Jones. Good to see you," Kurt greeted and the man smiled waving back.

"Hi boys. Nice to see you too. Dalton seems to be treating you well, you look great," he complimented, not a hint of jealousy or malice in his voice and Kurt beamed at him.

"Thank you. So how long can we keep her?" Jeff asked, happy to be in the company of someone familiar and kind to him.

"I'll be running errands almost all day so you definitely have enough time to catch up," he answered checking the watch on his wrist. "I have to get going now. Kurt, do you have a phone by any chance?"

"Um yeah. Blaine got me one so we can keep in touch. Why?" he frowned but realization dawned on him when Mercedes' dad stuck his own phone out the window.

"Could you program your number? I'll call when I'm done and pick her up," he explained and Kurt nodded punching his number in and giving himself a ring to save the man's number.

"Okay kids. You have fun and be careful, ring me if you have any problems," he advised sternly, rolling up the window and driving away, the dust from the street puffing behind him as the three of them bounced into another enthusiastic hug.

"Oh I missed you guys so much. So coffee?" she asked and Kurt drew back, smirking deviously.

"Actually, Blaine gave me something he really wants us to use today so I was thinking we could…" he trailed off, pulling the small plastic rectangle from his pocket and waving it in front of her. "…buy some stuff."

Her eyes bugged out and she gaped at him like a fish out of water for a moment before molding her features into a normal expression again.

"Kurt…we can't just spend his money like that," she sighed and he slumped down.

"Ugh I know…I was hoping you'll be the unreasonable one for once and jump at the opportunity so I don't have to feel bad about this." He sighed and she chuckled at him. "But the thing is…he really wanted me to use it. So I thought we could window shop and if we see something we really like we could get it? That way he'll be happy and we won't feel bad."

Jeff and Mercedes looked at each other and then back at him, smiles firmly on their faces.

"I hate it when you ruin my morals with your logic," Jeff grumbled dramatically and they all laughed as they made their way towards a small mall that Blaine suggested arm in arm.

Upon entering they realized what made it so different from the rest of them.

It was in a secluded area, hidden behind larger buildings and the amount of people it was just enough to make if feel cozy and lively without making it seem suffocating and cramped.

The stores were pretty much the same as everywhere but the salespeople seemed much less stressed out due to the relaxed atmosphere, which made them ready to help out in the quest to find the right sizes and colors.

And help they did.

The three of the started off timidly, unused to having money to actually contemplate whole outfits and looking for aesthetics before practicality and endurance. They browsed the shops at length, trying out an odd item here and there and walking out without buying a single article of clothing.

Until Jeff tried a black shirt that made Kurt question his loyalty to Blaine with how hot he looked in it. Kurt insisted on buying it and it kind of spiraled from there.

Jeans to go with the new shirt, Jeff's renewed love for beanies making him look positively delectable, a new dress for Mercedes to celebrate moving in with Sam in a few weeks that demanded shoes and sexy underwear to go with it; as well as an outfit for Sam to match the beauty that was Mercedes in her new clothes.

Kurt beamed as he saw his friends happy and excited, perusing the racks and picking out items and holding them up for him to judge and pair with stuff that matched, all the while talking him into buying stuff for himself as well, which he did…kind of.

He bought himself a new pajama set and some face crème at the beauty supplies shop but he didn't really need a lot of stuff since Blaine and Jared had pretty much covered most angles at the start of the bond and he felt happier knowing that the money went into something amazing like making his friends happy.

After a bit of a debate with himself as he tried to figure it if it would be rude to use the card and get his parents some new winter clothes, Kurt decided that he would just do it and send the clothes back with Mercedes and deal with the potential consequences when and if they came.

He walked into a store with reasonably priced clothes and picked out a nice dark brown coat with old gold colored buttons for Carol, combining it with some pastel colored warm sweatshirts and two pairs of jeans he knew would fit her perfectly.

He chose a black sports jacket for his fashion frightened father, along with a few winter button downs, as well as some comfy looking pants.

He swiped the card and punched in his pin, a heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach as he thought of how Blaine would react to what he had done, he didn't think he'd actually be mad, it was just the shred of uncertainty that he knew he had a habit of blowing out of proportion. But the fact was, he just couldn't pass the opportunity up to buy his family the things they needed and he was ready to face whatever awaited for him when he got home.

Giving his friends a reassuring smile he stepped out of the shop and distributed the bags so he didn't have to haul everything on his own, and together they continued on their way. As they walked they came across a tiny, little, hole in the wall shop that looked like it had fallen out of another time…a time of cavaliers and smoky jazz clubs with curvy women caressing the microphones in their glittery dresses.

The window display showed off top hats and walking canes with engraved handles and a rack filled with ties and bowties in every color and pattern imaginable. A light gray one with burgundy flecks caught his eye and his mind snapped to the image of Blaine wearing a burgundy shirt that made him look so sexy and desirable.

He tried to imagine the whole wardrobe his Dom allowed him to snoop through and he couldn't remember seeing a bowtie that would go with that particular shirt… Almost in a trance he walked in and picked the piece of silk in his hand, marveling the lightness and smoothness of the material.

Smiling to himself he nodded in determination and walked over to the cash register to pay for the tie.

"Excellent choice. Burgundy goes well with your skin tone," a voice startled him from imagining Blaine in that drool inducing shirt and he snapped his head up finding lecherous grey eyes staring at him in a way that made him unsettled and wary. They were much too reminiscent of his days back in McKinley High to be comfortable.

The guy couldn't be older than twenty five, with a sandy blonde hair flopping around his face in curls almost as crazy as Blaine's, but they weren't as nice and soft looking…or maybe Kurt was just biased.

"Wha…oh…no…it's not for me. It's a gift," he smiled nervously, but taking in the way those eyes raked down his body he stilled himself and pushed his chin up proudly. "My Dom adores bowties."

The grey eyes narrowed and the man licked his lips suggestively.

"Well…isn't he a lucky one to have such a thoughtful sub…buying him gifts, being all hot and innocent looking…" the man drawled and Kurt felt his hand shake as he clutched the tie in his fingers.

"I…can you just charge me so I can go. I'm in a hurry," he rushed out, regretting the decision to go into that store now.

"What's the hurry? We're just getting to know each other, beautiful." The man stood up and Kurt realized he was almost a foot taller than he was, bulky and muscly and downright huge.

"My Dom is waiting for me," he said trying to get him to back off, hoping the mentions of his Dom would turn him away. It seemed to have the opposite effect.

"He won't mind sharing," the man whispered and he touched his finger to Kurt's cheek making him flinch and his stomach to turn over horribly, just when someone bustled into the store.

"I think he told you he had a Dom," a familiar voice interrupted and Kurt whipped his head up to see Ryan towering over them both with his oversized body and a scowl on his face that just didn't fit onto his, usually cute and friendly, face.

Kurt's blood froze and he stood there, unable to move.

"Kurt, buddy you okay?" Ryan asked placing himself between the shocked sub and the creepy Dom who got the point and went back behind the counter glaring at the tall footballer.

"I j-just wanted to get B-Blaine a gift…I" he stammered and the name that fell from his lips made the clerk gasp.

"You're Blaine Anderson's sub?" he asked in dread and Ryan smirked.

"The one and only. Boy, I can't wait to tell him about this. Now pack up the tie and make sure it's nicely wrapped. Blaine, is quite the diva when it comes to his gifts," Ryan said, laying it on thick as he hugged Kurt around the shoulders and watched in sadistic amusement as the clerk wrapped the tie in a pretty, dark grey box with a black ribbon around it and handed it to them.

"It's…it's on the house…" he started but Kurt snapped back from his shock and handed the card over haughtily, fighting past his fear and managing it like he usually did… with bitchiness.

"That won't change a thing. I'll pay for the tie and you'll pay for what you did," he informed him and Ryan hollered in laughter as the blonde Dom took the card and handed Kurt the bill.

"Niiice…" Ryan held a hand for a high five and Kurt slapped his hand halfheartedly as they left the store and the desperate clerk who looked like he was on the edge of his nerves.

"Thanks," Kurt blushed, calming down more the further they got away though there was a huge part of him that was calling out for Blaine right now, urging him to go find him. They got out and he looked around to find Jeff and Mercedes exiting the store next to the one he was just in.

"No problem man," Ryan smiled easily and Kurt was once again floored by how genuinely nice the huge boy was.

"What are you doing here anyway?" he asked just as his friends joined them and he made quick introductions.

"Thad won his math competition…again…and he insisted we celebrate so all the college students cut class today. Honestly you'd think he works for it how much he insists on celebrating, when in reality he just shows up and everybody else just gets frustrated and dies because he knows everything," he sighed faking exasperation, but the pride in his voice almost made him glow.

"He was studying pretty hard last time I saw him," Kurt told him absently, concentrating on getting his shivering body back under control.

Ryan shook his head. "It's how he deals with his nerves, just crams everything a couple days before even though he isn't taking much in. My boy already knows it."

"So where's he now?" Kurt frowned looking around.

"Oh he's with a bunch of other people at the diner on the second floor. I had some family stuff to do straight after watching his competition so I just got here and I spotted you through the window, thought I might as well say hi and invite you to join when that guy was an asshole so…" he smiled, rubbing the back of his neck and Kurt smiled back gratefully, ignoring the curious looks Mercedes and Jeff were throwing him by waving a hand and mouthing, "I'll tell you later," in their direction.

"Oh cool. We were just about to grab something to eat as well," Kurt said and Ryan beamed at him.

"You should join us, like I said I was gonna invite you anyway because I'm sure Thad would want you guys there. I mean if you want, no pressure," he explained and Kurt shook his head.

"No it's okay. Mercedes is here just for the day and-" he started but the girl waved him off.

"I'm cool with it if Jeff is. I'd love to meet everyone," she said and Jeff nodded slightly, still somewhat intimidated by the tall boy.

"Okay then, I guess we'll join you," Kurt smiled, dimmer than it would normally be but still genuine because he wanted to shake out of this and enjoy the rest of his day.

Ryan fist pumped.

"Awesome. Thad will be delirious, he keeps talking about you, Jeff," he informed the blonde, receiving a brief half smile.

"Y-yeah we have classes together so we t-talk sometimes. He's a great g-guy," Jeff stuttered out and Ryan beamed at him proudly.

"My little geek is the best," he boasted, puffing up. "Okay let's go. Here…I'll take that," he said and snatched all of their bags in one hand, impressive bicep straining as he lugged their stuff up the stairs, chatting up a storm with Mercedes who was always a football fan so they found common ground right away, leaving Kurt and Jeff to snicker as they walked behind them.

They climbed onto the third floor of the mall that barely had any stores, and was instead littered with food stands and long tables with benches, booths and high chairs and packed with smiling masses enjoying their meals and chatting loudly.

A burst of laughter caught their attention and they chuckled when they saw the group of Warblers and a few other people they didn't know sitting around three joined tables and cackling at Thad who wore a crooked paper crown proclaiming him, 'Math nerd king' to the world.

"Look at the idiot," Ryan laughed, but the tone in his voice and the love radiating from every pore of his skin made it known he thought the world of the tiny sub.

"You love him though," Kurt teased and Ryan grinned at him happily.

"More than life," he said simply and guided them to the tables, careful not to jostle and step on someone.

"Ry!" the nerd king cried when he saw him and launched himself over his friends landing straight into the bigger boy's arms, wrapping arms and legs around him like an adorable koala bear. All the bags went dropping to the floor. "You made it."

His smile was so happy, so open and thrilled that the rest of their friends looked away to give them a moment of privacy. Honestly, the sight made him miss Blaine fiercely, the few hours they'd spent apart making themselves known suddenly with the empty ache in his chest, a hot prickly feeling over his skin. The situation with that Dom didn't help either and now his phone was burning a hole in his pocket, crying out for him to call his Dom to take him home and make him feel better.

"For you geeky? To the end of the world. I'm so proud of you," he said fondly and Thad leaned in to kiss his lips gently, before hopping down and glancing behind his Dom smile widening when he saw a mop of familiar platinum hair.

"Oh hi guys. So glad you came too," he said sincerely and the trio couldn't help but smile at his friendly face and his obvious excitement.

"Hey, Thad. Yeah we met Ryan downstairs and he invited us to join you. If that's okay?" he said suddenly nervous as he took in various people he realized he didn't know.

"Of course it's okay. Let me introduce you to everyone while Ryan brings another table here," he said and blinked sweetly at his Dom. "Go. Put those muscles to good use."

Ryan mock scowled at him and rolled his eyes. "I thought those were for hauling your skinny ass around," he teased and Thad smiled winningly back at him.

"Well today they're for hauling tables. Now go," he waved him off and Ryan threw his arms up in exasperation as he stalked off to drag a table and a few chairs, gesturing to the newcomers to sit down while he sat next to them and pulled Thad onto his lap making him squeal.

"Okay. Guys this is Kurt he's Blaine's sub, his best friend Jeff and I don't know the pretty girl over there but I'm sure she'll tell us her name," he smiled and Mercedes chuckled before nodding to the people around her.

"Hi. I'm Mercedes. Kurt's friend from Lima," she introduced, voice faltering as she said where she was from; suddenly very aware of the fact that people around her were wealthy, posh, classy and so not used to hanging out with the likes of her.

"I am so jealous right now," a sudden whine came from a beautiful blonde girl sitting next to a tall dark skinned boy and Mercedes looked up in surprise, worries of being laughed at chased away in front of a sudden feeling of confusion.

"What?" she asked and the girl waved a hand in her direction.

"What do you mean what? BOOBS WOMAN! And don't even get me started on your skin. It's not fair. David, I want boobs like that," she pouted and the rest of the table roared with laughter leaving the three newcomers to shrug in confusion.

"That would be, Corinne. David's sub. Knowing him you couldn't have expected her to be any different now could you?" Thad laughed and the blonde girl stuck her tongue out at him.

"No I guess not," Kurt said gently and David stuck his hand out for Kurt to high five as Corinne scowled.

"Well fine. See if you get any tonight. Who's the pretty blonde?" she asked dismissing her Dom and pointing at Jeff and the blonde boy blushed and looked down.

"This is my new friend, Jeff. He's Kurt's best friend and he's in some of my classes," Thad rattled off and there was a chorus of, "Hi Jeff's" around the table before they settled down so Thad could introduce the other girl Kurt was unfamiliar with and to present the rest of the Warblers to Mercedes.

"Mercedes first of all hi I'm, Thad," he stuck her hand at her and she shook it with a chuckle.

"I got that yeah," she teased and he laughed as he turned to the table.

"You also know my Dom Ryan and Corinne. Her Dom is David, next to him mister party breaker himself Wes and his amazing sub who we still don't know why she puts up with him, Miriam. The guy next to her is Trent and then we have Jon, Sebastian and Dave. A few more people should join us at some point I think, though Blaine can't come but Kurt's probably already told you why," he finished off and they all said hello and shook hands as best as they could through the mass of limbs coming out at once and ended up laughing when they realized it wouldn't work so they settled for waving at each other like idiots, that of course, being David's idea.

"So…you're the famous, Kurt. I have to say you're even prettier in person," Miriam complimented and Kurt blushed cutely. "I can see why Blaine was so taken with you. He always was holding out for someone special."

"Um…thanks." He replied, not really knowing how to behave in a situation like that, or how to react when he was reminded of just how big of a deal Blaine claiming him really was, and she smiled at him warmly, making him suddenly very aware of why she would capture someone's attention. "Wes got pretty lucky himself."

At first sight she was average looking, especially next to Corinne who looked like a blonde goddess stepped down from Olympus. Miriam had light brown hair and chocolate coloured eyes, her skin was pale but healthy looking and she was smallish in build. All in all she was almost unnoticeable, someone you'd see and forget you saw in five minutes.

But then she smiled and suddenly Kurt knew that right there, was what made Wes fall for her. Her smile was so friendly, so trustworthy and warm that he couldn't help but smile back at her and like her instantly. She had the type of smile everyone envied, a Julia Roberts type smile that just lit up the space around her.

"We both did well," she demurred leaning into her Dom and Kurt almost gasped at the sight of Wes' usually harder than stone face, relaxing as he practically melted into her, kissing her temple and smiling when she took his hand.

"He still did better," David teased and Corinne caught him in the ribs with her elbow.

"Please. Like I didn't settle for you," she huffed and the whole table broke into laughter that eased the nerves that came with meeting new people and before any of them realized they were breaking into smaller groups to talk about various things.

Kurt glanced around the table smiling when he saw Thad scurrying away when Dave and Ryan started discussing tactics for the upcoming game, Wes and Sebastian engaged in an incredibly boring conversation involving stocks and trust funds with Miriam who, apparently, was a finance major and a perspective one at that.

He turned to find Corinne talking to Jeff and Mercedes and he pushed away his antsy feelings to join in talking about fashion and art, the blonde girl doing her best to rope Jeff into talking when she somehow weaselled out the information about him liking to dance.

"I'm the cheerleader captain at Dalton. You should totally help us with choreography. Lana is amazing but after four years it all looks the same. We need fresh ideas," she bounced excitedly and Jeff looked down trying to avoid answering that question as it sounded so amazing but he had stretched himself so far already with joining the Warblers and letting the others see him, as well as taking up drawing again... he didn't want to jump in too soon, too fast.

"So Mercedes tell us a bit about you," Miriam asked in a pleasant voice as she took a break from her debate with the two guys and there was no way someone would deny her a thing with how sweet she seemed.

Behind the two of them Kurt could see Corinne trying to show Jeff something that seemed to be a salsa move and smiled to see his best friend interacting more openly and freely.

"Oh I don't really know what to say. Not that interesting of a person I guess," she shrugged picking at the corner of the table and Miriam frowned bucking her shoulder into hers.

"I don't believe that for a second. Now spill. Hobbies? Boys? Girls?" she fired the questions and Mercedes chuckled obviously liking the girl just as much as Kurt did.

"I…I like kids, I guess teaching preschoolers would be something I'd have loved to do. And I have a Dom, Sam. We're…we're actually moving in together in a few days," she admitted voice careful and quiet as Miriam stared at her attentively.

"Well that's amazing! When did you guys bond?" she enthused, shifting closer and Kurt gasped silently when he saw Mercedes' face close off and her fingers clutch the cup of her chocolate shake tightly.

"We…we aren't. We're trying to save for it but we're pretty much aware of the fact that we can't ever have enough money for that," she shrugged and Miriam covered her lips with her fingers.

"Pretty much everyone in Lima grows up knowing that," Kurt told her quietly and Miriam stared between them.

"But how can you…" she started, but Mercedes cut her off.

"I know what you're about to ask and the answer is I can't. I can't know that he won't leave tomorrow and I won't have a say in it. I can't be sure. But it's….it's the best we can get and I love him. For now he loves me too. It's enough," she admitted and shrugged, she had made her peace with that fact, but it was like her words had magical powers if the way the three tables went silent as they listened to her. Sebastian's face a hard scowl but Kurt could see him gripping Dave's hand as if to make sure he was still there, and Thad's eyes went a little glassy with sorrow as he clung to Ryan in silent despair.

I want Blaine, Kurt thought to himself for what seemed like the hundredth time now as he shivered. What would have happened if he hadn't been at The Showing that day? It was something he rarely let himself think about anymore but it was brought to the forefront of his mind now.

They all suddenly became painfully aware that if life went a different route, it could have been them who were poor and unable to bond with the person they loved and it seemed every bonded couple shifted closer to their other halves in voiceless gratitude.

"That's horrible."

It was Miriam who broke the silence, face sad and fingers shaking but something in her eyes struck Kurt as wild and passionate. She shifted from a fragile, sweet girl into a warrior in an instant and whatever caused the change Kurt thanked it, because seeing her like that made it all the more clear as to why someone like Wes would pick her.

She looked invincible.

"It's the way it is," Mercedes shrugged, trying to get the attention off of her.

"A lot could be done and there are ways. Trust me. I don't know if you knew but I'm a finance major. I am basing my master thesis on the premise that wealth can and should be distributed in a way that would erase castes as we know them now and form a society of equals. It's nowhere near done but I will use you and Sam as a driving force to make it as applicable as possible. Maybe not tomorrow or in five years but I promise you someday people will be able to live the way they see fit. Not the way their income allows them," she stated fiercely and the group gapped at her in admiration while soft tears sprang from Mercedes' eyes.

The atmosphere turned somber and the silence fell over them, weighing on their shoulders and twisting in their gut…until David turned to Corinne and waved in Miriam's direction.

"Why can you do badass stuff like that?"

Kurt gaped, thinking he insulted her, but the blonde girl glared at him for a second before flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder.

"I can do a double backflip," she smirked and David stared momentarily before nodding.

"We all do our part I guess." They all laughed at that and within seconds the mood changed back to merry as they devoured their meals and joked with each other.

It wasn't until a mess of silky dark hair appeared from the escalator that Kurt felt Jeff stiffen from where he had ended up pressed next to him, staring at the small clearing between the tables they occupied.

Looking up Kurt gripped Jeff's hand and whispered encouragements into his ear as the man came closer and closer.

"Nicky!" Thad yelled and everybody turned to greet the dark haired Dom cheerfully.

But those warm brown eyes only saw one person.


"H-hey guys. Hi, Kurt," he greeted before his gaze settled gently onto the blonde's face and he smiled. "Hi, Jeff."

His voice was velvet and Jeff was drowning in it, heart thundering and fingers shaking as he nodded his greeting back and returned his eyes to his lap, body tense and shivering.

Nick's face saddened at the sight, brows coming together for a second before he smoothed them out and faked a smile as he sat at the table, as far from Jeff as he could, trying to answer the questions and appear casual and happy but his eyes failed him. The spark dull and dark.

And the sunshine gone from his smile made Jeff want to hide away and cry.

"Please Kurt, can we go?" he asked gently and seeing how the day was already tiring for Jeff and he himself was jumping out of his skin anyway he relented, excusing them and dragging a confused Mercedes away, heavy bags and all, missing Nick's plea of, "Drop it guys," and a pair of warm, brilliant eyes shifting between the blonde sub and the distressed Dom at their table.

Away from the crowd Mercedes turned to look at them both, hands on her hips.

"Okay, someone explain what the hell just happened?" she demanded with an arched brow.

Kurt looked to Jeff because it was his story to tell after all and Jeff winced before leading them out of the mall and into a small coffee shop next to the theatre to sit down and explain the whole thing. After it was done, Mercedes was left a little speechless.

"Are you sure you don't to hit that, boo?" was what she said eventually and there was a brief moment of shock before all three of them fell about their booth laughing.

"Mercedes!" Jeff gasped.

"What?" she giggled. "He was hot! I was just making sure!"

"I am sure," Jeff decided and Kurt didn't comment on the quiver in his voice that told him he was lying. "Nick will find someone else and that will be that."

The mood got a little somber after that and they finished their drinks, calling Mercedes dad to let him know they were done, happy in one another's company but all eager to get home for different reasons.

"Blaine?" he called out when he entered the manor, heavy bags cutting off the circulation in his palms and his feet aching from all the walking they did that day.

He had fun with his friends, he had missed them hanging together so much, but the sudden peace and content spreading through him as soon as he stepped inside the foyer made him realize he would always miss Blaine more; he would always need him closer.

That prickly, stingy feeling along his spine lessened as he took in the now familiar foyer echoing the comforting steps of his Dom rushing to greet him a huge smile on his face making him feel loved and wanted.

"Hi, lovely. Did you have a good time?" Blaine asked, looking gorgeous in some simply skinny black jeans and a Dalton hoody, as he scooped him up into his arms and, ignoring his surprised squeak, carried him into the living room.

"Blaaaine…I can walk by myself you know?" he whined in mock petulance at the habit his Dom had picked up of carrying him around like a baby. Blaine just waved it off of course because he was just that endearingly annoying.

"I like having you in my arms. Deal with it. So did you have a good time?" he asked again and Kurt huffed a smile as he wrapped himself around his Dom on the soft sofa when they collapsed down into it.

"Yeah. It was really fun thank you," he said trying to figure out how to tell him everything that happened without having him getting mad and blaming him. "How was work?"

Blaine shrugged playing at the belt loops just above his ass. "Nothing exciting, just a lot of writing and double checking. I'm more interested in what you got up to. What did my boy buy? I wanna see," he bounced a little in his seat like an eager puppy and Kurt felt his heart constrict at the inquiry.

He bought pajamas and face crème, nothing groundbreaking… plus a bunch of stuff that were on their way to Lima at that exact moment.

"I thought you didn't like fashion," he teased weakly to buy himself some time and Blaine stuck his tongue out childishly.

"I like you talking about fashion," he corrected and Kurt knew there was no way out...not that he exactly wanted to get out of it. He wanted to tell Blaine, he was just a little apprehensive.

"Okay um…don't be mad…." he started and Blaine's forehead creased in confusion and a little concern.

"Why would I be mad?" he asked cautiously and Kurt curled in on himself as much as he could with straddling Blaine's lap, picking at the hem of his sweater- well Blaine's sweater- that he wore every time Blaine wasn't around him for a long extent of time. It kept him grounded and comforted, the idea of being surrounded by Blaine as well as the scent and it seemed to make Blaine so happy he would almost purr when he saw him in it.

"Kurt, baby?" he prodded when the sub remained silent and Kurt lifted his eyes up.

"I…I didn't get much for myself…I…" he swallowed then launched straight in. "We were walking around and Mercedes and Sam are moving in together so I got them some nice clothes to make the event special for them and I got some stuff for Jeff too because it was the first time in a long time I saw him looking into the mirror and liking what he saw and then we went passed this store for grown ups and it got me thinking about how it's getting colder and so I got some winter clothes for my dad and Carole because she spent half of last winter with a runny nose and coughing and I know I shouldn't have used your money for that but then it was there and I couldn't not do it so I didn't get stuff for me," he paused only briefly to catch a breath.

"Well I got new pajamas and a crème but that's all, so it evened out in the end because you said I could buy stuff for me and Mercedes and Jeff, but I didn't get stuff for me so I didn't spend a whole lot and I also got you a present…" he yammered and Blaine was torn between being amused and laughing his ass off at how cute Kurt was when he ranted like that, his usual diva stance completely forgotten as he babbled. But then something else hit that broke through the mirth. The fact that he still feared Blaine would fault him for caring so much about his friends and family.

"Kurt, stop. Just stop," he halted the flood of words and Kurt snapped his lips shut tightly, fingers trembling and his bottom lip pushing out just a tiny bit.

"Sorry," he whispered and Blaine scooted him closer on his lap, arms going around his waist and hugging him tightly to his chest.

"Never, ever apologize for thinking and taking care of your family, lovely. Now you have the means to do it, you just need to say the word and they will have it. A new house, a car, new clothes, anything. And not because you're gonna give up the things you want to get them that, but because you're mine now and that makes your family my family as well," he explained gently, meaning every word.

"I'm glad you got them warmer clothes to wear and I'm proud of you for being thoughtful and trying to save the money by not buying things for you. But sweetie, we have money…more than enough of it and so far I haven't given it much thought because it was never a problem around here and I was blind enough to keep myself in the dark about how other people lived but that's gonna change. Now that you're here with me I don't want you wishing for things that you can have. Okay?" he asked and Kurt stared at him wide eyed for a moment before letting out a loud exhale, slumping into his arms.

"You're not angry?" he asked in a tiny voice and Blaine shook his head with a smile.

"Not even a little bit. I think the fact that you said you got me something helps," he joked to break the tension and Kurt jumped to his feet, running out of the room and coming back soon after with a gray boy, handing it to his Dom with a sharp tinge of nervousness gripping at his stomach as he sat next to him.

What if he hated it?

But Blaine was cheering childishly and tugging at the bow in excitement as he tore of the lid of the box and gasped as he took in the classy, yet playful bowtie.

"Baby…" he breathed out and Kurt shrugged self-consciously.

"It's um…to go with that shirt you have…the burgundy one…I…I like…." he trailed off not really sure how to say it without embarrassing himself.

"You like..?" Blaine prompted and Kurt blushed a deep red, looking down at his lap.

"I like the way you look in it. Your arms…" he said quietly running his hand over his bicep gently and Blaine drew in a sharp breath at the admission, feeling his chest swell with pride at the thought his sub admired a piece of clothing on him so much, he got him an accessory for it.

"I'll make sure to get at least ten more of those so I can wear them all the time. With this amazing bowtie that I love. Thank you, beautiful," he said and then flinched in shock when Kurt stiffened at the nickname and jumped away from him as if burned.

"Lovely…Kurt, what's wrong?" he asked worry etched into his face as he tried to come closer to his sub who was now full on trembling and wrapping his arms around his middle.

"W-when I went to get you that…there was this…um…Dom working there…a-and he…" he whispered timidly and Blaine face hardened into something that frightened him so much he had let the sentence die out on his lips.

"He what, Kurt?" Blaine asked sternly, and Kurt flinched. He wanted nothing more than for Blaine to make it better but he had to get this over with first before that was even possible.

"He came on to me. I told him I had a Dom and he said that you wouldn't m-mind sharing. He…he called me beautiful and t-touched my cheek and then Ryan came and told him off and I s-swear sir nothing happened," he rushed out, fear settling low in his belly as he watched Blaine fuming and pacing and swearing and downright hyperventilating in front of him.

"Something did happen, Kurt. He scared you, touched you, made you uncomfortable. I'm gonna make him pay for that," he said the epitome of silent fury and Kurt reached out clung to his hand, not wanting him to leave.

"Please sir, don't go. I…I need you here," he pleaded quietly and watched in silent awe as Blaine's features crumbled down into tenderness so deep and entirely meant for him. The Dom sat back down and pulled him onto his lap to hold him close, to protect him.

"I'll stay now, baby. But I will cause him pain…and lots of it," he threatened and Kurt shivered with the power behind those words.

"Don't cause yourself problems over this. Ryan threatened him with your name and I think the anxiety of the wait will ruin him more than anything else," Kurt soothed back snuggling deeper into his lap and it was like a back and forth tug between them, each taking turns with one another.

Blaine chuckled darkly at the knowledge.

"You're devious Mister Hummel," he teased and Kurt gave a small smile that just didn't feel real to Blaine.

"Are you okay?" he asked threading a hand through the short hair on the back of his head and Kurt turned towards him.

"Yeah I just…are you angry at me?" he asked and Blaine shook his head quickly.

"No, baby. Never. Kurt, I can see you and as much as I hate it others can too. I can't really be angry at you for being beautiful, and please…please don't associate that word with him. I'm the one who called you that first. Please let that word remain ours. Don't let him have it. Like I said I can't be mad at you for turning heads and making people want you as long as I know you're mine," he said and Kurt beamed at him, body finally relaxing. Once again Blaine had proved every one of his fears wrong and Kurt felt ever closer to him because of it, with every passing day Kurt fell harder and faster than ever.

"Only yours, sir," he confirmed softly and Blaine slotted their lips together hungrily.

They ended up kissing for hours until they couldn't breathe anymore and when they just had to stop Blaine pulled out his laptop and showed Kurt how to shop for clothes online.

And if his bank account thinned after he introduced Kurt to the lovely world of online shopping that was his own problem, Kurt thought.

"What if they change their minds?" Kurt asked nervously as they made their way to the choir room after school on Thursday for their first official practice after being accepted. Jeff had a class with Thad so he was meeting them there.

Blaine squeezed their joined hands reassuringly. "Lovely, they're not going to change their minds. You didn't see the reaction when they heard you singing, Wes looked like he'd seen the gates of heaven," he chuckled.

And it was only funny because it was true. Wes… calm, together, straight-faced Wesley Montgomery was knocked speechless and giddy by his beautiful boy, along with the rest of the room actually. Blaine was so proud of him his heart felt like it would burst.

Kurt ducked his head to hide his blush. "But what if I don't fit in? What if I can't get the numbers down or remember the words to the songs or-"

Blaine stopped them in the hall and pulled Kurt around swiftly to plant a kiss on his lips.

His eyes closed immediately and his whole body sighed with the release of tension he didn't know had built to such a level, trembles he didn't know were racking him ceasing as everything zeroed down to just Blaine. Their lips slid together effortlessly, the drag and friction electric, their combined taste; vanilla and the cherry lip balm Kurt had gotten Blaine addicted to, sweet on their tongues.

"That's really not fair," Kurt breathed into Blaine's mouth when they separated slightly and felt another playful nip of lips along his bottom one. Kurt pushed into it greedily, body leaning into Blaine's completely trusting, completely submissive.

Blaine framed his face with his hands and pulled away, damp mouths sticking in the best of ways, that made Kurt's heart flip over and body thrum for more. "You're gonna be amazing, lovely," Blaine whispered to him, darkened gold eyes lingering on his every feature and making him feel treasured.

"Yeah?" he asked on a murmur.

Blaine swiped a thumb over the arch of his cheek. "Yeah."

Infinitely reassured the sub settled down and allowed his Dom to lead him the rest of the way and into the room. They greeted the people already present and took seats next to Jeff as Thad got up to take his place behind the council desk where Wes and David already were, debating over something heatedly.

"Hey, blondie," Kurt smiled at the blonde and received a nervous half smile back as his best friend sunk lower into the cushions.

"Nick," Blaine greeted amused as the Dom came running through the door, skidding to a halt, bag flying around on his shoulder.

"I'm not late," he announced out of breathe, looking at his watch. "I have like… thirty seconds to spare."

"A record for you," Sebastian commented from his perch against the wall behind him.

Nick beamed. "I know! I'm getting great at this whole timekeeping business dude."

Kurt smothered his laugh with the back of his hand as the sub rolled his eyes in disdain and the dark haired Dom grinned over at him before his eyes got pulled, as if against his own will, to fall on Jeff at his right side, who was refusing to look his way.

It was like being unmade every time Nick laid eyes on the blonde… only this time it was different. This time he had the sound of that raw, broken voice singing in his ears, he had Jeff's pain in his chest as if it was his own, he had a deeper understanding of just what the angel had gone through and he couldn't stop thinking about it. It was haunting him, just like that wonderful voice was, it was making every protective instinct in him flare up and demand he claim Jeff for himself and it was taking everything he had in him not to.

He swallowed hard and walked over to sit on the sofa next to Trent, directly opposite the object of his affection and admiration, begging silently for him to just glance up but he knew it was futile. Jeff had made himself clear and Nick needed to respect his space and not push until he got an indicator otherwise. He could only continue to be open and honest with him and hope Kurt could work some magic and bring the sub around. He only needed a shot, just one, this was too important for Nick to even contemplating blowing it.

All eyes were on Kurt and Jeff today though, respect and appreciation for their talents clearly shown in everyone after listening to their auditions. Everyone in that room when they listened to those tapes were blown away by both subs. Kurt's range was stellar and his voice so unique it was a pleasure to hear, whereas Jeff's story was so powerful it brought forth some very strong emotions in the Warblers that day.

"Okay so first order of business," Wes started the practice off, cutting through the small amount of chatter easily with his clear, commanding voice and trusty gavel. "We'd like to officially welcome Warbler Kurt and Warbler Jeff to the fold through a unanimous vote. We're lucky to have you."

There was a smattering of applause and cheers and both subs blushed identical red shades which was slightly adorable.

"Now, we'll get down to business," Wes refocused the attention. "Our newest members will need to be brought up to speed on our current numbers as well as our upcoming plans, the item on the top of our list today is the issue of the charity fundraiser-"

There was a ripple of groans.

"Do we really have to do that again?" Trent lamented around the pen in his mouth. "We can't do anything up to date because the board is there and it's just so boring swaying back and forth singing the same songs year after year."

"Well unless they change the tone of the night, we'll just look out of place doing anything else," Thad advised. "It's like throwing Gaga in with a bunch of opera singers."

"She could totally pull that off," Kurt whispered confidently and Blaine smirked at him with an eye roll. He'd long ago learned of Kurt's obsession with the singer.

"So we're back to singing elevator music yet again," Sebastian grouched.

Wes called them to order, talking over their bickering. "I'm sorry guys but Thad's right, we can't just go completely off book-"

"Heaven forbid," David muttered and got a scowl before Wes continued.

"-if we want to keep this program running. The board have control over the curriculum and extra curricula's after all. We have to keep them happy."

"Maybe changing it up would be good. They might like it and we don't have to go crazy," Blaine suggested optimistically. "Different songs, a little bit of advance choreography isn't exactly going to scandalize them."

"It's still going to look stupid next to that boring ass auction," Jon stated, fluffing his hair. "I'm not dancing around all happy when everyone's going to be miserable anyway. There's a reason people hate and avoid charity night."

"I hate and would avoid it if I could," Nick acknowledged the point with a shrug.

"Well what if you change the night," Kurt found himself saying out loud.

Multiple eyes fell on him and he licked his suddenly dry lips.

"What do you mean, Kurt?" Thad asked curiously.

The sub looked to Blaine for reassurance before opening his mouth again, looking around at the interested faces. "Well… what if you spoke to the people running the night… got them to change it to something more interesting… then you could change your routines right?"

"Technically," David conceded looking to Wes who had his brows drawn low as he thought it over. "What would you suggest?"

"Well you have loads of clubs here, couldn't they get involved too?" Kurt asked looking towards Thad who he knew was heavily involved in the clubs. The sub had spoken to his drama teacher for him like he said he would and had found out that they sent the costumes out to be made and tailored so it had been a bust in the end… it gave him another idea however. "Maybe you could have a fashion show?"

Sebastian raised a brow. "A fashion show?"

"Yeah, people could bid on the clothes to raise more money and maybe the art club could sell some pieces if they wanted to?" he rushed out, getting caught up and excited in the possibilities. "There's loads of things you could do!"

"That's sounds so much better than an auction," Trent grinned, eyes brightening.

"My mother owns a fashion label, Kurt can talk to her about it," Blaine piped up and Kurt spun on his Dom, mouth gaping. Dana owned… his brain short-circuited. In all his time with the Andersons he hadn't even thought to ask what Dana and Jared actually did for work, he just knew they owned more than a few companies, businesses and enterprises.

But a fashion label?!

"How did this never come up?" he demanded and Blaine smiled innocently.

"Surprise," he cooed and Kurt wanted to be mad but he couldn't stop smiling damn it!

"This isn't over, Anderson," Kurt warned him, poking him in the chest sternly.

Blaine pecked his nose and mouth and chin quickly. "I love when you try to get all bossy, baby."

"Uh if we could concentrate," Nick joked haughtily. "Kurt was solving our problems for us, B, so unhand him you fiend."

Blaine chucked a pillow at him.

"I could run it past the Principal," Wes murmured stroking two fingers over his jaw absently and ignoring the fighting.

"Your dad," David deadpanned. "We all know he's your daddy dearest and you're the apple of his eye, no need to pretend, Wesley."

Wes gave him another flat look. "Someone will have to talk to the fundraising committee."

"Oh I'll do it," Thad volunteered cheerily, raising his hand like he was in class.

"And I'll go with him to make sure he doesn't go all soft on them," Sebastian added straightening his tie out.

"I'm not a child that needs supervising," he pouted, belaying his point completely.

"So what songs are we singing?" Jeff found his voice.

The room suddenly erupted in a series of voices all animated and loud with different ideas and Blaine looked at Kurt's flushed face and pecked him proudly on the temple. "Clever boy."

"Warm enough, lovely?" Blaine asked him for the hundredth time as they made their way outside towards the football pitch and stands, trailing along with the flow of people heading that way excitement pouring off of them and snaking around like a live thing between the many bodies.

Kurt had seen the structure and pitch from a distance through the windows of the classrooms facing the south, but seeing it getting closer and closer and bigger and grander really brought it home, especially illuminated and teeming with bodies. He wanted to cease being surprised by the sheer contrast between McKinley and Dalton, but he didn't think that would come about anytime soon.

Everything was sleek and new and pristine here just like everywhere else, even the grass on the pitch that was used regularly, seemed to be constantly maintained and replaced. McKinley's pitch on the other hand had long ceased being grass and was mostly mud, while their stands were falling apart.

Kurt hummed in answer absently as he continued to turn his head this way and that, raucous students drawing his attention or the floodlights that lined the path they were walking along cutting cleanly through the darkening fall into winter sky. It was all fascinating to Kurt.

The gloved hand holding his slipped away, a feeling of emptiness taking its place which caused a disquieted noise to escape his throat and Kurt barely turned his head Blaine's way to inquire why, when a soft, warm weight settled around his neck.

Blaine's scarf.

It was Dalton colors, stripped red and navy with a little gold crest in the corner with his initials and smelled delightfully of Blaine, strongly masculine with that constant tinge of fresh apple over the top that made Kurt sigh in lungful's of the stuff greedily.

His Dom finished settling it around his neck with a pleased, soft smile on his full lips as he smoothed his hands over the material, eyes settling more than once on the corner where the B.A was stitched. Kurt flushed pink when he realized just why Blaine was so pleased to have him wearing his scarf and the pleasant hot swoop in his stomach told Kurt that he liked it just as much.

"Aren't you going to get cold now?" he asked breathlessly.

Blaine finally lifted his darkened gold gaze to meet his innocent blue. "I'm fine," he murmured pulling Kurt fully towards him so they were standing flush, the subs hands finding Blaine's shoulders just as the Dom leaned in to kiss him gently on the lips.

Kurt's lashes fluttered shut, taking a sharp inhale through his nose as the rest of his limbs went to jelly and the sounds around them filtered out into white noise. Blaine moved his lips sure and confidently over Kurt's like always, coaxing him into play and making him tingle all over, His hands automatically went for his Dom's curls but found the barrier of the Blaine's black beanie in the way, a frustrated huff escaped him and Kurt could feel the smile on Blaine's mouth, as well as feel the chuckle in the hot bursts of breathe between them.

Everything all came rushing back however when Blaine pulled away and Kurt was suddenly very aware that they were surrounded by people that had front row tickets to him and Blaine kissing. He swallowed and ducked his head to hide the vivid blush he was sure was streaking his cheeks and he heard Blaine laugh again against his temple.

"Blaine," he whined.

"It's nothing people haven't seen before, baby."

Kurt pouted petulantly at Blaine's clear amusement in the situation and pulled out of his grasp to strut away haughtily, even though he didn't have a clue where the hell he was actually supposed to be going, only to be pulled up short by Blaine snaking arms around his waist.

"Oh c'mon, lovely, don't be mad," he cooed into his ear. Kurt rolled his eyes but a smile was hitching at his lips. He wasn't really mad, just flustered and his defense had always defaulted to sassy diva when he got like that. "I couldn't help myself, you look so good with my name on you," he continued hotly, nipping at his earlobe.

Kurt hitched a breath, head tilting unconsciously as the words went straight to his cock. He wasn't even aware that he was pressing his ass back into the curve of Blaine's groin until he heard a low growl in his ear. "Maybe we should skip the game and go back home?"

"We promised, Nick," Kurt reminded him with a gulp. They'd gotten increasingly more comfortable with one another since last Thursday. Making out was now a gloriously frequent part of their relationship, it was almost all Kurt wanted to do these days, and the sub was growing bold in the way he initiated the intimacy between them and explored Blaine until his head and senses were drunk on the Dom.

Blaine let out a dramatic sigh against his skin and Kurt couldn't help but giggle at how overdone it was.

"Fine, fine, let's go then before I change my mind," Blaine grumbled, pushing them forwards in their current position, which made for some strange maneuvering.

"Blaine!" Kurt laughed. "What are you doing?"

"Walking and cuddling you," Blaine explained simply continuing to waddle them up the path.

"We look like idiots," Kurt stated, seeing the amused glances from some of the onlookers.

"Nah-uh," the Dom denied squeezing his sides.

By the time they spotted and reached a few of their friends- which consisted of Nick, Dave, Ryan, David and Wes- Kurt was a giggling mess and Blaine was beaming brighter than the sun for making his sub so obviously happy.

"If it isn't the love birds," Nick rolled his eyes when spotted them, the tilted his head at the conjoined way they were travelling. "Or… love crab thingy…"

"I'm not a crab," Kurt protested, wrinkling his nose at him and a few of them laughed at the amount of disgust written in that one cute gesture.

"Why are you walking like that?" Wes asked exasperatedly. "As if football night wasn't bad enough."

"We're walking and cuddling," Blaine nodded surely, ignoring the dig.

"So… wuddling?" Nick grinned and they all groaned.

"Ignoring Nick's stupidity-" David started.

"Hey, B's the one that was doing the wuddling, not me!"

"-we were just wishing these boneheads good luck before the game," he continued on like Nick wasn't even there.

"We don't need luck," Ryan boasted confidently.

"Says the guy who has to have his sub wearing his jersey and sitting in the front row otherwise he can't play," Blaine teased.

Ryan pursed his lips and crossed his arms across his impressive chest, biceps bulging. "You're gonna be just as bad as me, just you wait."

"Oh that ship has most definitely sailed," Nick announced and got a punch in the arm for his troubles.

"Aren't you supposed to be getting ready?" Kurt asked curiously, ignoring the bickering friends.

"We managed to sneak out for a few minutes, Beiste will probably go all angry mama bear on us but it's worth it to see everyone before we go out," Dave grinned at him. "It's nice to see you again, Kurt."

Kurt smiled back at him, noticing the slight possessive tightening of Blaine's grip around his waist. His Dom wasn't worried about Dave 'stealing' him away anymore, but it seemed there was always going to be a slight Dominant reaction from Blaine that the logical mind wouldn't shut off.

"You too. No Seb tonight?"

"He and Thad refuse to see me and Ryan before games. They say that we have to be focused," Dave rolled his eyes.

"Actually, Sebastian said that he won't kiss potential losers. Only winners, so Dave will have to wait until after if he wants to get some," David smirked at the bulkier Dom who scowled at him. "And Thad effortlessly turns our dear Ryan into a sap who can't see past the hearts in his eyes if he sees him before games."

Kurt cooed at that just as Wes' phone chirped and he pulled it out to read the text, raising an unimpressed brow. "Besite has noticed your absence."

Nick rolled his eyes and tousled his hair carelessly. "We do it every game, you'd think she'd be use…uh…" he trailed off, eyes fixed somewhere over their shoulders and Kurt followed his line of sight curiously and spotted a certain blonde looking decidedly uncomfortable and a little lost in the crowd.

"Jeff!" Kurt called over. The sub was surprised to see his best friend seeing as the blonde had said he wasn't going tonight, instead choosing to have a quiet night in. The brown eyed sub glanced over, relief flooding his face when he spotted Kurt, hurrying towards him. "You should have called and told me you were coming, me and Blaine could have met you somewhere," Kurt said, pulling himself from Blaine's arms to give his friend a fortifying hug.

"It was really last minute," Jeff murmured back, soaking in the quiet strength Kurt was offering before pulling away reluctantly to face the rest of the group. He stopped dead when he spotted Nick.

How had he not seen him there before? He inwardly berated himself feeling his heart rate go from zero to sixty when their eyes met and held. Oh god… he knew this was a terrible idea…

"Hi, Jeff," Nick greeted softly with a smile.

Jeff swallowed hard and licked his lips nervously as he ripped his eyes away and stared at the ground. "I thought you'd be getting ready," he almost accused in his flustered state.

The implication struck Nick in the chest, hard. Jeff had only turned up because he thought he wouldn't see Nick unless it was from a safe distance while he was on the field. He cleared his throat, trying to dislodge the lump of hurt that had settled there, solid and harsh. The Dom didn't know what he could do anymore, Jeff wanted nothing to do with him and nothing he did seemed to change that fact. He'd never had such a problem with confidence before, he was a Dom after all, but something about Jeff had this innate power to completely unman him in seconds.

"Uh, yeah… I'll just… go get ready then… see you in a few guys," he said defeated before turning on his heel and striding away the set of his shoulders slumped and tense with the weight of yet another rejection.

Watching it was like witnessing a car wreck to Kurt and the rest of the people in the group were tellingly silent also.

"We're just gonna wait over here for a bit," Kurt motioned just off to the side to Blaine before turning to Dave, Ryan and looking after a heartbroken Nick. "Good luck guys."

"Thanks, Kurt," Dave smiled at him and the sub grabbed Jeff's hand towing him off a little way away where they couldn't be overheard.

"Jeff," he began and the blonde averted his attention down to his feet with a high blush staining his face. "He's trying really hard here."

"It's not about him…I just…I told him to let me be and he's always around…" Jeff ranted hysterically, brown eyes doleful and sad peeking out from under his platinum fringe.

"He's not smothering you, Jeff," Kurt said patiently. "He doesn't push into your personal space or follow you around all day…" he interrupted and Jeff shook his head.

"I know…" he breathed out, chest deflating and looking so tired Kurt sat them on the bench and wrapped an arm around him.

"What is it then?" he asked and Jeff ran a hand over his face.

"I think…I think I like it when h-he's around. It's warm when he's there. Kurt, I can't let him in…" he said and Kurt gasped a happy smile coloring his cheeks.

"Jeff that's a good thing sweetie. Why wouldn't you let him in?" he asked holding him closer.

"It will lead to expectations that I can't meet," the blonde stated tiredly. "We both know the reason why he wants to talk to me."

"Because he likes you," Kurt told him surely.

"Because he wants to claim me," Jeff refuted, eyes watery when he raised them back up. "Own me."

"C'mon sweetie, Nick's a great Dom, he wouldn't hurt you like that," Kurt tried to convince him. "He doesn't just want you as some kind of possession."

"And you don't think he was nice, that he seemed like a great Dom when we first met, Kurt? Why do you think my parents set up that pre-claim in the first place?" Jeff said thickly around the tears clogging his throat. "They all seem nice at first."

"That's not fair on the Doms that are caring and loving, as well as on yourself sweetie," Kurt told him sadly but straight up. "Blaine, would never treat me like that."

"Blaine's the exception," Jeff said immediately.

"No he's not! True they might be a minority for all we know but Blaine isn't the only proper Dominant out there, Jeff. David, Wes, Dave, Ryan…they're Doms too and they're nice, fair people as well. You know that deep down," he finished softly. "You know Nick would never do that to you, you're just using excuses to keep yourself from giving in to what we both know you want."

Jeff looked away, tears stinging his eyes as the wind whipped about them. "I can't, Kurt. I just… please, I can't."

The other sub gathered the blonde close and Jeff buried his cold, wet face into his neck and Blaine's scarf. "You're strong enough, Jeff. I know you are. And I don't want to push you into something you don't want, but I won't sit around and let you punish yourself further for something that wasn't your fault."

"Kurt-" Jeff tried but Kurt hushed him soothingly.

"Search your heart, sweetie. If Nick's not in there then then that's fine, I'll ask Blaine to tell Nick to leave you alone… but if he is, even the tiniest amounts, then I'm begging you to give him a shot to make you happy, prove that you're worth everything and more," Kurt whispered to him with feeling.

Jeff's silence was more telling than any words ever would be.

The blonde had a chance here to get rid of Nick once and for all, all he had to do was tell Kurt and then it would be over finally… only now that it came down to crunch, Jeff hesitated, stumbled just before the finish line. He wanted this to go away didn't he? Wanted Nick to find someone else… only… he didn't. Yes, he was utterly terrified. Yes, he was sure that he'd be nothing more than a burden to Nick, one he would grow tired of. And yes, he knew for sure that Nick could do miles better than him… but there was this selfish little spark, a tendril with a hook that had firmly attached him to the Dom already and refused to let go.

He didn't want Nick to leave and find someone else. He didn't want the warmth he brought with him to wrap around someone else.

"He's not going to claim you tomorrow. You can be friends first," Kurt continued to comfort, threading his fingers through Jeff's hair.

"But I know what he wants," the blonde admitted in a fearful whisper. Memories of hurt and pain and humiliation making his limbs tremble.

Kurt shook his head and pulled back to framed Jeff's face in his hands, thumbs wiping away the remnants of tears, blue eyes serious and ever compassionate. "No you don't, hon. Nick is a completely different person, it's not right to put all those failings on his head when he hasn't done anything wrong."

That resonated for a moment… "That makes it worse." Not knowing what to expect ever, constantly living on a knife edge wondering what would set him off, second guessing every action…

Kurt smiled at him and poked him in the cheek to get him to refocus. "Nick's been completely up front with you about everything, what makes you think he wouldn't still be? He'll let you know, sweetie. You can't shut him up on the best of days after all."

That actually got a small smile from Jeff.

"Throw him a bone, huh?" Kurt suggested, eyebrows raised hopefully.

"I…" he took a deep breath as he settled his mind. "I'll talk to him after… say I want to try and be… friends," he paused. "But I'm not ready for more, I don't know if I ever will be," he hastily added with wide eyes.

Kurt nodded. "And tell him that. Just be honest."

Jeff nodded back and Kurt beamed.

"Everything okay over here?" Blaine asked, approaching cautiously.

Kurt let go of Jeff to allow him time to really compose himself and grinned at Blaine. "Yeah, it's great," he looked over his Doms shoulder. "They gone?"

"The guys went to finish getting ready and David and Wes went to find us all some good seats," he explained before looking at Jeff. "You okay, Jeff?"

The blonde scrubbed at his face and nodded. "Yeah, thank you," he answered softly.

Blaine nodded, knowing not to push and knowing it wasn't his place anyway. "Ready to go watch some college football?" He held his gloved hand out for Kurt, wiggling his fingers enticingly. The sub slipped his own into the offered one happily.

"Only if I have to," he lamented.

Blaine pulled him in close to lay a kiss to the corner of his mouth. "It'll be fine, you can quietly mock the outfits."

Kurt bit his lip to keep from laughing, heart light with how well Blaine knew him. He looked over his shoulder to his best friend and smiled at him. "C'mon, Blondie. Let's get the torture over with."

They ended up in the front row with most of the Warblers; Seb and Thad having reserved the row for them. It was clear from the start that both subs were more than very serious about this football business.

Thad was indeed wearing Ryan's jersey which came down to his knee's easily and barely hung onto his shoulders, in fact, the only thing probably preventing it from pooling at the subs feet was the jacket he wore over it.

Sebastian on the other hand wasn't wearing any school apparel but was instead vocally cutting the other team, the Carmel Shark's, to shreds, citing weaknesses and failings of the players, coaches and even the opposing cheer squad.

Kurt ended up between Blaine and Wes with Jeff on the other side of his Dom, next to Thad who was chatting away endlessly to him and it wasn't long before the teams took the field after some impressive acrobats and less impressive rhymes from the cheer girls and boys. Kurt spotted the gorgeous figure of Corrine in her tight fitting uniform, jumping around with a huge smile on her face as she amped up the crowds further and Kurt glanced at David to see him wolf whistling her and eating it up as her eyes inevitably strayed to him every few seconds, making it clear who she was really performing for.

Pretty soon the game was underway however and Kurt tucked himself into Blaine's side, angling his body and leaning back against Blaine's chest with the Dom's arm wrapped around his shoulders for the duration, allowing the happy atmosphere and the energy buzzing off of Blaine to seep into him… only after a while, Kurt found he was getting bored.

At McKinley, Kurt went to the games because it was something to do that he didn't have to pay for and the atmosphere was light for once. But since being claimed, Kurt found he didn't need that lift like he used too, those moments of pretending his prospects weren't dim… he was already happy.

Of course he knew that already, he still felt like he was in a fairytale some days, but this was one of the first times he was truly realizing just how happy he was that the idiot holding him so preciously had claimed him in that function room.

"Throw it!" Blaine called out as some of the students rose from their chairs, shouting similar things angrily. The ball sailed through the air and someone caught it only to be pummeled to the ground, which seemed to take the game right back to where they started again as they all lined up.

Kurt frowned and looked around the pitch once more, trying desperately to try and work out any logic to this game and came up short again. What the hell was this sport about anyway? They don't even play half the time!

"Why are you cheering?" Wes suddenly ranted exasperatedly, throwing his hands in the air. "He didn't even get more than two steps, how is making ten steps in half an hour something to celebrate? Bunch of mindless savages," he grumbled grumpily at the end.

Finally, someone who makes sense!

Kurt cleared his throat and leaned towards the Dom to admit, "I have no idea what's going on."

Wes turned to him with wide, grateful eyes. "I know right?"

"I mean… what are even the rules?" Kurt asked flailing his hand out towards the pile of guys jumping on top of one another. "They just… run into one another and jump on the floor randomly."

Blaine snorted overhearing him, but kept his mouth closed and eyes on the field.

"I think they have positions," Wes admitted. Kurt raised a skeptical brow but the Dom nodded. "Yeah I know, hard to believe."

Kurt thought back to all those times sitting, or sometimes standing if all the space was taken, in the stands of McKinley. Something had to have soaked in right? "Oh I know one!" Kurt admitted, bouncing in his seat. "There's a quarterback right?"

He heard Blaine softly chuckle behind him.

Wes shrugged. "Probably?" It was more of a question than an acknowledgement.

David scoffed at them, reluctantly drawing his eyes away from the game. "C'mon the QB's like one of the most important players on the team."

"And that's Dave right? He's the captain, so that means he's that position?" Kurt asked trying to get a handle on the logic.

Wes took out his phone and tapped away for a few moments. "Not necessarily. You can be captain without being quarterback. The quarterback just chooses the plays for the offense and other stuff I don't really get."

"Is that team one?"

"Team one, baby?" Blaine asked confused.

Kurt glanced over his shoulder at him, then back at Wes, who looked lost and David, who looked frustrated. "Yeah, the coach keeps putting different teams on the field."

"I noticed that!" Wes spoke up. "She keeps switching between the two. Why doesn't she just decide on the best one… that's poor management on her part," he lectured.

"There's not two teams!" David groaned face palming. "We only have one."

"No you have like three," Kurt corrected archly pointing at the bench where a multitude of bodies sat.

"That's the defense and special teams players," Blaine interjected, gold eyes showing his immense amusement. "The offense is on the field right now."

"So three teams," Wes concluded and Kurt beamed at him giving him a little high five. They could do this football thing… it was still boring and he'd rather be doing something else if he could get away with it, but they could totally do it if they wanted to!

Kurt looked back towards the field where the 'offense' all lined up again and eventually started playing again once they decided what they were doing. "So the quarterback throws the egg-"

"Ball!" David scowled at him.

"I think you'll find balls are round," Kurt stated haughtily and Blaine and Wes cracked up as Kurt continued commentating. "And what does Nick do?"

"Drop the ball," Wes said as the man in question did just that for the fourth time and everyone scrambled for it to the sounds of the hissing, upset crowd. They were barely holding onto a lead. "And Ryan's on the defense team who run around and injure people," he concluded. "What's that called?"

"An asshole?" Kurt quipped.

"A linebacker," David corrected crossly.

"Is that supposed to mean something to me?" Wes asked and Kurt snickered in agreement.

"I liked it better when you just sat in moody, confused silence, or ignored the game and planned Warbler numbers," David grumbled as he say back.

"Ooo, let's do that," Kurt lit up, attention caught like a magpie spotting a shiny thing. "Can we do that?"

Wes grinned wide and openly at him before pulling out a folder and scooting closer. Kurt never imagined himself and Wes interacting like this in a million years, but there was a side to Wes that Kurt could definitely appreciate and recognize. "Now that we have you my prized countertenor, it opens up so many possibilities for us…" Wes began to enthuse and Kurt listened attentively.

On the other side of the row however Jeff's eyes were glued to the pitch… and a certain body and number in particular. Number 9.

"C'mon!" David yelled as Nick got brought to the floor easily by the Shark's defense. "What is up with him? He could easily outrun that douche!"

"Something's wrong," Blaine acknowledged, absently shifting nervous fingers through the short soft hairs behind Kurt's ear. "Nick doesn't play like this… like ever."

Jeff felt that statement settle like lead in his stomach.

Was it self-absorbed to think that he might be the cause to this? Nick seemed perfectly fine before he had all but snapped at the Dom, yet again, and now this was happening.

"Get your head out of your ass, Duval!" Sebastian yelled towards the field and Jeff flinched in discomfort.

"Hey, leave him alone, he's trying his best," Thad declared waving coyly at Ryan again, who kept glancing over his shoulder and up at him from where he sat on the bench.

"Oh spare me the 'it's the taking part that counts' speech," the sub sneered with a hearty roll of his eyes.

Thad scoffed at him. "He's doing fine, isn't he doing fine, Jeff?"

The blonde blushed profusely at what felt like a spotlight on his thoughts and feelings, like Thad could see what he was trying desperately to deny to himself written all over him. "Uh… I mean, y-yes?"

The sub next to him eyes him strangely for a moment before smirking a little too knowingly for Jeff's sanity, confirming his fears. "So what do you think of Nick?" he asked going for casual but Jeff wasn't so naive to know it was anything but. Thad was deceivingly adorable, but there was a very clever mind underneath all the cute that a lot of people probably forgot.

"He's nice," Jeff hedged, keeping his eyes on the colliding bodies while licking his lips nervously as he felt the heat of Thad's gaze on the side of his face.

"He does have a nice bum," Thad agreed, cocking his head to the side objectively.

The blonde snapped his head around and gaped at him stupidly. "I-I didn't-"

"Of course he's got nothing on my stud muffin, but I can see a sort of appeal," the little sub carried on relentlessly, Jeff saying one thing and Thad hearing something completely different. "How do you two know each other? Nick was a little vague on the details at the mall."

Jeff looked away again and down towards Kurt who seemed to be pouring over a folder with Wes, unknowing to the blonde's discomfort. It wasn't exactly Thad that made him uncomfortable. In fact, Thad was one of the only people here, other than Kurt of course, that he felt like he could actually let his guard down a little with which was refreshing, it was just… Nick. It seemed like he was everywhere and Jeff just couldn't escape him and the worst part was that, in some traitorous way, he wasn't sure he wanted to.

Jeff swallowed and picked at his mittens with shaky fingers. "We had a… misunderstanding."

Understatement, Sterling. Laughable understatement.

"Haven't we all," Thad grinned conspiratorially. "You should have seen me and Ryan in the beginning before we bonded."

Sebastian snorted next to them. "Yeah spare me that, I already had to live through that pathetic show once this lifeti- PASS IT DAVE OR YOU CAN FORGET HAVING SEX EVER AGAIN!" the sub cut himself off to shout at his Dom, his hands cutting through the air dramatically to emphasize his point.

Jeff was more than a little shocked, though no one else seemed bothered by the strong, personal statement. Thad simply rolled his eyes and Trent on Sebastian's other side snorted around the mouthful of popcorn he had like it was hilarious. Jeff turned to the field to see whether Dave had heard, even though he doubted it, but there was an immediate fear that flared up in him in the wake of Sebastian, affectively in his mind, disrespecting his Dominant. It was a response that had been drilled into him harshly.

Absently the blonde watched the ball sail through the air, powering from Dave's hand and Nick pushed passed someone and managed to hold onto the pass to score a touchdown. The crowd erupted but Nick didn't celebrate with his team, instead he just accepted the pats on the back, head down, body language still subdued and tense as the halftime whistle blew. Nick took his helmet off and threw it on the ground before stalking off towards the locker room, hands dragging harshly through his sweat soaked hair.

Jeff couldn't look at the heartbreaking sight for long, the guilt becoming overwhelming. "What misunderstandings did you and Ryan have?" he found himself asking Thad desperately as the halftime show started setting up. Anything to take his mind off of what he had done.

The sub turned to him with that ever ready smile and warm gaze. "Ryan and I did a lot of dancing around before we got it together," he admitted which surprised Jeff because the couple seemed so in sync, it was hard to picture them any other way.

"You got it together?" Sebastian sneered with an arched brow.

The little sub ignored him, scooting around completely to block him out pointedly.

"So you weren't in a pre-claim?" Jeff asked curiously.

Thad laughed. "I wished! No, I was stuck staring wistfully at him from these very stands and ducking around corners for most of my freshman year. Ryan was a senior, on the football team, utterly gorgeous and I fell for him instantly like a good romantic cliché, but naturally I thought he didn't know I existed."

Jeff felt his ears light up when he realized the faint similarity to his and Nick's situation. "So how did you…" he let it trail, the implication clear.

"Turns out Ryan had noticed me," Thad gushed, biting his lip to try and hide the wide happy grin spreading his cheeks.

"Hiding around a corner?" Jeff found himself actually teasing.

Thad mock scowled at him, though he was laughing. "No!" there was a pause, before the subs cheeks colored slightly. "Though other people might have noticed that."

Jeff smiled with a little shake of his head.

"Anyway, Ryan had seen me around and liked me too, but neither of us got up the guts to actually talk to one another, so we… danced," he provided like it was the best word to describe it. "I looked at him, he looked at me, occasionally our eyes would meet and we'd look away," he sighed off dreamily remembering all the times they had locked eyes across rooms or as they passed in the hall, a spark setting off fireworks between them.

"Be still my beating heart," Sebastian muttered.

"It was romantic!" Thad declared stubbornly. Sure it wasn't 'conventional', but he would never have changed it for the world, after all, they were still getting to know one another, just in a different way than most.

"But you obviously ended up talking eventually," Jeff stated. "Who cracked first?"

"Well Dalton had just won another game and that night Dave and Sebastian hosted an after party at their house," Thad explained animatedly, eyes lit up with the fond memories, body leaning forwards in such a way that Jeff found himself copying the movement as he got drawn further into the story. "Loads of people turned up of course so I was safe to admire from a distance-"

"And talk everyone's ears off about, 'how amazing, Ryan is', 'isn't he dreamy?', 'I think I love him', 'he'd be the best Dom', 'blah, blah, blah'," Sebastian commentated yet again, putting on a fake high pitched voice that sounded nothing like Thad to be honest.

The sub turned and smacked him hard on the arm. "Shut it, Smythe."

"Hey! I got you and gigantor together, your geek ass owes me," Sebastian smirked, though underneath it all you could tell he was a little fond. "And you didn't have to listen to you wax poetic and whine for months so I've earned these digs thank you very much."

Thad rolled his eyes, but then smiled like he couldn't help it. "That was the best night wasn't it?"


Thad turned back to Jeff, who was trying to cover his amused grin with his gloved hand, now practically bouncing on the spot. "So we're both in the garden by the pool and one minute I'm pretending to dance while secretly watching Ryan from all available angles, the next Sebastian is pushing me in!"

Jeff's brows rose into his hairline.

"And of course I can't swim and the idiot knows it as well, so I'm full on drowning and then I feel arms around me pulling me to the surface."

"Ryan?" Jeff guessed, smiling a little.

"My Dom to be," Thad giggled remembering just how it felt to have those powerful arms around him for the very first time, how Ryan had been frantic for him, checking him over and carrying him straight to the bathroom inside for towels completely disregarding himself. Thad had ended up in some of Seb's clothes and Ryan's letterman jacket for the rest of the night, sitting in Ryan's lap because the Dominant wouldn't let him out of his sight or grip, not that Thad had complained. No, he may have acted it up a bit to snuggle even more deliriously happy actually. "Dave made sure Ry was close at hand to dive in for me."

"So they set the whole thing up, that's what he meant about owing him?"

Thad hummed in agreement. "We would have ended up together eventually though. We were meant to be after all, they just speeded things up."

"That sounds really nice, Thad," he said honestly and the small sub nodded, beaming.

It would never stop being jarring to Jeff how it seemed that he was surrounded by these fairytale bonds when his had gone so terribly. How he was constantly being shown these picture perfect Doms that were nothing like he was and it was causing him to reevaluate things that he had previously thought set in stone. It was uncomfortable and confusing for him.

The teams came out again and Thad spotted Ryan as he went to take the field and the small sub was suddenly on his feet cheering loudly. "Wooo, go Ry! Kick their ass's babe!"

The Dom grinned and saluted his sub before running off, a noticeable spring in his step. Jeff found himself looking for Nick and soon enough number 9 came trudging out behind everyone else, getting encouraging backslaps from his teammates as they passed him, his shoulders still hunched and tense and making Jeff's insides clench.

The rest of the game was pretty tight, Dalton who should have been running away with it couldn't quite seem to build up the lead they wanted and it wasn't just Nick who wasn't playing to their best. It seemed like the whole team seemed to be lacking fire and nothing Dave or the Coach was shouting at them was working.

They won by a touchdown in the end.

The people started leaving once the teams were gone and Thad gave him a hug goodbye as he rushed off with Sebastian to meet their Doms and celebrate the win… or in Sebastian's case, chew his Dom out it looked like.

Kurt and Blaine rose as one and his best friend looked expectantly at him. "Enjoy it?"

Jeff shrugged. "It was a good game."

"If you say so," he grinned and Blaine snorted in amusement at his sub, eyes filled with affection as he stared at him. "How was Thad?"

"Chatty," he admitted feeling a warmth for the other sub and Kurt laughed while Blaine smiled.

"He is that," the Dom conceded.

"C'mon blondie, we'll walk you to your building," Kurt offered but Jeff shook his head.

"No its fine, you two go ahead, I'm just gonna stay out here for a little while," he said needing the time to work out what to do, what to say to Nick to make it better.

"You shouldn't really be out this late on your own, Jeff," Blaine reprimanded softly, rubbing his hand over Kurt's waist soothingly.

"I won't be long, I just want some air before I head back in," he explained.

"Well we'll stay with you then," Kurt shrugged moving to sit down again.

"No, honestly… you guys get home," he urged and knew his best friend would read into that what he was really saying.

I want to be by myself.

Kurt bit his lip in indecision, blue eyes probing into him before he sighed. "Okay… but I'm going to message you on your laptop in about an hour so if you're not there I'm coming looking for you and there'll be hell to pay when I get my hands on you," he warned sternly, pretty scowl on his face and hands on hips. Classic Kurt diva pose.

"I promise," Jeff agreed softly and rose to hug his friend one last goodbye, before the pair joined the steady trickle of people exiting.

The crowd grew sparser and sparser until there was no one left at all and Jeff found himself stepping down from the stands onto the field itself with his arms wrapped around his torso to ward off the worsening chill of the night air. He welcomed the silence these days. Liked the way it settled onto his shoulders and made him feel safe. No voices came to mean no threats, no orders, no punishments and he reveled in it.

"Is the little lamb lost?" a harsh voice sneered, sickly sweet from behind him cutting through the silence he was basking in.

Jeff spun around and saw it was none other than Brad in the front row, leaning against the divider nonchalantly.

He tried not to let the sub get to him. He could handle this.

Instead of answering he just turned back around and continued looking out at the trampled field hoping that Brad would get bored, but he heard the heavy sound of feet hitting the ground and knew that he had hopped over.

"Think you're too good to talk to me now, McKinley trash?" was jeered again, getting louder as he came closer. "Think that now you're going to school with people who matter that somehow that makes you matter too? You and that pathetic friend of yours."

Jeff grit his teeth hard as the sub unwittingly hit one of the only buttons in him that caused a fight response these days, most of the others had been set to flight long ago. "Don't talk about him like that."

"Like what? Like-" he cut himself off. "What the hell is wrong with your neck?"

Jeff felt ice rush through his veins and his hand immediately came up to protectively cup the ruined mark on his neck, spinning around, even though the damage was already done. Brad looked maliciously gleeful and sickened at the same time and it wasn't a pleasant combination on his face.

He laughed and it hit Jeff like a hammer repeatedly to the sternum, making it hard to breathe, making it hard to keep from letting the tears gathering in his eyes from falling.

"Oh this is priceless!" the sub grinned maniacally, still guffawing and clutching his sides. "You really are beyond damaged aren't you? How the hell did you even get into this school?"

"I…I…" he couldn't talk past the hurt that had lodge itself in his windpipe.

"Was it a charity thing? An "adopt the sub no one wants" campaign, only two dollars a month!" he mocked, green eyes hard and filled with venom.

"Stop," he breathed, almost begged. "P-please."

Brad turned his nose up at the request. "You're so pathetic," he spat advancing on him and Jeff couldn't move his wooden legs fast enough to get away. "You don't belong here, Sterling. Filth like you should stay in Lima where it belongs. You should…"

"HEY! What the fuck are you doing? Get away from him!" a familiar commanding voice filled the stadium, bringing on a rush of relief so fierce it made the blonde tremble and the submissive in him want to sink to his knees, crawl over and grip onto Nick's legs. And that desire was what frightened him most of all. That when it came down to the wire Nick had wormed his way so far past his defenses that ultimately he represented a place of security for Jeff. When had he allowed that to happen? How could he be so careless?

Brad scrambled backwards to obey the unmistakable order but Jeff hardly noticed, he felt like he couldn't breathe. The tears finally spilled and he sank to the grass, curling up into his knees confused and pained by the hundreds of thoughts and memories and feelings ripping him apart at the seams.

"N-Nick-" Brad started.

"What did you say to him?" the Dom cut off, growling the question from deep in his chest. He sounded positively livid and Jeff flinched at the voice, the rage frightening him even further.

"N-nothing, I-" Brad stammered and Nick let out a growl of disapproval.

"Don't lie to me!" he shouted and the sub backed away, now clearly alarmed.

"I saw his neck," Brad rushed out and the Dom in front of him darkened and became almost feral.

Nick couldn't explain what he had felt when he first spotted Jeff and Brad of all people on the field. He had stayed behind in the locker room for a while after talking to Coach Beiste. She'd told him straight up that he could never play like that again, her exact words being; 'Go clear your head, Duval. I don't want to see you in my locker room again until you've got whatever's biting at ya sorted out.' He didn't know where to start though. Someone like Jeff wasn't someone you just got over, and so he'd headed to the field, too wound up to head back to his room and too wired to celebrate with the rest of his team. It wasn't like he deserved to either, he'd nearly cost them the game after all. He was almost too lost in his own head to spot them at first but he only needed one look at Jeff's deathly pale, agonized face to snap completely, Dominant pheromones pouring out of him and coursing through his system.

Protect, protect, protect. Mine, mine, mine.

And now he was hearing that this person had seen the pain Jeff had gone though and had ridiculed and used that against him?

"I'm only going to say this once," Nick warned low and dangerously, eyes straying to his angel's crumpled figure before returning back with even more fire. "Leave. Him. Alone. If I hear you've spoken a word about Jeff and his situation to anyone else then you can forget ever finding a Dominant, Brad. I'll make sure every Dom in the state knows exactly what you're like. Now go."

There was a flurry of footsteps and then silence.

Nick approached cautiously and crouched down in front of the blonde. "Angel?" he asked softly, trying to fight down the remaining anger to be there for this sub he wanted so damn badly to be his.

"Don't call me that," came the automatic, muffled reply.

"He didn't harm you did he?" he had to ask. "Didn't touch you."

Jeff shook his head, eyes firmly fixed on the ground fingers grasping his knees so hard his knuckles turned white and somehow Nick knew he was trying to stop them from shaking, just like he knew the curled up position was to shield himself and maybe to stop himself from falling apart.

Carefully he reached a hand out and placed it on top of Jeff's tense one.

"Ang- Jeff," he corrected himself quickly. "Don't listen to anything he says. He's just jealous and bitter, you're worth one hundred times more than him."

"He's right. Dalton… being here isn't gonna change what I am…I don't belong here…" his voice shook and Nick's hands ached to wrap around him and hold him close.

"Brad is a little shit and whatever he said to you is wrong. You're perfect…in every way Jeff…I promise you, you are."

Jeff rose to his feet quickly, as if the words set off a coiled spring in him. He already knew the blonde didn't want to hear the words. Nick watched as the sub swiped at his eyes with his mitten covered fingers, that were just so endearing Nick wanted to jump off a cliff, and straightened himself up as best as he could.

Nick could feel the goodbye coming and it hurt so badly he could barely breathe.

"Listen, I know you'd rather I just leave now, but please can I walk you to your room?" Nick asked suddenly rising back to his full height. "Just so I know you got there okay."

Jeff snapped his eyes to the sincere, concerned one across from him. "I…" he couldn't even finish a thought, let alone a sentence but somehow he found himself nodding despite himself, instinct ruling him on this one. He didn't want to run into anyone else and he'd already horribly revealed to himself that he felt at least a little safer with Nick by his side than not.

He wasn't lying when he told Kurt about Nick.

They were walking before he could register and then they were suddenly inside and he realized it was getting closer and closer to when Nick would leave him and this steel band was tightening around his heart making him panic again.

Don't leave me, a soft voice called from a place deep inside his heart as they stopped at his door. He didn't dare to give voice to the faint plea, instead locked it away.

"If he bothers you again, him or anyone else, tell me okay?" Nick asked and Jeff simply stared at this wonder in front of him. How was he even real?

Nick read his silence as absolute and sighed before turning and walking away down the hall, hands jammed into his pockets.

Jeff watched him go and immediately wanted him back, Kurt's voice in his head urging him to just take that chance. Just do it. Call out his name and ask him if he still wants to be friends…But could he do that? Just come out and ask? Ask the Dom that wants to claim him-

"Oh god I can't do this," he whimpered out loud though it didn't carry, ready to turn on his heel as scamper all the way inside his dorm with the door firmly shut between them, but the picture of Nick's devastated face as he threw his helmet down had him rooted to the spot.

That was his fault, the cloud of sadness hanging over the Nick's head was down to him and the submissive in him was dying to make it up to the Dom.

"Nick," he called out, voice breaking and weak but the Dom heard him right away.

He spun back immediately, face heartbreakingly hopeful underneath his messy hair.

"Friends," he blurted out, flushing all over and feet twitching around anxiously. Why couldn't he do anything right anymore? Why did he have to make everything so awkward?

Nick took a few steps back towards him, brown eyes fixed intently on him. "Yeah?"

The blonde felt his heart jack rabbit and his stomach lurch under the significance of what he was about to do, but he pushed forwards bravely. "I… want to be," he admitted on an embarrassed murmur.

"Friends?" Nick confirmed, staring at him like he was a dream.

"Y-yeah, if you want to," he blushed harder, wanting to look away but unable to break eye contact.

More steps, more frantic heartbeats. "Yes! Jeff, yes, I only ever wanted to be a part of your life," Nick said sincerely, eyes bouncing back and forth between his like he wasn't quite sure he was hearing correctly.

"I can't give you what you… what you want," Jeff found himself saying, nervously stating the boundaries. "I can only be friends with you, I'm sorry."

Nick soaked that in before he nodded surely. "I would love to be just your friend. I want you anyway I can have you and if it's only like this then… I'll still cherish it and you. And I can wait…"

Jeff's eyes bugged out at this…surely he didn't mean…?

"W-what?" he croaked and Nick awarded him with one of those sunshiny smiles of his.

"If you ever feel ready to give me a chance I'll be here. But I'm not gonna pressure you or bother you. I'll be the best friend you could ever hope for, well apart from Kurt obviously, but if you ever change your mind…I'll be here, waiting…" he said honestly and Jeff paled.

"No…don't…don't do that…Nick you should be with someone amazing. You can't just decide to be alone and wait for me," he rushed out, his bones cold from the dread he felt at the thought of Nick wasting away because of a fuck up like him.

"My mom always said if you find perfection don't settle for less. I found mine…" he smiled and Jeff gasped.

"Nick…" he tried but the Dom waved his hand stopping him.

"But being friends with perfection is also great," he beamed, suddenly full of life again and Jeff couldn't help himself but smile incredulously.

Why does he have to say such sweet things? Jeff thought to himself as he wanted to melt into a puddle. "I might not be good at this."

"Are you trying to convince me out of being your friend when you only just asked me?" Nick joked and Jeff found himself fighting a smile and ducking his head as he shook it "no".

"So… friends," Nick confirmed holding out his hand so it was in view. Jeff looked at it, then up at Nick again, as he pulled off his mitten and slowly took it.

"Friends," he confirmed, about to pull away when Nick brought it to his lips and lay a kiss to the back of it that sent tingles racing up his arm to sparkle in his chest. His mouth parted just enough to let out a soft sigh of awe and then Nick was severing the contact.

"Goodnight, angel," he murmured, eyes seeing straight into the heart of him.

"Night," Jeff breathed shakily, feeling like something in the universe had just shifted somehow with the hot feeling of lips branded on his hand and heart.

He was about to enter his room when a voice sounded from behind him again.

"Just one more question and then I'm out of your hair," he turned around to see Nick shuffling on his feet cutely.

"Oh um…okay…" he said quietly, eyebrows scrunching in confusion.

"What made you change your mind…about me I mean?" The Dom asked and Jeff's heart thudded in his chest.

How could he ever explain the jumble of emotions swimming through him every moment of every day? How could he possibly make him understand his reason when he, himself was finding it hard?

Fingers shaking he grabbed the doorknob and turned his back on the Dom, confused with his silence as he stepped away from him and took a deep breath.

"It's warm when you're around," he rushed out on an exhale and fled into his room heart pounding and cheeks coloring with discomfort at letting his brain work against him like that.

He slammed the door shut and slid down to the floor, breath catching and eyes misting over but inside…he felt lighter than he had in over a year.

He leaned his head back against the dark wood and sighed as he felt pieces of him fit into place slowly, inexplicably and maybe…just maybe…he allowed his mind to convince him it was Nick's doing.

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