Kurt is driven to extreme measures when his life at McKinley spirals out of control. A couple of months into his junior year, he transfers to Dalton Academy where he befriends a group of boys who refuse to let him be the victim and teach him how to love himself once more.

Trigger Warning: This story will have some extremely angsty moments. Rated M for mentions of cutting, sexual abuse, rape, and eventual smut.

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CHAPTER ONE

You're Not Alone

A couple of months into his junior year, Kurt Hummel was forced to leave his life behind in order to attend Dalton Academy, an all-boys private school with a strictly enforced zero-tolerance bullying policy. The torment Kurt endured at McKinley had officially gotten out of hand and he needed to escape. He tried to stay strong as the bullying worsened. He tried not to drown in his sorrow as everyday life became more unbearable with each passing day. But when Dave Karofsky forced himself on Kurt, he lost the will to keep fighting. Karofsky was Kurt's biggest fear, his worst nightmare. The same bully that tortured him for being gay was a closeted gay himself, and had no problem taking his confusion and anger out on Kurt. The first time it happened, it was barely a kiss. The next time it happened, Karofsky forced Kurt to touch him. It only worsened after that.

Kurt became quiet and withdrawn as the abuse escalated. His family and friends tried talking to him but he refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong. It wasn't until his step-brother Finn found him cutting that he was forced to answer questions. He didn't tell his family the extant of the bullying. He only shared what he felt was necessary enough to explain the cutting. He was far too worried about his father's heart to tell him that he'd been sexually abused at school. He didn't have to tell his father anything though. Burt knew there was much more to the story than what Kurt was letting on and the possibilities terrified him. The bright, confidant young man he raised was now a depressed, distant boy whose only outlet had become self-harm and he had no idea how to fix it.

Kurt stayed home from school the following two weeks while Burt tried to find a suitable option for his schooling. He spent days researching different schools and clinics in the area before finally settling on Dalton. Their zero-tolerance bullying policy was what caught Burt's attention, and after speaking with the dean, he knew that Dalton was the place for Kurt. Dalton was unlike any other school around. The school was filled with boys like Kurt who somehow lost control of their lives and Dalton was the place that helped them regain control. The dean assured Burt that Dalton would take Kurt under its wings and bring him back to his former self, a stronger self, and Burt was more than willing to pay the tuition if it meant getting his son back.

"This will be good for you, kiddo." Burt said to Kurt as they drove into the school. -6-

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It was a Friday afternoon in early October when they pulled into the school. Kurt knew that he would supposedly be safer there, but it was something he was having a hard time believing. He was certain that there would be at least one person that would make him a target but he didn't care. He would take being verbally abused and shoved against lockers over what Karofsky forced him to do any day. Kurt followed his dad into the administration office with his head down. The less eye contact he made with people, the better. He stayed quiet the entire time Burt talked with the dean, his thoughts too lost in his fears to pay attention at their conversation. It wasn't until Burt touched his arm that he began to listen. Burt frowned at how Kurt instantly flinched away.

"Kurt, I want you to know that this is a very good school. We strive for excellence and we teach our boys to be outstanding members of society. No one will hurt here. I understand your situation, it's not the first time I've seen it, and I personally promise you that you are safe here. If anyone even says anything to you that makes you uncomfortable, you come straight to me and they will be handled." The dean told him. Kurt nodded at the middle aged woman but said nothing. She gave his dad his class schedule, a map, and his room assignment before dismissing them from the meeting.

Kurt followed his dad to the dorms in silence, his heartbeat racing frantically. He was terrified of who his roommate would be. With his luck, it'll be someone who will torture him like Karofsky had. He forced himself to keep walking, even though his entire being was screaming at him to run and hide. He needed to do this for his dad. He needed to be "ok" so his father would stop worrying about him. He had already decided ahead of time that he would not tell anybody when the inevitable bullying started. He dealt with it before and he would deal with it again. As they reached his dorm room door, they heard two boys talking inside.

"I swear I'm going to shove that gavel straight up his ass if he pushes me today." One boy said. "Come on, David, he's not that bad." The other boy replied laughing.

"Are you kidding me? Blaine, he smacked the shit out me with his book in class today because I said that I didn't like his set list ideas. Mr. Roberts didn't even do anything about it!" David said in frustration.

"To be fair, you did set his lab on fire a few weeks ago. I'm not surprised that he didn't do anything when Wessmackedyou."Blainetoldhimapologetically. -7-

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"Details, details." David replied dismissively. Blaine and David were interrupted when Burt knocked on the door.

"Hey. You must be my new roommate." Blaine greeted with a smile when he opened the door. Kurt glanced up at Blaine for only a second before turning his gaze back on the ground. In that second, Blaine recognized the look in Kurt's eyes. It was the same distant fearful look he had when he first transferred to Dalton. "I'm Blaine Anderson. This is my friend, David Thompson." He said as he reached to shake Burt's hand.

"Burt Hummel. This is my son Kurt." Burt said as he shook hands with both boys. "Teacher's let students smack each other with books here?" he questioned.

"No sir!" Blaine answered quickly. "Please ignore David. He tends to overreact." He said, shooting David a look

"Uh, huh." Burt said, eyeing the boys. "I'm going to go get your stuff, you helping?" he asked Kurt. "We can help if you like." David offered with a bright smile.

"Sure, I'll take up on that." Burt told them and walked out with David and Blaine close behind.

Kurt took in his surroundings while he had the opportunity to be alone. The room was surprisingly big. It had two full size beds opposite from each other, two closets, two desks, one big window, a decent size bathroom, and enough room to still walk around. Kurt sat on the unused bed, assuming it was his, scooted all the way back, and rested his head on the wall. So kids beat each other up with books here. That's a new one. It's better than Karofsky...

"You like that Hummel? You like it when I touch you?" Karofsky asked.

"Stop, please. Just stop." Kurt said crying.

"Answer my question!" Karofsky snarled, slamming Kurt into the shelves of the supply closet. "...y-yes..." Kurt lied. He learned the hard way what would happen if he said no.

-8-

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Kurt shuddered at the memory, bringing his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around himself protectively. He can't touch me here. He can't. Unless someone else touches you. No! I'm safe here. I'm safe here. Kurt hadn't realized that he was chanting 'I'm safe here', nor had he realized that he was swaying back and forth. It had become second nature to him to do it whenever he thought back on what he'd done. When things got really bad and he couldn't shake the memory off, he'd cut. It was the only thing that brought him back to reality.

Blaine walked into the room with one of Kurt's boxes and found him swaying as he muttered to himself. He stood there for a moment, paralyzed by the sight in front of him. There was no denying that Kurt was incredibly attractive, and it pained Blaine to see such a beautiful boy broken. "Hey, are you ok?" He asked with concern.

Kurt looked up at Blaine, getting lost in the honey amber eyes for a second, before shaking his head. "I'm fine." Kurt replied automatically. He had stopped his swaying but continued to hold his knees protectively. Blaine sent him a small, comforting smile as he set the box down before walking out of the room again.

Within the next 15 minutes, Burt, Blaine, and David finished bringing Kurt's things in. Kurt stayed on the bed, holding his knees up the entire time, and watched his father interact with the two boys. They seemed nice enough, but he knew better than anyone that nothing was as it seemed. Once the boxes were unloaded, David and Blaine stayed outside in the hallway in order to give Burt and Kurt some privacy to say goodbye.

"If you need anything son, anything at all, do not hesitate to call." Burt said firmly. "Ok Dad." Kurt nodded, knowing full well that he would do no such thing.

"I'm serious, Kurt. You can call me day or night and I will be there for you." Burt said as he pulled Kurt into an embrace. "You're going to be fine here. I love you son."

Kurt tensed for a second before returning the hug. "Love you too, Dad."

Burt gave his son one final look, his heart aching at the sight of his broken son, and once again prayed that he would be ok. Reluctantly, he walked out of the room and made his way towards the front of the building, only to be stopped in the hallway by Blaine.

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-9-

The sincerity in Blaine's voice brought a slight tear to Burt's eyes. "Thank you, Blaine. I appreciate that." "Of course, sir." Blaine replied with a small smile. Burt matched his smile, thanked one more time, and

finally left.

- 10 -

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"Mr. Hummel, is there anything I should know about Kurt?" Blaine asked him cautiously. He figured he should try and get as much information as possible while he had the chance. He hoped to be able to help his new roommate the way Nick had helped him.

"Exactly what do you mean by that?" Burt asked defensively.

"I didn't mean to offend you, sir." Blaine quickly amended. "Dean Morrison told me that Kurt's situation was similar to mine and I just wanted to see if there was anything I needed to know in order to help him." When Burt didn't answer him but looked at him curiously, Blaine decided to elaborate. He pulled his sleeves up to show Burt his old scars. "I used to get night terrors too. It took me a long time to be ok, but being here really helped me out."

Burt eyed Blaine carefully for a moment before sighing. "The only thing I can tell you is to keep an eye on him and don't leave him alone for too long. I think he goes somewhere else when he's left alone and I don't think it's somewhere he needs to be." He said quietly.

"Does he sing or play sports or anything? The groups here are really close and we watch out for each other like brothers. Being involved in something could be his first step to healing." Blaine told him.

Burt was caught off guard by Blaine's use of the term 'healing.' He wondered exactly how many boys were sent to that school to do just that. "As a matter of fact, he sings. Or well, he used to. He loved it quite a bit actually but...he hasn't sung in a while." Burt said sadly, missing the days where Kurt would get on his last nerve by singing his Broadway tunes throughout the house.

"I understand. Sometimes, when life becomes too much to handle, people quit doing the things they enjoy the most." Blaine replied, briefly remembering the darkest days of his life. "I know we've just met, and you have no reason to trust me, but I'll try and help Kurt as best as I can."

Blaine walked back to the room expecting Kurt to still be sitting on his bed. He was surprised to see that he was up and unpacking his things. That's something. I didn't unpack for days. "Would you like some help?" He asked politely.

"Sure." Kurt shrugged, not sparing Blaine a glance.

Blaine picked up one of the boxes and began unpacking. "So, what brings you to Dalton?" He asked, not expecting an answer. When Kurt didn't reply, he continued talking. "I remember my first day at Dalton. I didn't talk to anyone either." Kurt still said nothing.

They unpacked in silence for the next twenty minutes, Blaine doing his best not stare. He was transfixed by Kurt's beauty and he couldn't help but sneak glances at him. Kurt missed the questioning, curious looks from Blaine though. He was too lost in his mind to notice.

Shortly after they finished unpacking, Blaine got up to leave for Warbler rehearsal. "Do you want to come? You aren't a Warbler but it's always fun to sit and listen." Blaine told him, hoping that Kurt would say yes but expecting a no.

"No thanks." Kurt replied. Blaine nodded and walked towards the door.

"Kurt," Blaine said before he left. "I know this hard, but things will get better. When I transferred here, I felt completely alone. I thought that no one would understand me or what I went through but I was wrong. I want you to know that if you need to talk, I'm here. I know you don't know me and you may not even care, but I promise you're not alone." When Kurt stayed quiet, Blaine turned around and reached for the door.

"Why did you come to Dalton?" Kurt suddenly asked, surprising both Blaine and himself.

Blaine turned to look at Kurt, a small bubble of hope growing inside him. "It's a bit of a long story, but basically I transferred because I was bullied for being gay." He answered softly.

"Was it hard? Getting over it?" Kurt asked quietly, despite the voice in his head telling him to stop talking before it got him in trouble.

"Yes, and it still is. It probably always will be. Joining the Warblers has really helped me though. They were my rock when I was at my weakest." Kurt wiped a stray tear away as Blaine continued. "You're not alone,

- 11 -

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Kurt. I know it seems like it now but you're not." Kurt nodded but said nothing. "I'll be back in a couple of hours. Maybe we can hang out, get to know each other better?" Blaine suggested.

"Yeah, maybe." Kurt shrugged, even though he had no intention of doing so. Blaine smiled softly, wishing he could stay and talk with Kurt, before finally leaving for Warblers rehearsal.

Blaine ran all the way to the Warbler hall, his thoughts lingering on Kurt. Wes was on a rampage and the last thing he needed was to be late. Luckily, he arrived with a few minutes to spare.

"Hey, how's the new kid?" his best friend Nick asked him as soon as he walked in.

"He's ok I guess." Blaine told him with a half shrug. "He's pretty quiet."

"Yeah, that's what David told me. Do you know what happened?" Nick asked curiously.

"No. I asked but he didn't say anything. Whatever it was really broke him, I can tell." Blaine said sadly. "Broke him like it broke you?" Nick asked, instantly concerned.

"I think so." Blaine said quietly.

"Well then, we'll just have to show him that being here is a good thing." Nick said confidently. "That we will, Nick. That we will." Blaine agreed.

Blaine only paid partial attention to Warbler practice that night. His mind kept going back to how he was when he first arrived at Dalton and how much Kurt reminded him of his old self. He didn't know what it was that had broken Kurt, but he would do his best to help the beautiful boy the way his friends had helped him.

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- 12 -

CHAPTER TWO

I Understand

"Oh yeah Hummel. That feels so good." Karofsky moaned.

Karofsky's hand was clutching Kurt's hair as he forced Kurt to suck him off. Kurt was crying, disgusted in himself for doing it.

"Quit fucking crying and take it Hummel!" Karofsky growled, pulling Kurt's hair violently. Kurt gagged for the millionth time and pulled off in order to vomit. "Get your fucking fairy face back over here! I'm not done with you!

Kurt woke up abruptly, soaking in sweat. It took him a few minutes to realize that he wasn't in the supply closet, nor was he at home, but at Dalton. He tried shaking the memory off but couldn't. He felt disgusting and pathetic. He got off the bed and headed into the bathroom to brush his teeth. He brushed ferociously, desperate to make the memory and all the emotions attached to it disappear but it wasn't working. He quickly ran over to his bag in search for the razor he hid. His father of course found it and took it out unbeknownst to him. Kurt threw his bag on the bed and walked back into the bathroom. Blaine has to have a razor. Where the hell is it? After searching the bathroom and finding nothing, he started getting desperate.

He searched the room for scissors, a razor, anything to make it stop, but found nothing. Kurt felt the bile make its way up so he rushed over to the toilet and vomited. He was completely and utterly disgusted in himself. He needed to release before he completely lost it. Without realizing, he started to sing. It started off as low mumbles but slowly grew louder. For a few moments, Kurt lost himself in the song, forgetting the dream, forgetting his pain.

During those few moments, Blaine came back from Warbler practice. He heard Kurt singing from outside the door and couldn't help but think that it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever heard. He slowly opened the door and walked in to find Kurt in the bathroom. He didn't want to interrupt his singing, especially since Burt told him he didn't sing anymore, but he didn't want Kurt to feel like he was spying on him either.

"Kurt?" Blaine said cautiously. Kurt immediately stopped singing and turned around to see Blaine standing at the bathroom door. "Are you ok?" Blaine asked when he noticed that Kurt had been crying.

- 13 -

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"I'm fine." Kurt said quickly, cursing himself as he wiped the tears away. "Hey Blaine, you coming?" Nick asked as he opened the bedroom door.

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"Yeah, I'll be right there." Blaine told him. "We're going hang out in the common room, you want to join?" he asked Kurt.

"No thanks." Kurt said shaking his head.

"Are you sure? It'll be fun and it's better than being alone." Blaine said smiling sweetly. Kurt hesitated so Blaine stepped a little closer. He wasn't surprised when Kurt cowered back. "Come on, Kurt. Do you really want to be left alone with your thoughts?" Blaine asked knowingly. No, he didn't want to be left alone with his thoughts. That was always dangerous for him.

"Ok, I'll hang out." Kurt agreed quietly.

"Great. Come on." Blaine said as he offered Kurt his hand. Kurt eyed Blaine for a moment before accepting his hand and letting Blaine lead him into the common room.

"Guys, this is Kurt. Kurt this is Wes, Nick, Jeff, Thad, and Trent. You already know David." Blaine said with a comforting smile. There was something about the way the Blaine smiled at him that made him forget how disgusting he was.

"Hi." Kurt said just above a whisper.

"Hey Kurt. Welcome to Dalton." Nick greeted. "You have a choice of playing Marvel: Ultimate Alliance or any one of these board games."

Kurt glanced at the board games, letting a faint smile come across his face when he saw his childhood favorite.

"One catch your eye?" Blaine asked curiously. "Yeah, Battleship's my favorite." Kurt said softly.

- 14 -

"Oh I'll play battleship with you!" Trent said quickly.

"Ok, sure." Kurt shrugged. Kurt walked over to the table Trent started setting up for the game and Blaine sat in the table next to theirs as Nick set up the chess set.

"I don't know why you insist on playing me. You know you're going to lose." Blaine teased Nick.

"Oh, please Anderson. I so got this." Nick teased back.

The next few hours were spent in the common room. Kurt had beaten Trent several times in battlefield, Blaine had annihilated Nick in chess, and the rest of the Warblers had been trying to defeat the same boss for an hour. Trent and Nick had switched to playing checkers, Kurt was watching the boys lose to the boss battle again, and Blaine was watching Kurt.

"You're doing it wrong." Kurt finally said after another failed attempt.

"What do you mean?" David asked, frustrated that they couldn't get passed the level.

"You're fighting him wrong. That's why you keep losing." Kurt said looking away, afraid of the backlash. "Well then here, you try." David said, getting up from where he was sitting to hand Kurt the Xbox remote.

Kurt took it slowly and looked back at the TV. Thad asked him what he thought they should do so Kurt quietly instructed them. He knew the game well because he and Finn played it often. Blaine couldn't help but wonder about what had happened to Kurt. He talked more than Blaine had expected, but he never smiled. Blaine had never seen anyone so sad before. At least he was talking to them though. When he first got there, it took the guys weeks to get him to hang out. He was glad that Kurt agreed so quickly, but was still worried about him. He got the feeling that Kurt's quick acceptance was due to the fact that he was desperate to be heard, even if he didn't realize it himself.

Blaine decided that he would do his best to help Kurt the way the Warblers had helped him. No one deserved to feel sad and broken, especially someone as breathtaking as Kurt. I'll talk to him about the Warblers tomorrow. He deserves some happiness in his life. We can offer him that. After finally beating the boss battle, thanks to Kurt, the boys decided to go off to bed. They thanked Kurt for helping them and Kurt simply shrugged in response. He followed Blaine back into the bedroom and went to sleep without another word.

- 15 -

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When Kurt woke up that next morning, he was relieved that he hadn't had any nightmares. Since it was only 8am, he tried falling back to sleep. Tried but failed. His thoughts began to wander so he quickly got up and headed into the bathroom. He took a quick shower and got himself ready for the day. It used to take him hours to get ready, but after everything started happening, he lost the will to fix himself like he used to. Dressed in sweats and a simple shirt, he quietly left the room so Blaine could sleep. He wasn't surprised to find the hallway and common room empty. He made his way to the house kitchen, more out of curiosity then the desire to eat.

The kitchen was big enough to accommodate the 30 boys in Kurt's house which surprised him. It also looked like the kitchen was rarely used. He wondered if any of the boys even knew how to cook. He searched through the drawers, not looking for anything in particular. When he reached the silverware drawer, he noticed that they were plastic. Why would a school with so much money have plastic cutlery? As he continued to search, he realized that he had all the ingredients he would need to bake cookies. It had been a long while since he baked but for whatever reason, he had the urge to do it. Without a second thought, he put on the apron that looked brand new, took out all the ingredients, and started baking.

About halfway through his baking process, he had started singing. Unlike the night before, he became aware of the fact that he was singing again very quickly. Part of him was screaming at him to stop singing, that it was dangerous even. But another part of him missed it so much that it pushed the negativity away. He had barely been there a day and he already felt safer than he ever did at McKinley. He was enjoying the current simplicity of his life so much that he hadn't noticed Wes standing in the doorway.

"You've got an amazing voice, Kurt." Wes said, startling him. He instantly dropped the spatula and the mixing bowl on the floor.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to wake you. I'll clean up and get out of your way." Kurt said quickly, scrambling to clean up the mess, terrified of the consequence.

"Hey, it's cool." Wes assured him. "You don't need to rush out of here. You didn't wake me either. I always get up this early."

"Why don't you sleep in?" Kurt asked him as he cleaned the batter off the floor. - 16 -

"I try to but my internal clock never lets me." Wes shrugged. "So, you sing?"

"Not really." Kurt replied, refusing to look at Wes.

"That's too bad. You've got a great voice. The Warblers could use you." Wes said sincerely. Kurt nodded but said nothing. "Do you usually bake this early?" He asked, reaching over to grab a cookie off the cooling rack.

"No. I actually haven't baked in a while. I don't know what made me do it today." Kurt told him as he began cleaning the dishes he used.

"I don't know and I don't care! These are amazing!" Wes exclaimed.

"Thanks." Kurt said softly. He hadn't noticed the small smile on his face, but Wes did.

"Well, I'll get out your way. Most of the guys will be up soon so fair warning, once they smell baked goods, they become 5 year olds." Wes laughed. Kurt nodded his thanks and continued with his baking, relieved that Wes wasn't upset with him for the mess.

The first thing Blaine noticed when he woke up was the fact that Kurt was out of bed. He couldn't help but worry about where Kurt possibly was. He remembered sneaking off when he first arrived at Dalton. It was never good when he did. As he slipped his shirt on, someone knocked on the door.

"Come in." Blaine called out.

"Morning, Blaine." Wes greeted as he walked in. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure." Blaine replied. "You haven't seen Kurt by chance, have you?"

"I have actually. He's in the kitchen baking cookies." Wes told him as he took a seat at Blaine's desk. "Really?" Blaine asked surprised.

"Mhm." Wes nodded. "I heard him singing and he's incredibly talented. The Warblers could use him." - 17 -

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"I think he could use the Warblers." Blaine replied softly.

"Do you know if he...?"Wes trailed off, knowing that Blaine would know what he meant.

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Blaine sighed and shrugged. "Not that he's told me, but I think so. Morrison said his situation was similar to mine but I don't know the extent of it."

"He talks more than you did." Wes pointed out.

"Yeah I know, but he's so sad. I look at him and see a broken boy. I don't think our situations are the same, but I think the end result is." Blaine said thoughtfully.

"Well, the only way we're going to find out is by being his friend. We'll be there for him when he needs us just like we were with you." Wes said confidently. Blaine nodded and agreed. It might take some time, but they would show Kurt that being at Dalton really was a good thing.

After his talk with Wes, Blaine made his way down to the kitchen expecting to find Kurt alone. He was surprised to see that David, Trent, Jeff, and Nick were also there.

"Blaine! You have got to try these cookies! I think I'm in love with him!" David said excitedly.

"You said the same thing about me when I cooked dinner a few nights ago, David." Blaine said laughing. "Details, details." David replied waving his hand dismissively.

"You cook?" Kurt asked surprised.

"Yeah. I like the aspect of being able to create magic with food." Blaine said smiling charmingly.

"Me too." Kurt replied with the first genuine smile Blaine had seen from him.

"Hey Kurt, can I ask you a personal question?" Trent said from the table.

Kurt's face instantly fell. "I guess."

- 18 -

"Are you gay?" Trent asked. Kurt visibly flinched at the question just as Jeff and David both smacked Trent across the head.

"You don't have to answer that if you don't want to Kurt." Blaine assured him.

"Yeah Kurt, I didn't mean to offend you or anything, I was just curious. It won't matter if you are. Blaine and I both are so I promise it's not a big deal." Trent tried assuring him.

"Yes, I'm gay." Kurt answered just above a whisper. "Excuse me." Kurt quickly ran out of the kitchen and headed straight to his room. He heard Blaine calling after him but he kept going. It was a big deal, despite Trent saying it wasn't. It's always been a big deal and it's always haunted him.

"Get out of my fucking way princess!" Karofsky snarled as he pushed Kurt against the locker.

"I hate you." Kurt said under his breath. He hadn't meant to say it, but it came out and it was too late.

Karofsky doubled back, grabbed him by the collar, and slammed him into the wall.

"What the hell did you just say to me faggot?! You hate me?! I'm not the one infecting people with your fairy dust you homo!" Karofsky lifted his fist and punched him.

Kurt stormed into the room, looking for something, anything to make it stop.

"Kurt?" Blaine walked in the room to find Kurt frantic. "Kurt, are you ok?" Kurt wouldn't answer him. He wouldn't even look at him. He just kept muttering 'Make it stop' as he paced the room. "Make what stop? Kurt, I can't help you if you don't tell me what you need." That caught Kurt's attention.

"You can't help me! No one can! You don't understand! No one does!" Kurt yelled.

"Kurt." Blaine said softly as he took a step forward.

"No! Just stay away!" Kurt said hysterically.

"Kurt, if there's anyone here who understands, it's me." Blaine said, hoping that it would get Kurt's

attention.

- 19 -

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Kurt looked up at Blaine, curiosity mixed with fear, just as he rolled his sleeves back. His breath hitched and he froze when he saw Blaine's old scars. Blaine slowly walked over to Kurt, making sure that his eyes construed nothing but understanding. He reached for Kurt's arm, relieved that Kurt hadn't flinched, and rolled his sleeves back, revealing both old and new scars.

"I know it's hard, Kurt. I know how it feels to lose control, to feel worthless." Blaine said in a whisper. "But it gets better, I promise."

"How?" Kurt asked, his voice breaking.

"I joined the Warblers. I talked to my friends. I didn't let it eat me alive." Blaine replied, his thumb gently caressing Kurt's scars.

"I don't...I don't think I can." Kurt said, finally looking away.

"Yes, you can." Blaine said softly as he reached up and lifted Kurt's face. "I know you can. I can help you, Kurt. You just have to let me in."

Kurt couldn't hold it in anymore. The sincerity in Blaine's voice combined with Kurt's need to let go was too much for him to handle. He fell on the floor and cried. Blaine held Kurt tightly as Kurt clutched onto him. He sang softly as Kurt's crying turned into a sob and continued to sing until the tears turned into quiet murmurs. Blaine held him there until he finally stopped crying and fell asleep.

- 20 -

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CHAPTER THREE

The Warblers

About ten minutes after Kurt fell asleep in Blaine's arms, Blaine lifted him up carefully and placed him on his bed. He lightly brushed Kurt's bangs out of his face, remembering his own breakdowns and how exhausted he always felt after. It became obvious to him that Kurt was bullied for being gay, but he got the feeling that there was so much more to it. He lingered by the doorway for a moment, making sure that Kurt really was asleep before quietly walking out. As soon as he closed the door behind him, he was bombarded by his friends.

"Is he ok?" Nick asked.

"Did you talk to him? What was all that?" David asked.

"Does he hate me? Did I offend him? I didn't mean to!" Trent said.

"Guys, one at time." Blaine told them, ushering them away from the door.

"Sorry B, he just freaked us out." Nick said quietly.

"I know. He freaked me out too." Blaine sighed.

"So, what's up?" David asked with concern.

"Honestly, I don't know. I found him having a panic attack. I think he was looking for something to use to cut." Blaine said sadly.

"Awe no!" Trent gasped.

"Yeah. I don't think you offended him or anything. I think you made him remember something and that's what set him off." Blaine told Trent.

"I didn't mean to, really." Trent said sadly.

"Why'd you ask him anyway?" David asked Trent. - 21 -

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"I think he's cute and I was curious." Trent said shrugging. "Really Trent? Really?" Nick said in disbelief.

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"What?! I'm sorry but it's the truth." Trent said. "Don't act like you don't he's cute too." he said to Blaine who was shaking his head at him.

I don't think he's cute. I think he's beautiful.

"That's beside the point, Trent." Blaine said with a small smile. "Listen, I'm going to get back in there. He kind of cried himself to sleep in my arms and he's probably going to want to talk once he wakes up."

"Alright. Try and bring him to Warbler practice tonight. I think it'll be really good for him." David told him.

"Yeah, I think so too." Blaine agreed. "I'll talk to you guys later." Blaine said goodbye to his friends and quietly walked back in the room.

"What do you want?" Kurt asked venomously. Karofsky ignored his question and kissed him hard. Kurt used all his force to push Karofsky off, only angering Karofsky in the process.

"What the fuck is your problem Hummel! Am I not good enough for you? Do you think you're better than me?"

"I am better than you and no you are not good enough for me! You're vile and disgusting and I would never be with you!" Kurt said angrily.

"Oh that's where you're wrong Hummel! I'm the only one that will ever touch you because everyone thinks you're a disgusting homo! But I know better." Karofsky said seductively, pressing his lips against Kurt's once more.

Kurt tried pushing him off once more but Karofsky was too strong for him. When he felt Karofsky's hand make its way to his crotch, a whole new panic set in.

"No! Stop!" Kurt yelled into Karofsky's mouth.

- 22 -

"Shut it Hummel!" Karofsky said as he grabbed Kurt's ass.

"This can't be happening!" Kurt cried.

"It is happening! Deal with it. Enjoy it." Karofsky all but purred.

"No stop! Oh God! Please stop!"

"Stop! Please! Stop!"

Blaine was sitting at his desk doing homework when he heard Kurt yell out. "Stop! Stop!" Kurt yelled again.

Blaine quickly walked over to Kurt's bed and sat on the edge.

"Kurt?" Blaine said quietly.

"No! Don't!"

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"Kurt, wake up. You're dreaming." Blaine said but Kurt continued to thrash on the bed. "Kurt, wake up!" Blaine said louder as he shook him slightly. Kurt's eyes abruptly opened and he quickly sat up gasping for air. He took his surroundings in only for a second before attempting to get up.

"Kurt, stop." Blaine said, keeping him in the bed.

"Let go!" Kurt snapped. "I gotta...I need..."

"To cut?" Blaine asked knowingly. "I'm not letting you and no one else here will."

"But...I just..." Kurt tried to come up an excuse that would make Blaine let him so he could find something, anything. I need to do it. Why can't Blaine get that?

"But nothing Kurt." Blaine said firmly. "Sing." "What? I don't sing!" Kurt snapped.

- 23 -

"Yes, you do. Sing, distract yourself. I'll even sing with you." Blaine told him.

Kurt was shaking but began singing. It only took Blaine a few seconds to recognize the Lady Gaga song and started to sing along. Kurt soon forgot to be self-conscious, he forgot about his dream, and instead he just sang. By the end of the song, he had stopped shaking and was even smiling a little.

"Better?" Blaine asked softly.

"Much. Thank you." Kurt said quietly. "I'm sorry for being such a hassle."

"Hey no." Blaine said quickly. "You are not a hassle, Kurt. You're a new friend that I want to help. There's nothing to apologize for."

"I just...I don't know how to...to..."

"Handle everything? I didn't either at first." Blaine told him. "Want to know my secret?" Kurt nodded and was taken aback by Blaine's smile because, wow. "I sang. I joined the Warblers and I sang. I still have to sing every so often to keep myself level. It's an everyday battle Kurt, but it does get better."

"Do you think I should join?" Kurt asked, bringing his knees up protectively.

"Yes I do, but only when you're ready." Blaine told him. "It helped me tremendously. I stopped having

nightmares and I started to feel like me again. It could be the same for you." "You had nightmares?" Kurt questioned.

"I did. My roommate at the time used to have to drench me in water to wake me up because I was so deep in it." Blaine said half joking. "If you hadn't woken up I would've done it to you."

"I would've stolen all your hair products to prevent you from ruining your hair if you did that." Kurt quipped automatically.

"Hey! There's nothing wrong with my hair!" Blaine said defensively. - 24 -

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"Oh please. If a bird landed on your head it would get stuck." Kurt said sassier than he meant to. He immediately looked down, waiting for the backlash from Blaine. He was surprised when Blaine laughed instead.

"You've been here a day and you're already doggin on my hair. You are going to be just fine here." Blaine assured him.

Kurt looked back up at him to see that Blaine was smiling sweetly at him. He looked for malice in Blaine's eyes, but found nothing except sincerity. Kurt hadn't realized that he was smiling back at Blaine, but Blaine did, only making him smile wider.

"Come on. Let's go get some lunch." Blaine said as he stood up.

"Lunch? What time is it?" Kurt asked.

"It's a little after 12. I'm sure you're hungry, come on." Blaine told him.

"I'm...not actually." Kurt lied. He was hungry but he never ate. He had barely eaten in months though, despite the hunger pains in his stomach.

"Yes you are, don't lie to me." Blaine said with a smirk. How the hell does he always know?! "Come on." Blaine said again, holding his hand out to Kurt. Kurt sighed heavily but took Blaine's hand nonetheless and let him lead the way.

Kurt followed Blaine to the cafeteria in silence. It was odd for him to walk down a school hall without being harassed. He figured that most of the boys were home for the weekend and he doubted that come Monday morning, he wouldn't get bullied. Then again, Blaine and Trent were both gay and they seemed to be happy. Maybe this school really would be different. Maybe he wouldn't have to worry about getting shoved into lockers. He might actually be safe there, but he really doubted it. It would take a miracle for him not to get bullied and he didn't believe in miracles. He lost faith in them when his mother died.

When they got closer to the cafeteria, Blaine stopped him for a moment. "Alright so I should warn you before we go in there." Blaine said smirking. "The Warblers are...interesting to say the least. They're all

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really good guys but they tend to talk before thinking. Some of them get over excited but I promise they mean you no harm."

"...ok." Kurt said quietly. What the hell does he mean by that?

"You'll be fine, trust me." Blaine said with a small laugh and turned around to walk in.

Trust him?

Kurt followed Blaine into the cafeteria, keeping his head down in the process. He had been so worried about making any kind of eye contact that he didn't notice the tall blond until he ran straight into him.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to! Please don't hit me!" Kurt said in one breath as he braced himself for whatever the blond had in mind.

"Why would I hit you?" the blond asked. Kurt looked up at him and saw pure confusion on his face. "I...just...I'm sorry." Kurt said quietly.

"It's cool new kid. No worries." He replied with a shrug. "I'm Andrew, but you can call me Beatz." "I'm Kurt." Kurt replied.

"Nice meeting you, Kurt. Watch where you're going next time." Beatz teased and walked off.

Kurt looked around for a moment, finding Blaine at the lunch line, and hurried over to him. He got himself a plate of food and followed Blaine to the Warbler table. There he saw David, Wes, Trent, Nick, and Beatz talking excitedly. He took the seat next Blaine and began eating his lunch silently. When the Warblers were talking about the upcoming sectionals competition, Kurt started paying attention.

"Come on guys, our competition is a group of elderly and those public school kids. We so got this!" David said confidently.

"I wouldn't be so sure." Kurt said unintentionally.

"Wait, what?" David asked. Kurt looked up to see everyone at the table looking at him curiously. - 26 -

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"I said I wouldn't be so sure. I'm sure you guys will do fine against the elderly group but I wouldn't be so confident against the New Directions." Kurt said with a half shrug.

"How do you know about the New Directions?" Blaine asked him curiously.

"I uh...used to be one of them." Kurt said cautiously.

"No way?!" Wes said excitedly. "Do you know what they're singing?"

"No. They change the set list faster than they change sexual partners." Kurt told them, making them chuckle lightly.

"Wait, so if you were in the New Directions, does that mean you're a good singer?" Beatz asked him. "No, not really." Kurt answered, quickly looking away.

"I beg to differ." Blaine said smiling.

"Yeah, me too. You're a wonderful singer Kurt." Wes said.

"Thanks." Kurt shrugged.

"So why shouldn't we be so confident against them?" David asked him.

"Well, they may be a mess sometimes, but they're really good." Kurt said truthfully.

"Guess we'll just have bring our A game then." Wes said firmly.

"That we will!" David agreed.

The Warblers fell back into conversation while Kurt sat there half listening. It wasn't until Trent said his name that he looked up from his food.

"Hey Kurt. I'm sorry about what happened earlier. I didn't mean to offend or anything." Trent said sadly. "It's ok. You didn't offend me." Kurt assured him. - 27 -

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"So, you don't hate me?" Trent asked hopefully. "No, I don't hate you." Kurt said a small smile. "Ok good." Trent said relieved.

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Kurt didn't say anything for the rest of his lunch nor did any of the Warblers try talking to him. They knew that Kurt was trying to adjust and they didn't want to scare him off. After he finished eating, he excused himself from the table and went back to his room.

Just as Kurt entered the room, his phone started ringing. He checked the caller ID and saw that it was his dad. "Hey Dad." He answered as he sat on his bed.

"Hey kiddo. How was your first night?" Burt asked him. "It was good." Kurt told him.

"Good. How are you feeling?" Burt asked.

"I'm ok." Kurt replied.

"Good, good. Oh hold on, Finn wants to talk to you." Burt told him.

"Hey Kurt!" Finn said excitedly.

"Hi Finn." Kurt replied with a faint smile.

"Hey so like, have you met any Warblers?" Finn asked quickly.

"Seriously Finn? That's what you wanted to talk to me about?" Kurt said irritably. "What? I'm just curious." Finn told him.

- 28 -

Kurt sighed and rolled his eyes before answering. "Yes Finn, I've met several Warblers. In fact, my roommate is a Warbler, and no I'm not spying for you."

"Dude I wasn't going to ask you spy!" Finn quickly amended. "I mean yeah, Rachel wanted me to ask you to but I wouldn't do that!"

"Right." Kurt replied with another eye roll.

"So like, are you going to join?" Finn asked him just as Blaine returned to the room.

"I don't know, maybe." Kurt told him.

"But if you join, we'll be competing against each other." Finn said sadly.

"I know that Finn. I'm still not sure if I'm going to join but I think I want to." Kurt told him, daring a quick glance over to Blaine who was watching him curiously.

"I guess it'd be good if you joined bro. If it means that you start singing again I say go for it. Rachel won't be happy though." Finn said laughing.

"Yes well, Rachel can get over it. I'm going to go. Tell my dad I'll call him later." "Alright. Later Kurt."

"Bye Finn."

A few minutes after he hung up with Finn, he got several texts from his old friends about the Warblers. Jeez, Finn. Did you have to text everyone so damn quickly? Most were words of encouragement that Kurt couldn't help but smile at. While he never actually quit the Glee club, he had stopped participating. That should've told his friends that something was wrong with him, but it hadn't. They just thought he was tired of fighting Rachel for solos.

"I think that's the most I've ever seen you smile." Blaine commented.

"What? Oh, right." Kurt said quietly. Kurt's smile fell however when he read the text from Rachel.

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"What is it?" Blaine asked him.

Kurt cleared his throat before reading the text Rachel sent him. "Kurt, while I totally understand your desire to sing again I don't think it's a good idea that you join the Warblers. It will make you my competition and as friends I really don't think that's healthy. I would love for you to come to Sectionals and support us though!"

"Who sent that?" Blaine asked in disbelief.

"Rachel Berry. She's the lead soloist for the New Directions and she's really good about making everything about herself." Kurt said rolling his eyes.

"She doesn't sound very nice." Blaine said frowning.

"She's Rachel." Kurt shrugged.

"So you're thinking about joining?" Blaine asked casually, trying not to get his hopes up.

"Yeah, maybe. I might even do it just to piss Rachel off." Kurt said with a small laugh.

"I really think you should. Why don'nt you come to practice tonight, see what we're all about?" Blaine asked with a bright smile.

Seriously, how can someone have such an attractive smile? Shut up! Stop thinking that!

"Yeah, ok." Kurt said shyly. "Great." Blaine said still smiling.

When Warbler practice came around, Kurt was both curious and nervous. He had no idea how they worked but he had the feeling that they were completely different from the New Directions. Blaine had already told Kurt about Wes and his gavel which made him nervous. He knew there was really no reason to be nervous but he couldn't help it. When he and Blaine arrived, Blaine was immediately taken away by

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David who was mid argument with Wes. He stood there awkwardly for a moment, flinching when someone placed there hand on his shoulder.

"Oh sorry, didn't mean to scare you." Beatz said behind him.

"It's ok." Kurt said quietly.

"Are you joining?" Beatz asked him curiously.

"I don't know, maybe. I just came to watch." Kurt told him.

"Well, if the council ever decides on what we're singing than maybe you actually can." Beatz said loudly. "Can it Beatz! We're trying to figure it out!" Thad yelled out.

"Figure it out faster!" Beatz yelled back. "Come on, you can sit over here if you like." He said to Kurt, gesturing to one of the couches.

Kurt nodded and made his way over to the couch. While he sat there, he met Jeff through Nick. He quickly figured out that Jeff was way too enthusiastic for his own good. He had even made a comment about Jeff's need to cut down on sugar making Nick and Beatz laugh loudly.

"But I love candy! It's sweet and delicious like me!" Jeff had told him.

As uncomfortable as he felt, Kurt couldn't stop the smile that spread across his face. The energy of the boys was infectious and he was surprised that he liked it so much. When the council decided on a song to rehearse, Kurt sat quietly and waited for them to perform. He was shocked that they were an acapella group and even more shocked when he saw just how good they were. He knew Blaine could sing but he didn't realize just how amaizng he really was nor did he know that he was the lead soloist.

There was something almost magical about the way they performed. New Directions has some serious competition. By the time their practice ended, Kurt had decided that he would join. He couldn't help but smile the entire time, even when Wes went gavel crazy, and he had realized just how much he wanted to be a part of something again. His momentary happiness came crashing down however when his phone vibrated with a new text.

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I'll find you Hummel. You can't hide forever. – Karofsky

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CHAPTER FOUR

Boy's Night

"You can run but you can't hide Hummel!" Kurt heard Karofsky yell from a distance. Kurt had stayed after school that day to work on a paper in the library. He figured he'd be safe and that all the jocks would have already left. All of them did but one. He was currently hidden behind some heavy shelves in the back.

"Come out come out wherever you are." Karofsky taunted loudly. He was getting closer to where Kurt was hiding. Kurt's heartbeat was so loud that he could hear it. He begged silently that Karofsky wouldn't find him. He heard Karofsky's footsteps get closer and froze. This was it. Karofsky was going to find him and have his way with him in the back of the empty library.

"Hey! What are you doing in here! The library is closed!" The librarian yelled out. Karofsky glared at her before talking just loud enough for Kurt to hear.

"I'll find you Hummel. You can't hide forever."

Blaine made his way through the Warblers who were all talking excitedly and panicked a little at the sight of Kurt. Kurt was still sitting on the couch but his knees were up to his chest and he was swaying back and forth. Kurt was gripping the phone tightly, his eyes were shut, and he was mumbling the words 'Please don't find me.'

"Kurt?" Blaine said softly, taking a seat next to him. "Kurt?!" he said louder, trying to get his attention.

Beatz, Wes, and Nick noticed what was happening and hurried over to the couch. Blaine saw Kurt's grip on his phone and pried it out of his hand, frowning at the message he saw. He passed the phone to Beatz, who was closest to them, and gently caressed Kurt's cheek.

"Kurt, you're ok. Everything's fine." Blaine said softly. Kurt was looking at him but wasn't focusing on him, his mind still lost in the memory.

Blaine started singing 'Hey Soul Sister' since they had just finished rehearsing it, never taking his eyes away from Kurt's. Kurt subconsciously began singing with him, not realizing that the rest of the Warblers were now surrounding him. Beatz started beat boxing as the other Warblers began to sing along. About halfway through the song, Kurt had stopped swaying and his voice grew louder. Blaine smiled as Kurt

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Contents came back from whatever memory he was having and was thrilled when Kurt smiled back at him. Maybe he's not as lost as I thought he was. When the song ended, Kurt closed his eyes and took in a few deep

breaths before looking back up at Blaine.

"Thanks." Kurt whispered.

"Of course, it's why I'm here. It's why we're here." Blaine said softly.

Kurt suddenly realized that all the Warblers were watching him with concern, making him extremely self- conscience. He stiffened up immediately and looked away from Blaine in embarrassment. Wes shooed the Warblers away in order to give Kurt some space. The boys dissipated, talking amongst themselves, with the exception of Wes, Nick, Beatz, David, Jeff, and Blaine.

"I'm sorry for being such a hassle." Kurt said, wiping a stray tear away.

"Kurt, I already told you that you aren't a hassle. You need to stop thinking that." Blaine said sadly.

"You know what, I think we need a boys night." David said suddenly.

"David." Wes said in a warning tone.

"I'm serious. We'll make some popcorn and watch a movie or something." David said seriously.

"I think it's a great idea." Beatz jumped in.

"What do you say, Kurt? Want to have a guy's night with these crazies over here?" Blaine asked smirking, knowing that they all would act hurt at his accusation of them being crazy.

Kurt looked up at the Warblers, all of whom were wearing the same hopeful expression, and couldn't suppress the small laugh that escaped his mouth. "Yeah, ok." He shrugged.

"Awesome!" Jeff said excitedly. "I'll raid the kitchen for snacks!" "I'll get a few movies." Nick said.

"I'll get the sleeping bags!" David jumped in.

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All of them jumped in surprise when Kurt's phone suddenly rang out. Beatz, who was still holding the phone, handed it back to Kurt. "It's my dad. I'll see you guys up there." He answered the phone quickly and headed out of the rehearsal hall.

"Dude, what the hell was all that about?" Beatz asked as soon as Kurt was gone.

"I don't know. I'm assuming that Karofsky is the reason he's here though." Blaine told him.

"I don't like seeing him like that. He reminded me of Jimmy." Beatz said angrily.

"We need to talk to him. We need to get him to talk to us." Wes said firmly.

"Yeah but we can't push him to hard." Nick said.

"Let's do the sharing circle." Jeff suggested.

"Yeah, that's a good idea." David agreed.

"Alright, let's do that. Let's do this in our room, that way he feels more comfortable." Blaine suggested. They all agreed on the terms of their night and headed in separate directions to get things ready.

When Blaine walked back into the room, he heard Kurt say goodbye to his dad. "Everything ok?" Blaine asked him.

"Yeah, everything's ok. He was just checking up on me." Kurt sighed.

"You're lucky you have a father who loves you so much, Kurt." Blaine said sadly. The tone in Blaine's voice made him curious about Blaine's relationship with his father. "We're doing the guy's night here, is that alright?"

"Yes, that's fine." Kurt nodded. "Cool." Blaine said smiling brightly.

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"Do you ever not smile?" Kurt unintentionally asked.

"Why? Does it bother you? I can make my puppy face and be sad all the time if it suits you better." Blaine said, giving Kurt his best big eyed sad face.

"N-no. It doesn't bother me. I-I was just saying that you smile a lot." Kurt said flustered. If he thought that Blaine's smile was attractive, his puppy face was ridiculously adorable.

Blaine chuckled and shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a happy guy." He told him, flashing him a toothy grin.

"You're kind of a dork too." Kurt said quietly in a teasing tone. He didn't know why he was talking to Blaine in such a manner, but there was something about him that made Kurt feel comfortable enough to tease.

"I'm sure the guys will tell you that I'm more than just 'kind of a dork'." Blaine laughed.

"Yeah he is!" David said suddenly as he walked in the door. "He's a huge dork. Don't let the dapper Mr. Anderson fool you into thinking otherwise."

"I wouldn't dream of fooling him." Blaine said flirtier than intended. He was seconds away from chastising himself but stopped when he noticed the blush on Kurt's face. Did I do that? Huh. He's cute when blushes.

"No, of course not." David smirked, noticing the change in the atmosphere between the two boys. He wondered briefly if he was imagining it but tucked the thought away for later and asked Blaine to help him set up the sleeping bags on the floor.

Within the next ten minutes, Beatz, Jeff, Wes, and Nick joined them in the room. They made themselves comfortable on the floor in a circle and casually talked about whatever came to mind for the next little while. Kurt didn't talk much, with the exception of a comment here and there, but he enjoyed watching the others interact. The conversations switched back and forth between music, movies, books, and cars. When they started on the cars, Kurt told them how his dad owned Hummel Lube and Tires and how they like to rebuild cars together. That sent him and Beatz into a whole new conversation while the others sat and listened.

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As the night went on, Kurt became more comfortable. It was hard not to relax when the Warblers made it so easy. For the first time in months, Kurt was at ease. Wes took the opportunity to study Kurt. He decided that Kurt wasn't nearly as lost as they first assumed, but he was definitely broken and afraid. He could tell that Kurt wasn't exactly done fighting either, but simply used to the abuse. After Jeff made a joke, sending the group, including Kurt, into a fit of giggle, Wes decided it was a good time to start.

"So, Kurt. Exactly how much do you know about Dalton?" Wes asked when the laughter died down. "You mean other than it's a prestigious prep school?" Kurt replied sarcastically.

Wes chuckled lightly and nodded. "Yes, other than that."

"Not much really." Kurt shrugged. "My dad said something about Dalton taking care of their students but I assumed he was talking about the no bullying policy. I'm starting to think he meant something else though." The Warblers glanced at one another, all sharing the same soft smile.

"He did." Blaine replied softly, subconsciously scooting closer to Kurt. "What do you mean?" Kurt asked confused.

"Well, Dalton is different. It's not just a school but a place where we learn how to fight our inner demons, a place to heal." Blaine told him.

"...ok." Kurt said, shifting slightly.

"Dalton's students are more often than not struggling with something." Wes continued. "It could be anything from their parents' divorce to something deeper, darker. The nurses here are more than capable of helping the students through whatever ordeal, but we take care of each other so they don't have to. It's a little unorthodox, sure. But we create true, lasting friendships by being each other's strengths. We'd like to do that for you, if you let us."

"Um...ok. How?" Kurt asked.

"For starters, we talk. We sit in a circle and share personal information about ourselves. Like group

therapy except no one is required to talk. We sit and listen, judgment free, and we give each other advice. - 37 -

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We only go to the adults if we feel like it's absolutely necessary, but for the most part, we take care of each other." Nick said with a kind smile.

They want me to open up? They want me to tell them what happened? I don't think I can do that.

Sensing Kurt's apprehension, Blaine gingerly placed his hand on Kurt's knee and gave it a comforting squeeze. "You don't need to tell us anything if you don't want to, Kurt. No one is going to force you."

"Blaine's right. We can just tell you something about ourselves for now." David chimed in. "It took us weeks of doing this with Blaine before he opened up. There's no pressure."

"Um...ok...sure." Kurt said quietly.

"I'll go first." Wes said, taking a sip of his soda before continuing. "My life outside Dalton sucks. My parents got divorced when I was really little and my I've had at least 5 step-moms since then. Before Dalton, I acted out a lot and got into some pretty shitty situations just to get attention from my father, but he was too involved with his new wife at the time to care. I kind of became a control freak after that. I bossed my siblings around and yelled at them like a crazy person, just so I could feel like I mattered."

"What do you mean kind of? You're still a control freak." David teased.

"Hey!" Wes said in a defensive tone, playfully shoving David away. "Yeah ok, so I'm still a control freak, but whatever."

"What about your mom?" Kurt asked curiously.

"Don't know. She ran off with some European oversees and I haven't heard from her since." Wes said shrugging.

"Wow." Kurt said surprised.

"Yep. Who knows where I'd be if it wasn't for Dalton." Wes said, glancing at David so that he could go next. "I don't talk at home, like ever." David told Kurt.

"Really?" Kurt questioned, clearly unconvinced.

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"Yep. Every time I do my asshole brother cuts me down." David said in irritation. "He's at Yale Law and he never misses an opportunity to make me feel like I'm a piece of crap. If it's not him being a douche, it's my parents talking about wonderful he is and how I need to be more like him. Once I figured out that I was never going to meet their standards, I quit talking all together."

"You not talking? I'll never believe it." Kurt teased. It had only been a day but Kurt had already noticed that David rarely shut up.

"Hey! I thought you were nice!" David said pouting.

"Sorry." Kurt said laughing.

"Eh, don't be. I think I overcompensate not talking at home by talking too much here." David shrugged.

"Yes, I'm sure that's it." Nick said rolling his eyes. "I fortunately enough don't have any real issues. In fact, my life is pretty boring. Both my parents are lawyers and I'm an only child. That's pretty much it. I usually go home to an empty house."

"You act like that's a bad thing." Jeff cut in. When Kurt looked at him in confusion he elaborated. "I have five siblings. After my parents had me they kept trying for more kids but it never happened. They went to some doctor to help them with it and my mom ended up with Quintuplets."

"Wow! Is that why you're so hyper?" Kurt asked with a smirk.

"Naw, I just eat too much sugar." Jeff laughed. "I need it to keep up with the brats. They just turned 8."

"At least you have siblings." Beatz said bitterly. Jeff looked at him apologetically and Beatz shrugged at him. "It's cool, not your fault." Beatz then turned his attention to Kurt. "I had a brother, James but we called him Jimmy. He would've been a sophomore at Dalton this year."

"Would've been?" Kurt asked cautiously.

"Yeah. He went to a public middle school and was bullied real bad for being gay. I would come home during the weekends to find him with bruises all over his body. I offered to kick the bully's ass but he wouldn't let me. He became real distant and withdrawn. No matter how much I tried talking to him he never told me how bad it really was. One night, my parents found him swaying in a corner, like how you

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were today on the couch. They left him alone, assuming he would be fine, but he wasn't. He hung himself that night." Kurt covered his mouth and gasped loudly. "Yeah. You'd think my parents would feel worse about it but they don't. They don't think there was anything they could've done to prevent it from happening. I blame them just as much as those ignorant assholes for his death."

"Beatz, I'm so sorry." Kurt said quietly.

"Yeah, me too. I thank God every day for these guys and the Warblers. They help me not get angry and I used to get really fucking angry." Beatz said through gritted teeth.

The guys sat in silence for a few minutes before Blaine finally spoke up. "I guess you'd like to know what happened to me."

"Only if you want to tell me." Kurt said softly.

"I do. It still helps to talk about it." Blaine admitted. "Like I told you before, I transferred here for being bullied, which is true. That's not why I cut though. My...father, hates me. While I was being physically bullied at school, I was emotionally bullied at home. He used to say awful things to me, made me feel like I was worthless and damned to hell. I went from being his little boy with an amazing voice to 'that disgusting waste of space' within seconds of my coming out to them. My mom never said anything to me, but she stopped loving me. You could see it in her eyes. Hell I'm sure you still can." Blaine said as a few tears fell. Kurt reached over and grabbed Blaine's hand, giving it a comforting squeeze. "I started cutting not long after coming out and I did it practically every day. It wasn't until I joined the Warblers that I stopped. It's been almost two years and I still have my days where I struggle with the memories."

"I can't believe your parents treated you like that." Kurt said softly. "Everyone's got their demons Kurt." Blaine shrugged.

Kurt looked down into his lap as the others looked at him curiously. They shared so much with me, especially Blaine and Beatz. I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell them something, right?

"You alright over there?" Beatz asked him.

"Yeah, I was just thinking." Kurt said quietly. He took a deep breath before talking again. "It started when I was in elementary school, the bullying. My mom passed away when I was 9 and they found me crying in

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the bathroom. Ever since then, I've been that...fairy princess." Kurt said bitterly. Just like Kurt held Blaine's hand, Blaine reached over to hold his. "I dealt with it as best as I could. It got worse as we got older though; slushies in the face and being shoved into lockers kind of thing. The New Directions are the bottom of the heap at McKinley so they've all been bullied too, but I got it the worst. There's this one Neanderthal who made it his personal life goal to make me miserable."

"Is it Karofsky?" Blaine asked as he rubbed circles on Kurt's hand comfortingly. "How'd you know?" Kurt asked a little defensively.

"We saw the text from earlier." Beatz said with a half shrug.

"Oh. Well, yeah that's him. He...he's just...he kissed me." Kurt said quickly. "What?" David asked in confusion.

"Wait, are you telling us that the same guy who bullied you for being gay kissed you?" Nick said in disbelief. Kurt nodded as he wiped the tears from his face. "What the hell!"

"There's...there's more." Kurt said weakly. "He...did more as time went on."

Beatz was suddenly standing up and pacing angrily in the small space left. "That's fucked up! How dare he touch you?! Who the hell does he think he is?!"

"Andrew." Wes said firmly. It was the first time Kurt had heard anyone call him by his real name but it seemed to calm the boy down.

"Kurt, I am so sorry that you've gone through that." Blaine said softly.

"It's fine. I mean, it's not but I can't change what happened." Kurt said shrugging.

"We won't let him near you Kurt. I won't let him near you." Beatz, who was now leaning up against the wall, said. Kurt reminded him so much of his younger brother and he decided right then and there that he would protect Kurt in the same way he should've protected Jimmy.

"Could we watch a movie now? I don't want talk about this anymore." Kurt said quietly. - 41 -

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"That sounds like a good idea." David said getting up.

The boys, minus Kurt and Blaine, spent the next fifteen minutes arguing over which movie to watch. Kurt had moved to his bed to sit and Blaine followed, sitting next to him.

"Are you ok?" Blaine asked Kurt in a whisper. "Yeah, I'm ok." Kurt told him.

"I have to be honest Kurt, I didn't expect you to open up as much as you did." Blaine said with a small smile.

"I didn't either." Kurt admitted. "I don't know, you've just...you've made me feel so welcome. It's been a really long time since I've felt accepted."

"I will always accept you Kurt, no matter what." Blaine said softly.

"Thanks Blaine." Kurt said quietly, reciprocating the smile Blaine was giving him.

Once again, David noticed the soft exchange between the two boys, but this time so did Beatz. They glanced knowingly at one another but said nothing. After what Kurt told them, they knew that Kurt was in no position to be in any kind of relationship yet, even if he was smiling at Blaine adoringly. They both silently decided that they would keep an eye out on the two boys. They were going to make sure that Blaine didn't push Kurt too hard and they were going to make sure that Kurt didn't push Blaine away in the process. Not that they had anything to really worry about. Blaine knew that what Kurt needed was a friend to be there for him so he planned to be just that. He would be that friend that Kurt could count on through the end. If something more happened later, so be it, but he would never push him into something. He wouldn't take the choice away from him like Karofsky did.

They had finally decided on watching TMNT first and Harry Potter afterwards. Kurt and Blaine stayed on Kurt's bed while the others stayed on the floor to watch the movies. A little more than halfway through Harry Potter, Kurt had fallen asleep on Blaine's shoulder. Blaine smiled to himself and gently placed his head on top of Kurt's while he continued to watch the movie. He had every intention of moving back to his bed when the movie ended, but fell asleep just fifteen minutes before the credits. David and Beatz were

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the only ones still awake and the both laughed quietly when the saw Kurt and Blaine snuggled up. Beatz stole Blaine's bed for the night as David turned the TV off.

"So, what do you think?" Beatz asked quietly, gesturing to Kurt and Blaine.

"I think this year is going to be an interesting one for our dear dapper Mr. Anderson here." David replied as he settled himself in his sleeping bag.

Beatz nodded and agreed, knowing that David meant it in more ways than one. Whatever ended up happening between the two boys, there was going to be drama with Blaine's father and they would be there when the ball inevitably dropped.

- 43 -

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CHAPTER FIVE

Becoming A Warbler

Blaine woke up in the middle of the night to find himself slumped over Kurt in an awkward position. Shit I fell asleep on him! He started moving to make his way over to his bed but stopped when he heard Kurt talking in his sleep. He heard Kurt repeat the word stop a few times and immediately knew that he was having another nightmare. He shifted himself so he could lay behind Kurt comfortably. He wrapped one arm protectively around Kurt's waist, placed his head on his other arm, allowing his fingers to lightly stroke Kurt's hair, and hummed quietly. Blaine was unaware of the fact that Beatz had also been awake. He was an incredibly light sleeper and woke up when Kurt began to talk in his sleep. He watched as Blaine adjusted himself next to Kurt and smiled to himself when he heard Blaine humming to him. Blaine continued to hum quietly even after Kurt had settled down. He didn't want Kurt to fall back into his dream so he hummed until he fell asleep next to him.

Kurt was confused when he woke up that next morning. He wasn't alone in his bed and for a moment, he was scared by the arm that held him tightly. He realized it was Blaine and blushed at the thought of Blaine cuddling with him. He shifted uneasily in his bed, stirring Blaine awake in the process.

"Kurt?" Blaine asked sleepily. "What's wrong?"

"You mean other than the fact that you're cuddling with me on my bed?" Kurt replied with hint of sarcasm.

"Oh!" Blaine said, quickly removing his arm. "Sorry."

"Why are you in my bed?" Kurt asked him.

"We fell asleep during the movie. I actually woke up in the middle of the night but you were having a nightmare so I cuddled and hummed you to sleep. I hope that's alright." Blaine said sheepishly.

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"I-it's fine." Kurt stammered. "I was having a nightmare?"

"Yeah, you don't remember?" Kurt shook his head no and moved to sit up on the bed. "Oh well, I guess

that's a good thing right?"

- 44 -

"Right." Kurt said quietly.

Beatz, who had woken up not long after Kurt and Blaine, stretched in Blaine's bed, making his presence known. "Morning." He said sleepily.

"Morning." Kurt and Blaine replied at the same time. "What's the plan for today?" Beatz asked.

"I have homework to finish but that's about it. I don't know about these guys." Blaine replied, nudging Jeff with his foot.

"Ellie, I swear I'm going to cut your Barbie doll's hair if you don't let me sleep." Jeff mumbled.

Beatz and Blaine laughed while Kurt watched them with a confused expression. Beatz nudged Jeff with his foot, granting them another mumble. "Stop Sammy or I'll eat all your X-men."

"What is he talking about?" Kurt asked curiously.

"Ellie and Sammy are two of his sibs. If you try and wake him up before he wants to he ends up mumbling random things like that." Blaine said laughing.

"Really? Can I try?" Kurt asked. "By all means." Beatz said smiling.

Kurt reached over and cautiously nudged Jeff. "No, I don't want to play dress up Sarah. I make an ugly princess."

"Oh wow." Kurt laughed.

"Yeah. Nick's his roommate and he has a few recordings of all the random shit he says." Beatz told him. "I think I need to hear these recordings." Kurt said smiling.

- 45 -

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"I think you need to too." Blaine laughed. Kurt's cell phone suddenly rang out, making the other boys startle awake.

"Who's playing Lady Gaga this early?" David grunted.

"Sorry, it's my phone." Kurt said and quickly made his way out of the room.

While the other boys started to get up for the day, Beatz made his way over to Blaine to whisper in his ear. "Someone's got a crush." He said in a singsong voice.

"What?" Blaine said quickly.

"You heard me." Beatz said with a wink and walked away.

The group of boys all went their separate ways that Sunday, most of them having homework to finish. Kurt stayed in his room for most of the day and read. Blaine found things to preoccupy himself with in their room in order to spend time with Kurt. He couldn't help but want to be around him. There was something about him that intrigued Blaine on a level he couldn't quite understand. He was glad when Kurt asked him about auditioning for the Warblers, sending them into a deep conversation about music. They both quickly learned that they had quite a bit in common and Kurt was surprised at how easily it was to talk to Blaine. Later that evening, Blaine convinced Kurt to hang out in the common room with the rest of his friends and Kurt was more than grateful that the other boys accepted him in their group so quickly.

Kurt's first day at Dalton was interesting to say the least. He spent the morning scowling at himself in the mirror, hating the fact that he had to wear a uniform. Even though it had been a while since he'd actually dressed to impress, he still hated feeling like he couldn't express himself. He quickly learned that the classes at Dalton were completely different than the ones at McKinley. At McKinley, the students never sat still long enough to hear what the teacher was saying. Not that it mattered because most of the teachers droned on either way. He wasn't in the least bit academically challenged there since most of the teachers simply didn't care. At Dalton, the students not only sat and listened to what the teacher was saying, but they actually participated. The teachers didn't drone on like the ones at McKinley. Instead, they were vivid and passionate about what they were teaching. Kurt couldn't quite grasp that idea but he rather enjoyed it.

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The boys at Dalton were unlike anything he'd ever seen before. In class, they were model students. Outside of class however, they were normal rambunctious teenage boys. There were several couples in the school which Kurt had not expected at all. There was no bullying, no fighting, and no fear in the halls of Dalton. At one point, Kurt actually thought that he might have joined a cult because seriously, how can all these boys be so happy all the time? He was surprised at how differently the Warblers were treated compared to the other boys as well. The Warblers were the most popular guys in the school. Even the teachers treated them differently and Kurt just couldn't get that. He wasn't sure how he was going to handle the attention he knew he would get once he joined, but he was glad that he had Blaine to help him through it.

That was another thing that Kurt couldn't quite understand. Blaine. Blaine was something out of a 1950s movie. He joked around with his friends and all, but he was the most polite and dapper person that Kurt had ever met. He made sure that Kurt was doing ok throughout the day and he even let himself be late to his classes in order to walk Kurt to his. Admittedly, Kurt didn't mind it, especially when he had a panic attack after lunch. Blaine was there to calm him down and Kurt was sure he would never tire of hearing his smooth vocals. The other Warblers were ridiculously friendly to him as well. It didn't matter that many of them had only spoken to him once or twice that weekend. They all witnessed what had happened when he received the text from Karofsky and too many of them understood that feeling of hopelessness and despair. His official Warbler audition was on Wednesday and despite the nerves, Kurt was rather excited about joining the group.

"I can't do this." Kurt said in a panic. "I can't! Do you have any idea how long it's been since I sang in front of anyone, like really sang? I can't do it. I can't!"

Kurt was standing outside the Warbler hall with Beatz, waiting for the council to call him in. Beatz and him had bonded in a way Kurt could only describe as brotherly. While he was no Finn, he was in the same category and Kurt was really grateful for it.

"Would you relax? You're going to be fine." Beatz assured him. Kurt glanced at him unsurely but said nothing. "Ok, tell me the truth. Are you nervous about singing in front them, or in front of him?" he asked with a knowing smile.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Kurt said, avoiding Beatz' gaze. - 47 -

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"No, of course not." Beatz said with a laugh. "Don't worry, he already thinks that you're amazing. Now all you have to do is how him just how amazing you truly are."

Kurt blushed and looked down at his hands. Beatz was the only Warbler who had heard him practice for the audition and by pure accident, he had mentioned being nervous about singing in front of Blaine. He quickly said that it was because Blaine was the lead soloist so his opinion mattered to him but Beatz knew better than that.

The doors opened up and David poked his head out to tell Kurt that they were ready for him. He took a deep breath and walked in, ignoring all the eyes on him. Beatz took a seat across from Blaine purposely. He wanted to see the expressions on Blaine's face while Kurt performed.

"Whenever you're ready, Kurt." Wes said with a bright smile. This was the Warbler's most anticipated audition yet. They knew that Kurt was a countertenor and were all expecting to be blown away. None of them hid their surprise when the song started nor did Blaine hide the smile that spread across his face.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night

Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

all your life

you were only waiting for this moment to be free

The Warblers sat quietly, listening intently to Kurt sing. There was something about the way he sang it that hit home for many of them. Beatz switched back and forth from Kurt's performance to Blaine's expressions. He could see the tears well up in Blaine's eyes.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night. Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly

Into the light of the dark black night.

- 48 -

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Blackbird singing in the dead of night

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

All your life

You were only waiting for this moment to arise, You were only waiting for this moment to arise, You were only waiting for this moment to arise

By the time that Kurt had finished the song, most of the boys were teary eyed. Kurt wiped away his own set of tears and chuckled nervously as he took in all of the faces in the room. His eyes finally landed on Blaine and he could see the adoration and pride in Blaine's eyes, making him blush and look away.

"Well done Kurt!" Thad said proudly. "All those in favor of adding Kurt to the Warblers raise your hand." Every hand went up without hesitation. Kurt couldn't help but smile broadly at the acceptance.

"Congratulations, Kurt. Welcome to the Warblers." Wes said smiling as the Warblers broke into applause. "With that said, we have something for you."

Jeff quickly got up from his chair and exited the room. The boys began talking with one another while the waited. Just as Kurt reached where Blaine was talking with Beatz and David, Jeff came in with a bird cage. Wes took the cage from Jeff and made his way over to Kurt.

"Kurt, we present to you Pavarotti. We have a tradition here where the newest member of the Warblers gets a real Warbler to take care of. That bird is your voice. Treat him well." Wes said as he handed Kurt the cage. Kurt watched Pavarotti curiously for a moment before thanking the council. The rest of that evening consisted of working Kurt into the routine for Sectionals which was only a week and half away.

By Friday, Kurt could not deny how tired he really was. While he enjoyed finally being challenged, the academics at Dalton were no joke. It didn't help that Wes was driving them to perfection for Sectionals either. He found himself to be too busy to worry about anything that was going on in the "real world" as he liked to call it, but was truly glad for the distraction. It prevented him from thinking too much and he knew that it was never good when he thought too much. He still had a few panic attacks throughout the week, but he was usually with Blaine, Beatz, or Jeff when they happened so they sang with him to calm him down.

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Now that it was Friday night, however, he was more than anxious about the weekend. He would be going home early Saturday which meant that he would have a distraction free weekend. The only reason he hadn't gone home after school Friday was because of Warbler rehearsal. He would've stayed the whole weekend with that excuse except that Wes insisted that Kurt go home for the weekend to be with his family.

"Hey, are you ok?" Blaine had asked him. Blaine always seemed to know when Kurt was feeling off and while Kurt really did appreciate it, it was also slightly annoying.

"I'm fine." Kurt answered him. Blaine looked at him curiously before getting up from his desk to sit next to Kurt on his bed.

"You know you can tell me, Kurt." Blaine said softly.

"I know." Kurt replied quietly. "I'm just...I guess I'm just worried about this weekend."

"Why?"

"Because I'll be at home. I miss my family and everything but..."

"You feel safer here?" Blaine finished for him.

"Yeah." Kurt said quietly, ashamed by the admittance.

"I know what you mean." Blaine said with a sad smile. "But don't worry, I'm only a phone call away and so are the other Warblers. Alright?"

"Yeah, alright. Thanks Blaine." Kurt said smiling shyly. "Anytime Kurt."

Kurt was woken up around 2 am that night. He struggled to open his eyes and when he finally did, he saw Blaine smiling goofily at him. "What?" he snapped in his half asleep daze.

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"Come on, wake up. We need to hurry up or we're going to be late." Blaine told him.

"Late for what?" Kurt asked in confusion.

"Would you just come on?" Blaine said eagerly.

"I am not going anywhere until you tell me what the hell is going on!" Kurt said irritably.

"It's a surprise. A surprise you are going to miss if you don't get your tush out of bed." Blaine said playfully.

"Seriously, Blaine?" Kurt asked exasperatedly.

"Seriously, Kurt. Now come on. Trust me." Blaine said softly, holding his hand out to Kurt.

Trust him? There it was again. That was the second time that Blaine had ever asked Kurt to trust him and while a part of him was screaming no, another part of him, the same part that always got lost in Blaine's deep hazel eyes, was telling him yes. He sighed heavily before taking Blaine's hand. He put his slippers on quickly and let Blaine lead the way.

"Blaine, slow down!" Kurt said in a whisper as Blaine rushed them outside. "Where are we going?!" "Just come on! We're going to miss it!" Blaine said as he led Kurt outside of the school building.

"What are we doing? We're going to get in so much trouble! We're not supposed to be out here!" Kurt said panicking.

"We'll be fine, come on!" Blaine said. He dropped Kurt's hand and finished running to the side of the building that had a ladder.

"Blaine, what are you doing! Get down from there!" Kurt practically screeched at him. Blaine didn't answer him. Instead he sped his pace up, ignoring the protest from Kurt. "What the hell is he doing?" Kurt mumbled to himself just as Blaine disappeared onto the rooftop.

"Are you coming or what?" Blaine called out to him.

- 51 -

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"Oh for crying out loud." Kurt said irritably. He huffed in defeat and climbed up the ladder.

When he made it to the top, his jaw dropped when he saw all the Warblers spread out on sleeping bags and blankets. He walked over to where Blaine was settling himself down, saying a quick hello to his new friends. As soon as Kurt made it over to Blaine, Blaine grabbed his arm and pulled him down.

"Are you going to tell me what we're doing up here? This isn't some crazy Warbler tradition where we all jump off the roof is it?" Kurt quipped.

"Oh hush and lay down. It's about to start." Blaine said smiling. "What is?" Kurt asked in aggravation.

"Shh." Blaine replied as he pointed up towards the sky.

Kurt settled himself next to Blaine, probably closer than he should've been but neither one minded. He looked up at the sky and waited for something to happen. He opened his mouth to make another remark but stopped when he saw the shooting stars.

"Wow." Kurt whispered.

"Yeah. We love coming up for this." Blaine whispered back. "And yes, it is a Warbler tradition."

"It would be." Kurt replied smiling.

They laid there quietly for several moments. If this was what being a Warbler meant then Kurt couldn't think of ever not being one. He had never felt more at peace then he did at that very moment.

"It's beautiful." Kurt said absentmindedly.

"Yeah, very beautiful." Blaine agreed.

Kurt hadn't noticed that Blaine was watching his face light up instead of the shooting stars. Beatz and David, however, did notice. They nodded at one another as if coming to an agreement before shifting their

attention back to the stars.

- 52 -

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CHAPTER SIX

Not Strong Enough

"Are you sure Kurt knows we're coming to get him?" Puck asked Finn as they got into the car.

"Yeah, dude. Well, he knows Burt is coming to pick him up. I doubt he'll mind if it's us though." Finn shrugged.

"If you say so, man. If he throws a bitch fit I'm blaming you." Puck informed him.

"He's not going to do that...I don't think." Finn said unsurely.

"Maybe we should call him." Puck suggested.

"I already tried but he didn't pick up. He's probably still sleeping. It's cool though. We have two hours to get there. He'll be up by then." Finn assured him as he pulled out of the Hummel/Hudson home.

Kurt heard the giggles of a few Warblers as he began to stir awake. He wasn't sure what they were laughing at but he didn't particularly care. He was wrapped up tightly in a warm, protective cocoon and he had no intention of moving anytime soon. As the giggles in the background got louder, he became more alert. He soon realized that the reason they were giggling was because Blaine's arm was wrapped around his waist and he was snuggled comfortably behind him. A blush crept up on his cheeks as he felt Blaine's arm tighten around him. Does he cuddle with all of his friends or am I special? Don't be stupid. You aren't special to anyone. Kurt shifted in the sleeping bag, trying to stir Blaine awake while secretly enjoying the proximity.

"Stop moving." Blaine mumbled behind him.

"Blaine?" Kurt said slowly.

"Sleep." Blaine responded, tightening his grip around Kurt.

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Kurt couldn't stop the smile that spread across his face. Blaine was definitely something to marvel at. He had gone above and beyond to make sure that Kurt was ok during the week and Kurt couldn't be more grateful for the friendship. If he let himself, he'd admit that Blaine made his stomach do little flips. He wouldn't let himself admit it though. He couldn't.

"Aren't they precious?" Kurt heard David say from a few feet away.

"I knew he thought Kurt was cute." Trent said in an attempted whisper.

Kurt opened his eyes to see Trent, David, Nick, and Beatz watching them with amused expressions. Kurt huffed in annoyance and forced himself to sit up. "Can I help you?" he snapped at them.

"What happened to that quiet shy boy we met last weekend?" David teased.

"He must be hiding in Blaine's sleeping bag." Beatz said smirking.

"Wasgoinon?" Blaine asked sleepily from behind Kurt.

"Oh, nothing. We're just watching you and Kurt cuddle like adorable puppies." Nick said smiling. "Actually, I think Kurt would be a kitten." Trent pointed out.

"You guys are ridiculous." Kurt said rolling his eyes. He dared a glance at Blaine, smiling shyly when he noticed that Blaine was blushing as well.

"Sorry. I'm kind of a cuddle whore." Blaine admitted softly. "Yes, I got that." Kurt replied shyly.

"Hey, Kurt. There's some really tall guy and a guy with a Mohawk at the front demanding to see you." Wes called out to him from the ladder.

"Awe, crap!" Kurt said quickly, throwing the blankets off of him and standing up.

"Is everything alright?" Beatz asked him.

- 54 -

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"Yeah, I forgot my dad was supposed to be picking me up. I guess he sent Finn to do it and Finn must of brought Puck." Kurt said in one breath and ran towards the ladder.

"Who are Finn and Puck?" David asked Beatz. Beatz shrugged. "I don't know. Let's go find out."

"He's got five minutes before I go in there and bust some heads." Puck said to Finn.

"I just don't know why he won't answer his phone." Finn said in confusion.

"Where'd that little Asian guy go?" Puck said cracking his knuckles.

"I don't know dude but don't be stupid. He probably has ninja skills, I wouldn't mess with him." Finn said as he pulled his phone out to call Kurt again.

"Yeah, I'm the stupid one." Puck mumbled to himself. "Look, there he is." Finn looked at where Puck was pointing to see Kurt and several other boys climbing down the ladder.

"Is he...laughing?" Finn asked in surprise.

Sure enough, whatever David had said to Kurt made him nearly fall off the last few steps in laughter. He started making his way towards the doors when he heard Finn and Puck call out to him. He gave them both a disgruntled look before walking over to them with Blaine, David, and Beatz close behind.

"Dude, where have you been? I've been calling you for like two hours." Finn said exasperatedly.

"Sorry, Finn. We had a Warbler thing on the roof and I didn't have my phone on me. Where's my dad?" Kurt asked him.

"John called in so he's at the shop. Who are they?" Finn asked, nodding at the guys behind him.

"Oh, this is David, Beatz, and my roommate Blaine. Guys, this is my step-brother Finn and his friend Puck."

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Kurt told him.

- 55 -

"Yo." David and Beatz said in unison.

"Hi." Blaine said with his usual charming smile. He extended his hand out to Finn who shook it, then to Puck who just stared at him.

"Nuh, uh. Berry will kill me if she finds out I associated with a Gargle. You'll be lucky if doesn't kill you." Puck said to Finn. Kurt smiled at the sheepish expression that came across Finn's face.

"Warbler, Noah." Kurt corrected. "I'm going to get my stuff. I'll be right back." He said and walked off towards the building.

"So you guys are in the New Directions, huh?" David asked in his councilman voice. "Yeah, you got a problem with that?" Puck asked threateningly.

"Naw." David said smiling. "Word of advice though. Bring it."

"Oh it's so on dude." Puck said crossing his arms.

By the time Kurt got back to the front, David and Beatz had left, leaving Blaine alone with Puck and Finn. Blaine must have been telling them something complicated because both boys had confused expressions on their face. As Kurt got close enough to hear, he smiled to himself when he heard what the conversation was about.

"It really isn't that bad without girls. Most of the guys have girlfriends that go to Dalton's sister school and we do a lot of events together." Blaine told them.

"Naw man, I couldn't do that. The Puckster needs his daily lady lovin." Puck said shaking his head.

"The Puckster needs his lady lovin just as much as he needs to stop calling himself The Puckster." Kurt quipped from behind Blaine.

"Hey. I was just telling your friends the benefits of an all boy school." Blaine told him. - 56 -

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"Good luck with that." Kurt replied with a half-smile.

"You ready to go, dude?" Finn asked him.

"Yeah, I'm ready." Kurt nodded. "And quit calling me dude."

"Sorry, dude." Finn said shrugging. "Nice meeting you Blaine." He said as he walked to the driver's side of the car.

"You too, Finn." Blaine replied.

Blaine turned his attention to Kurt, stepped a few inches closer, and lowered his voice so Kurt was the only one that heard him. "Are you going to be ok?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Kurt told him.

"Alright. Call me if you need anything, ok?" Blaine said softly. He didn't need to say anymore. Kurt understood what he was talking about.

"I will." Kurt assured him. "Thanks, Blaine."

"Of course." Blaine replied with a shy smile.

"Yo, Hummel. Let's go." Puck yelled from the passenger seat.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Blaine." Kurt said with a sad smile and walked towards the car.

"See you tomorrow, Kurt." Blaine replied, matching Kurt's sad smile. He stood where he was, watched Finn backed out of the driveway, and waved to Kurt one final time before walking back into the school.

The drive back to Lima was uncomfortably quiet. Finn and Puck tried to talk to Kurt a few times but he only ever responded with grunts and half-hearted answers. He wasn't trying to ignore them or be rude. His thoughts were just too wrapped up in Blaine. How is it possible for someone to be so kind? How is possible that he always seems to know what to say? Blaine with his stupid charm and his devastatingly good

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looks and that damn smile! God I hate the smile! No, that's a lie. I love that smile. Probably a lot more than I should. God, why does he have to make things so complicated? Damn you Beatz for putting this idea in my head! Kurt pulled his phone out in frustration to text Beatz. There was no way he was going to take the blame for his confusion.

I hate you. –Kurt

Kurt sent the text with a satisfied smile. Yep, it's definitely Beatz' fault. Lol. Why? What did I do? –Beatz

Oh don't play dumb! Kurt quickly sent another text, pressing the buttons on his phone with just a tad too much determination.

You put ideas in my head that don't need to be there and it's entirely your fault. –Kurt HA! No way. I'm not taking the blame for your crush. –Beatz

Oh my God! He can't say that! What if someone reads it?! Kurt replied instantly, in a panic even. Shut up! And it's not a crush! It's just...admiration for a fellow Warbler –Kurt

Lol, ok Kurt. Whatever you say. –Beatz

"Dude, do you like, have a boyfriend at Dalton already?" Finn asked him. Kurt hadn't realized that he was smiling like an idiot to himself but Finn and Puck did. It had become a rare site to see Kurt smile lately so both boys sat in the car confused by Kurt's actions.

"What? No. Why would you think that?" Kurt asked confused.

"Because man, you've barely said anything to us since we left Dalton but you're texting someone and smiling like a buffoon back there. It's gotta be about guy. You getting some ass with those Warblers already?" Puck asked smirking.

"Dude, gross. That's my brother." Finn said exasperatedly. - 58 -

"Puck, just...shut up." Kurt said irritably.

"I'll take that as a yes." Puck said with satisfaction, making Kurt huff in annoyance.

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Back at Dalton, Beatz, David, and Nick were watching Blaine in amusement. They were in Blaine's room studying for an exam they had that Monday but Blaine wasn't studying. Instead, he was staring at the space just above his book, lost in thought.

"You know what I heard?" Nick said to David.

"No, Nick. What did you hear?" David asked overdramatically.

"I heard that when someone stares off into space for long periods of time it means that they're going crazy." Nick said smirking.

"Yeah, I heard that too." Beatz agreed. "But I heard the craziness was brought on by love."

"Oh, love! Yes, that definitely turns people into zombies." David nodded. "Isn't that right, Blaine?"

"Huh?" Blaine replied, not hearing the conversation they just had. Beatz, David, and Nick started laughing, granting them a confused look from Blaine. "What?"

"Seriously, dude? You got it bad." David said shaking his head.

"Got what bad? What are you guys talking about?" Blaine asked him.

"Kurt, Blaine. Kurt." Nick responded.

"What about Kurt?" Blaine asked, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

"Oh my dear dapper Mr. Anderson, you are such a lost puppy sometimes." David said sighing. "Seriously guys, what are you talking about?" Blaine asked slightly irritated.

- 59 -

"You. Like. Kurt." Beatz simply put.

"What? No. He's my friend." Blaine told them, ignoring the blush that threatened to show.

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"Bullshit, Blaine. Tell me right now that you weren't just thinking about him." David demanded. When Blaine didn't answer but looked away, David smiled proudly. "See! I knew it."

"I wasn't...thinking about him...not exactly." Blaine said quietly.

"And what pray tell were you thinking about exactly?" Nick asked him.

"Nothing." Blaine said quickly. "Just that I hope he has a good weekend at home. I know he was anxious about going so..."

"I see." Nick said slowly. "And this morning's cuddles were what, you trying to calm his anxiety?"

"No, not exactly." Blaine said avoiding eye contact with his friends.

"Ok..." Beatz said, looking at Blaine expectantly.

Blaine finally glanced at his friends and all three were wearing the same expectant, knowing looks. "What?" He asked with a nervous laugh.

"Say it, Blaine. You know you want to." Nick said smiling. "Ok, ok." Blaine said in defeat. "Maybe, I like him a little." "A little?" David asked.

"Yes, a little." Blaine told him.

"Why?" Beatz asked.

"Yeah, why do you like Kurt?" Nick pushed. "Well, I don't know." Blaine shrugged.

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"Eh!" David said, imitating a buzzer. "Wrong answer."

"Because...because he's amazing." Blaine breathed out. "He's smart, and kind, and funny. He's talented and beautiful and when he sings I just...I melt."

"Yep, that definitely sounds like a little bit of like to me." Nick teased.

"Ok so maybe I like him more than a little. Can you blame me?" Blaine asked exasperatedly.

"No, we can't blame you." David told him. "And as much as I am on board with this Klaine ship, a boyfriend is not what he needs."

"I know that, David." Blaine said quickly. "He's my friend. I'm not going to push him or anything."

"We know you aren't, Blaine. We honestly just wanted to hear you admit your feelings for him." Beatz said smirking.

"You're not going to tell the other guys are you? I don't want it to get back to Kurt and then have him freak out." Blaine said worriedly.

"No need. After this morning's cuddles, they all pretty much know." David assured him.

"Great." Blaine said rolling his eyes. "Let's get back to studying."

Beatz, Nick, and David dropped the subject of Kurt and went back to their studies, but that didn't mean that Blaine wasn't thinking about him. He knew his friends were only teasing him and he knew that he wasn't exactly hiding his feelings but after Kurt's Warbler audition, he couldn't help it.

Blaine and Kurt had just walked back into their room when Blaine grabbed Kurt's arm and turned him to get his full attention.

"What?" Kurt asked confused.

"Kurt, your audition was beautiful." Blaine said softly. Kurt blushed and looked away, making Blaine smile sweetly at him. "I'm serious. That was the most beautiful performance I've ever seen. You...you move me,

Kurt."

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Kurt looked up at Blaine, smiling shyly at the sincerity he saw in Blaine's eyes. "Thanks, Blaine." He said quietly.

Blaine matched his smile, his own blush creeping up his cheeks. "You're welcome."

Awe hell, who was Blaine kidding. He had it bad.

Kurt did not expect being at home to be so awkward. His family tried making conversation with him but he just couldn't seem to stay interested. He had only been at Dalton for a week but it quickly became his safe haven. Being surrounded by his fellow Warblers put him at ease to the point where he could say that he was actually kind of happy. Being at home, however, meant that his protective barriers were gone and he hated it. When his mind began to wander to unpleasant memories, he took out his cell and called Blaine.

"Hey, Kurt." Blaine said cheerily.

"Hey, Blaine." Kurt replied sullenly.

"Is everything ok?" Blaine asked. Even over the phone, Blaine could tell that there was something wrong.

"Yeah, everything's fine. I just...I don't know. I miss the Warblers I guess." Kurt admitted quietly. I miss you.

"We miss you too, Kurt but don't worry, you'll be home tomorrow." Blaine assured him. I miss you.

"Yeah, I know. How's Pavarotti?" Kurt asked him. He had decided to leave the bird with Blaine for his night

at home. He didn't think his father would like the constant chirping.

"He's good. He knows you're not here though. He keeps chirping at the door like he's waiting for you to come in." Blaine joked.

Kurt chuckled for only a moment when he was interrupted by a knock on his bedroom door. "Son, can we

talk?" Burt asked him from the doorway.

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"Sure, Dad." Kurt told him. "I have to go, Blaine. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Good night, Kurt. See you tomorrow." Blaine replied a little sadly before hanging up.

"What's up, Dad?"

"Nothing really. I just wanted to see how you were doing. You didn't talk much during dinner and Finn said something about you being on the roof at school?" Burt said unsurely.

"Oh, yeah." Kurt said with a small smile. "The Warblers have a ton of crazy traditions and one of them involves spending the night on the school roof to watch shooting stars."

"Oh? That sounds really nice." Burt commented.

"It was." Kurt nodded.

"So, everything's ok, you know, with you." Burt said cautiously.

"Yeah. I mean, I'm better I guess." Kurt shrugged. "Being at Dalton is...the best thing for me I think. I know that's it's a bubble and I know that the real world is nowhere near as accepting as everyone at the school is but I don't know, I'm ok with that. It's nice not to be so afraid all the time."

"Yeah? Well, good. I'm really glad to hear that. You're not, you know. Are you?" Burt asked him.

"No, Dad. I'm not. The boys...I'm not the only one with that...issue, and the Warblers take care of each other. They even have a designated time to shave in the locker room so no one can...do anything. It's another one of their crazy Warbler traditions." Kurt said with a small laugh.

"How many traditions these boys got?" Burt asked curiously.

"A lot, Dad." Kurt chuckled. "They're all really good guys. I'm glad I joined."

"Me too, son. They sound like good boys and I'm glad they've been so accepting of you. I can tell they're making a positive influence on you. Just talking about them makes you smile." Burt pointed out.

"What can I say? I guess I'm a Warbler at heart." Kurt shrugged smiling. - 63 -

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"Looks like you are. I'll be glad to meet them at Sectionals next weekend. Sleep tight, son. Call me if you need me, ok?"

"Ok. Thanks, Dad." "Anytime, kiddo."

That night was a rough one for Kurt. He couldn't relax enough to fall asleep at a decent time and when his mind finally gave out, he slept restlessly.

"Oh, that feels so good." Karofsky purred. He had his hand in Kurt's hair, griping it tightly while Kurt blew him.

Kurt didn't fight it. There was no point. He was numb to the activities by that point.

"You like that don't you? You fucking cock slut!" Karofsky growled. "So close."

Kurt tried to pull off but Karofsky prevented him. "No! You swallow my cum you cock slut."

Kurt closed his eyes tightly, gagging as Karofsky's cum hit the back of his throat. He ran and threw up at the bucket in the corner as Karofsky tucked himself away and re-zipped his pants.

"Later, Hummel." Karofsky winked and walked out of the supply closet.

Kurt made a bee-line to the bathroom to throw up again. Once his stomach was empty, he fixed himself in the mirror and walked out in order to make it to his next class. As soon as he walked out of the bathroom, Karofsky and Azimio dumped slushies on him.

"Have a great day fairy princess." Karofsky mocked, gave Azimio a high five, and walked off.

Kurt woke up abruptly, feeling disgusted and used. He quickly got out of his bed and ran to his bathroom. He felt around the back of the toilet, finding the razor blade he had taped there, and ripped it off. Without a second thought, he rolled his sleeve up, and cut deep into his wrist. He winced at the pain for only a moment before slicing again. This he could handle. This he could control. This was his reality. He sliced

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again, watching the blood drip on the bathroom tile. He felt light headed as the blood escaped him, not even realizing the tears that fell from his eyes. He shakily stood up, grabbed some tissues, and cleaned his mess up. He stumbled back into his bed in a daze and fell asleep instantly.

When he woke up the next morning, he felt like death rolled over him. He hadn't slept well and the pain of his wrist was barely bearable. What have I done? He knew that singing would've helped and he knew that he could've called any of his new friends, but why hadn't he? They were going to be mad at him. They were going to be disappointed. Blaine was going to be disappointed. What have I done?

Blaine had been anxious all day Sunday. It was already 6pm and Kurt had yet to return. He had tried to call a few times but Kurt never answered his calls. He tried not to worry but he had the feeling that something was wrong. He was walking back to his dorm from dinner with the intention of trying to get ahold of Kurt again when he got a text from Beatz informing him that Kurt had returned. Blaine quickly made his way to his dorm, excited to see Kurt again. He was shocked when he walked into the room. Kurt was lying in his bed in fetal position crying.

"Kurt?" Blaine said softly. When Kurt didn't respond, Blaine cautiously sat next to him. "Kurt, what's wrong?" he asked worriedly.

"I'm sorry." Kurt choked out.

"What could you possibly be sorry about?" Blaine asked in confusion.

Kurt sat up slowly, wiped the tears from his eyes, and handed Blaine his arm. Blaine looked at him cautiously before slowly rolling up Kurt's sleeve. "Oh, Kurt." Blaine said sorrowfully. "What happened?"

"Nightmare." Kurt told him. "I'm so sorry, Blaine. I wasn't strong enough. Please don't hate me." Kurt started crying harder and it broke Blaine's heart. He wrapped his arms around Kurt and shushed him comfortingly.

"I could never hate you, Kurt. There's nothing to be sorry for. I know things are hard but please know that I am and will always be here for you." Blaine said quietly, trying to hold his own set of tears. He softly caressed the new scars, hating that he wasn't there to help Kurt when he needed him. "Do you want to talk about it?"

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Kurt shook his head quickly. "No, please. No."

"It's ok. You don't have to tell me anything. You tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it." Blaine said softly.

"Will you...could you just...hold me. Please." Kurt choked out.

"Of course." Blaine replied sighing.

Blaine moved them on the bed so they were lying comfortably. He sent a quick text to the guys that Kurt wasn't feeling well so he would be staying in for the night with him. Kurt let Blaine hold him tightly as they rocked back and forth on the bed. Blaine hummed softly, letting Kurt clutch onto him as he continued to cry. I am so sorry Kurt. I promise I'll make things better for you. I promise.

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CHAPTER SEVEN

It'll Never Be

"Blaine, come on!" Kurt called out giddily.

"Kurt, where are you going?" Blaine asked laughing.

Kurt ran up the hill, giggling like a school girl while Blaine tried to catch up. He had somehow convinced Blaine to skip school for the day to drive three hours to the park his mother used to bring him to.

"Would you just come on?!" Kurt called back.

Blaine laughed as he quickened his pace, finally coming up on top of the hill. When he reached the top, his jaw dropped in awe. He was staring at a huge flower field, acres of beautiful wildflowers that went as far as he could see.

"Wow." Blaine said quietly.

Movement caught the corner of his vision so he turned to see that Kurt was no longer running, but walking a steady pace towards an oak tree. Blaine walked over to where Kurt was headed, smiling broadly at the beauty that surrounded him. When he reached the oak tree, Kurt was already sitting down comfortably with his eyes closed and his head leaning against the tree.

"My mom used to bring me here when I was little." Kurt told him.

Blaine took a seat next to Kurt and wrapped his arm around his waist. "It's beautiful, Kurt."

Kurt leaned his head on Blaine's shoulder, intertwined his fingers with Blaine's, and kissed him gently on the cheek.

"I haven't been up here since she died. Thank you for bringing me, Blaine. Thank you for always being here for me." Kurt said softly.

"I will always be here for you, Kurt, no matter what." Blaine whispered, leaving a small kiss on Kurt's forehead.

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Kurt opened his eyes slowly, his cheeks moist from crying. Blaine's arm was wrapped tightly around him and he could hear soft snores indicating that Blaine was sound asleep. He looked up at the clock to see that it was only 7am. He didn't need to be awake for another hour since classes started at 9. He shifted in his bed, turning his body so he was face to face with Blaine. Kurt paid extra attention to the way Blaine's eyelashes laid beautifully on his face, the way his lips were slightly parted and so inviting, the way his curls were loose and free on his forehead.

He is so gorgeous. Kurt thought back to the dream he just had, doing his best to hold back the tears. Someone as wonderful and amazing as Blaine would never want me. I'm too damaged. Too used. He cautiously raised his hand to Blaine's hair, if only to touch the softness of his curls one time. Blaine instinctively leaned into Kurt's touch, moaning softly in contentment. It was all too much. Kurt felt like he was going to start crying all over again. Not because he was ashamed of himself like the night before, but because it pained him to know that Blaine would never be his. He slowly unwrapped Blaine's arm from around his waist and got out of bed. Might as well get ready for school.

When Blaine woke up an hour later, he was confused by the emptiness next to him. Where did Kurt go? He sat up in the bed, stretched for a moment, and then ran his fingers through his hair. The action sent an odd sense of familiarity, though he wasn't sure where it came from. The knock on the door prevented him from thinking on it any longer.

"Blaine, are you up?" Beatz called from the other side of the door.

"Yeah." Blaine replied with a yawn. Beatz opened the door and looked at Blaine apprehensively. "What's going on?"

"You mean other than the fact that Kurt cooked breakfast for all the Warblers this morning?" Beatz said, concern evident in his voice.

"Really?" Blaine asked in surprise.

"Yeah. Is he ok? He's quiet today." Beatz commented.

"He is?" Blaine asked sadly.

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"Yeah, unusually so." Beatz said sighing.

"He had a rough weekend at home." Blaine told him. "I'm going to get ready and I'll meet you guys down there."

"Alright. Hurry up if you want some food. David, Thad, and Jeff were on their third helping already." Beatz said smirking.

"Yeah, alright. I'll be right there." Blaine said and walked into his bathroom to get ready.

Twenty minutes later, Blaine walked into the house kitchen to find most of the Warblers chatting idly while Kurt stood over the sink washing dishes. David, Nick, and Wes glanced up at Blaine with the same questioning look, what's wrong with Kurt? He shrugged at them with a small smile before walking over to the sink.

"Morning." Blaine said softly.

"Morning." Kurt replied quietly.

"Are you ok?" Blaine asked just loud enough for Kurt to hear.

"Fine." Kurt shrugged. "I saved you plate of food, it's in the microwave."

"Kurt, you didn't have to do that." Blaine assured him. "And you definitely didn't have to make breakfast for all the Warblers."

"I wanted to. It helps me clear my mind." Kurt told him with a sad smile. "Ok." Blaine said, nodding in understanding.

"I'm going to get dressed for class." Kurt said sighing, turning the sink water off. "I'll see you guys later." He said to the remaining Warblers and walked off towards his dorm.

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Kurt was quiet throughout all of his classes and lunch, only speaking when spoken to. Several Warblers had asked Blaine if there was something wrong with him and all he could say was that Kurt had a rough weekend at home. They took his answer as reason enough to leave Kurt alone but Beatz couldn't. He hadn't had a real chance to talk to Kurt since he got back but he knew that there was something wrong. Something was different. During their free period that afternoon, Beatz asked Kurt to study with him. He was hoping to get Kurt to open up to him since he hadn't with Blaine. Beatz knew that he hadn't because Blaine looked like a lost puppy all day. It seemed like every time that he tried to talk with Kurt, Kurt would make some excuse and leave. To say that Beatz was curious about what was going on was an understatement.

"Hey, are you alright." Beatz had asked him once they were safely away in Beatz' dorm.

"Yeah, I'm alright." Kurt replied dully.

"Why don't I believe you?" Beatz questioned him.

Kurt chuckled humorlessly, catching Beatz off guard, before slamming his book shut. "Because you're ridiculously perceptive."

Beatz looked at him curiously for a moment before shutting his book as well. "What's going on with you?"

"I guess I'll start from this weekend." Kurt shrugged. "I had a nightmare and I...wasn't strong enough." He said showing the new scars on his wrist.

"Kurt." Beatz scolded.

"I know, I know." Kurt said sadly. "That's not what's wrong though." "...Ok. What is it then?" Beatz asked confused.

"When I got back and told Blaine, he...he let me cry on him. He was incredibly sweet about the whole thing and just...held me. I must have cried for hours yet there he stayed, holding me and singing to me. He's too wonderful for his own good." Kurt said with a small smile.

"So this is about Blaine?" Beatz asked.

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"Yes, this is about Blaine." Kurt confirmed. "I dreamt about him last night, about us. We went to this park that mother used to take me to when I was little and we talked for a while and it was a beautiful dream." He said quietly while tears formed in his eyes.

"Ok, I'm still not seeing the problem here." Beatz pressed on.

"The problem is the fact that it will never be more than a dream." Kurt said sadly. "Blaine is kind and sweet and caring and so wonderful. He's funny and talented and smart and he always knows what to say. He's...gorgeous, breathtakingly so, and one day he's going to make a lucky man the happiest person in the world."

"And you want to be that man." Beatz said nodding. "Yes." Kurt sighed. "I do, but it will never happen." "Why not?"

"Because I'm broken. I'm used and disgusting and pathetic. Why would someone as amazing as Blaine want to be with me when he could easily find himself someone just as amazing as he is? I'll never be the guy that Blaine could be proud of. I'll never be the guy that he could show off. I'll always only be that pathetic guy who needs his friends to take care of him. Blaine deserves someone who's pure and beautiful, not someone who's been used like a cheap whore." Kurt said spitefully.

"That's it! Come on!" Beatz said irritably as he stood up from his desk. He grabbed Kurt's arm and dragged him into the bathroom. "Look in the mirror and tell me what you see."

"Seriously?" Kurt said in disbelief.

"You know what, no. Don't tell me what you see. Instead, I'll tell you what I see. I see a lost boy who's afraid. Afraid of the world, afraid of life, and afraid of love. I also see a boy with determination to boot and a good heart. Kurt, you are just as amazing and incredible as Blaine. What happened to you is not your fault. It does not make you disgusting and it does not make you used. It just means you have a shitty past. Everyone has their demons Kurt, no one is better than anyone else. Blaine would be more than lucky to have you. Don't you ever think that you don't deserve happiness and love Kurt because you do." Beatz said firmly.

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Kurt heard his words, but he didn't believe them. "Thanks, Beatz." He shrugged. "I know you don't believe me, but you will." Beatz assured him.

"Let's just get back to studying." Kurt sighed and walked out of the bathroom.

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Kurt had to admit that talking to Beatz made him feel better. Beatz had a way of making him talk without him realizing that he was spilling soul. That was why Beatz was the only one that knew about his feelings for Blaine and that was why Kurt loved hanging out with him. Beatz never pushed Kurt to talk but he never really had to. Kurt found himself willingly opening up to him and dare he say it, he actually even trusted him. He found a friend in Beatz so quickly and he was genuinely glad for it.

By the time Warbler rehearsal ended, Blaine was a ball of nerves. Kurt had barely spoken to him all day and he was beginning to think that he did something wrong. He noticed the change in Kurt's demeanor after his free period, which Blaine knew Kurt spent with Beatz, and he couldn't help but feel a little jealous. Kurt must have told Beatz whatever it was that was bothering him and Blaine was sad that Kurt hadn't come to him. He knew it was silly to be sad and jealous but he couldn't help it. He wanted to be the one Kurt spoke to. He wanted to be the one to comfort him. Now that rehearsal was over, there was nothing left to do but head back to the dorms for the night and he worried that Kurt would continue to shut him out. When he got back to the dorm, Kurt was already there reading a book on his bed.

"Hey." Blaine said when he walked in.

"Hey." Kurt replied, glancing up from his book for a second.

"Can we talk?" Blaine asked him.

"Sure. What's up?" Kurt asked, closing his book and putting it down.

"I don't know, you tell me." Blaine said softly as he sat on the edge of Kurt's bed. "What do you mean?" Kurt asked confused.

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"Kurt, you've barely talked to me all day. Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong?" Blaine asked sadly.

"No!" Kurt said quickly. "You didn't do anything wrong, I promise." "But you have been avoiding me?" Blaine asked cautiously.

"...yeah. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. I guess...I guess I was just embarrassed about last night." Kurt said quietly.

"Kurt." Blaine said softly, scooting closer. "There's nothing to be embarrassed about. You know I would I never judge you."

"I know. I'm sorry." Kurt said sighing.

"It's alright. Can we go back to talking again? I missed you today." Blaine admitted shyly. "Yeah, we can go back to talking." Kurt said smiling. "I...I missed you too."

Blaine's face lit up with a smile that made Kurt weak. There was no point in him denying his feelings for Blaine anymore. The way Blaine made him feel was something out of a romance novel and all he had to do was smile. Kurt knew that he would never be able to be with Blaine because Blaine deserved so much more than him. He would never trade their friendship though. Blaine's friendship meant everything to him and he would take it over nothing any day.

They slept together in Kurt's bed again that night. Kurt knew that having Blaine there would help prevent his nightmares and Blaine knew that Kurt appreciated the comfort. They both secretly loved the cuddles and for the first time since they'd started sleeping together, their hands intertwined underneath the blankets. Neither one said anything when their hands met, but they didn't pull away either. They simply enjoyed the comfort and the possible promise of tomorrow.

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CHAPTER EIGHT

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

The rest of the week was an odd one for Kurt. After talking with Blaine Monday night, things changed between them. They didn't talk as much but were almost always around one another. They would share shy soft smiles throughout the day and cuddle to sleep at night. On more than one occasion, Blaine would look at Kurt intently, almost as if he was contemplating on whether or not to tell him something. Kurt wasn't doing much better either. He spent the week trying to convince himself out of liking Blaine but couldn't help but melt whenever Blaine smiled at him.

None of the Warblers questioned the odd behavior between the two boys because they already knew. They knew that Kurt had feelings for Blaine but was too afraid to say anything and they knew that Blaine had feelings for Kurt but his shyness prevented him from admitting it. It wasn't just Kurt and Blaine that were acting slightly off during the week, it was Beatz as well. Beatz refused to let Kurt believe that he wasn't worth being loved so he took every opportunity he had to tell Kurt that he was awesome or amazing or something to that equivalent. He didn't care who was around at the time. He continuously complimented Kurt and it was starting to get on his nerves.

"You really need to stop telling me that I'm amazing, Beatz." Kurt complained to him Friday evening after Warbler rehearsal.

"Why? It's not like I'm not telling the truth." Beatz replied smiling.

"Because it's annoying! The guys are going to start thinking that we're dating or something." Kurt said irritably.

"No they won't." Beatz assured him. "They know I'm straight."

"Are you sure you're straight? You've been complimenting me all week. That's not exactly straight behavior." Kurt quipped just as he sat down on one of the couches in the common room.

"I'm just stating facts, Kurt." Beatz shrugged as he sat down in a chair. "They aren't facts, they're opinions." Kurt said firmly.

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"We are not having this argument again. Don't make me tell the guys." Beatz warned him.

"You wouldn't dare." Kurt said quickly.

"No?" Beatz questioned him.

"No. You wouldn't tell them anything because you don't want to break my trust." Kurt said confidently.

"Is that so?" Beatz asked with a raised eyebrow. "Because I'm pretty sure I would tell. It's called tough love."

"You better not." Kurt warned him just as Nick, David, and Blaine entered the common room. "And if I do?" Beatz asked curiously.

"Then...then I won't talk to you anymore." Kurt said crossing his arms.

"I think I can live with that." Beatz shrugged.

"Live with what?" Blaine asked as he sat down next to Kurt. David and Nick sat in the other two chairs looking at Beatz curiously.

"I could live with Kurt not talking to me." Beatz said with a mischievous smile.

"And why would Kurt not talk to you?" Nick asked confused.

Kurt shot Beatz a look that would prevent anyone else from saying something. Since it was Beatz however, it didn't work. "He won't talk to me if I tell you guys that I think he's crazy for thinking that he's incapable of being loved by someone because of his past." Beatz said glancing back and forth between Kurt and Blaine.

"Beatz." Kurt hissed, looking down at his lap in embarrassment.

"Kurt, is that true?" David asked. "Do you really think that no one would love you because of something

that wasn't your fault?"

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"Oh yeah, that's the other thing. He seems to think that he's at fault for what that asshole did to him." Beatz said pointedly.

"I'm never telling you anything." Kurt grumbled.

Beatz simply shrugged and smiled at him. He knew that Kurt was upset with him but he knew that it was necessary. Kurt refused to believe him when he told him how great he really was so he figured he'd believe it if Blaine said it.

"Kurt." Blaine said softly, lifting Kurt's face so he would look at him. "You can't really believe that." When Kurt didn't answer and tears welled up in his eyes, Blaine knew that he did indeed believe it. "Kurt, listen to me. You did nothing wrong. It is not your fault that stupid jackass did what he did. More importantly, you are more than capable of being loved. Don't you ever think that you aren't good enough. You are amazing, truly amazing."

Blaine seemed to forget that Beatz, David, and Nick were there. As soon as he started telling Kurt how amazing he was, his feelings for younger boy seemed to spill over, making him rant about all the things he loved about him. "You're witty, smart, caring, and funny. You're so much stronger than you think you are and you are beautiful. You're the most beautiful boy I've ever met. Any guy would be lucky to be with you. Don't you dare think that you aren't good enough, Kurt. Trust me, you are."

There was a part of Kurt that truly felt like Blaine was lying to him. The sincerity and honesty in Blaine's eyes, however, pushed the negativity aside. Kurt was too lost in his emotions for Blaine to think straight. Before he knew what he was doing, he leaned over to Blaine and kissed him. Blaine hesitated for only a second before cupping Kurt's face to return the kiss. There were so many questions in the kiss but there was also an undeniable tenderness that made both boys dizzy. Beatz, Nick, and David sat there gaping at the two boys. They felt like they were intruding on something private but they were in too much shock to look away. Suddenly realizing what he had done, Kurt quickly pulled back, his eyes locked with Blaine's.

"Hey, Kurt." Thad called out from the hallway. "There's someone here to see you."

"Thanks, Thad." Kurt said, finally breaking eye contact with Blaine. Without another word, he stood up from the couch and left.

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Blaine watched Kurt walk away in a daze, touching his lips with his fingertips, and blushing at the memory. "Hello! Earth to Blaine." Nick said, snapping him out his daze.

"Did he just..."

"Kiss you? Um, yeah." Beatz said smirking. "But...he...I...what?"

"Very eloquent Blaine." David teased.

Blaine couldn't believe it. Kurt had kissed him he was sure that it must have been a dream. What did it mean though? Does he like me? He did kiss me but what if he regrets it? What if he was just caught up in the moment? God, that kiss was...wow. Blaine suddenly got an unusual chill, making him feel like there was something wrong.

"Hey, Thad. Who's here to see Kurt?" Blaine asked him suddenly.

"Some football player from his old school. He said he was a friend of his." Thad said shrugging.

Blaine glanced at Beatz, David, and Nick, all of whom were wearing the same worried expression. "It couldn't be him...right? I mean, his step-brother and that Mohawk guy are on the football team. It could be one of them." David said unsurely.

"Maybe we should check, just in case." Beatz said firmly.

"Yeah, I think that's a good idea." Blaine replied nervously as they all got up from where they were sitting to walk to the front.

Kurt walked to the front of the school still in a daze over what happened. I kissed Blaine. Holy crap! I kissed Blaine...and he kissed me back. Oh my God! What am I going to do? Oh my GOD! I can't believe I did that! Kurt was too wrapped up in his thoughts to notice the burly football player standing at the front watching him intently. He continued to walk, unaware of his surroundings, and walked straight into the boy.

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"Sor-Karofsky!" Kurt's jaw dropped when he looked up to see Karofsky staring at him. "Wha-what are you doing here?!"

Karofsky smiled dangerously, taking a step forward and making Kurt take a step back. Karofsky kept stepping towards Kurt while Kurt kept walking back, stopping when his back hit the wall. "You should tell Puckerman to be careful about what he says in the locker room. Once I heard him say you went to an all boy prep-school it wasn't hard to find you. I bet you love it here. This school is probably full of little queers like you." Karofsky said in a low edgy voice.

"And you." Kurt spat back before he could stop himself. "What did you just say?!" Karofsky snarled.

"Hey! Get away from him!"

Karofsky turned around to see Blaine, Beatz, David, and Nick angrily walking towards him. He quickly turned back to Kurt who had subconsciously started shaking. "Got your own body guards now? How pathetic."

"I said get away from him!" Blaine stepped in between Karofsky and Kurt, pushing the overgrown football player away.

"Awe, the little fairy princess has a boyfriend. I bet you two vomit rainbows and unicorns all over this gay ass school!" Karofsky said angrily. Beatz grabbed Karofsky by the back of the shirt and slammed him into the wall.

"Andrew, don't!" David said quickly.

"Yeah, Andrew, don't." Karofsky mocked.

"You must have a fucking death wish coming here!" Beatz snarled at Karofsky.

"Andrew." Nick said firmly.

"If you ever come near him again, I will make your life a living fucking hell!" Beatz all but growled.

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"Is that a threat preppy?" Karofsky said egging him on. "No, it's a fucking promise!" Beatz replied.

"Andrew, let him go." David said from a few feet away.

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Beatz kept his eyes narrowed on Karofsky but let him go. Karofsky returned Beatz' glare before turning his head to sneer at Kurt and quickly exited the school. A few seconds after Karofsky was gone, Kurt's knees gave out from under him. Blaine instantly bent down next to him, wrapped his arms around Kurt to hold him, and shushed him comfortingly as Kurt sobbed into his chest. Nick and David sat down on either side of Kurt while Beatz paced back and forth in the corridor. They didn't know what was going through Kurt's mind but they didn't need to. All they needed to know was that their friend was going through something traumatic and they would do whatever they could to help Kurt find his way.

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CHAPTER NINE

Sectionals

Shortly after Kurt broke down in the corridor, exhaustion took over and he fell asleep in Blaine's arms. Beatz helped Blaine pick Kurt off the floor and Blaine carried him back to their room for the night. Despite Kurt being sound asleep, he clutched onto Blaine as if his life depended on it. After a short struggle, Blaine got Kurt to let go of him and clutch onto the blanket instead. How did everything go from amazing to disastrous in a matter of minutes? Blaine settled himself next to Kurt, wrapped his arm around Kurt's waist, and snuggled closely.

He couldn't help but cry quietly behind the sleeping boy. Seeing Kurt in a state of absolute fear broke his heart. He couldn't understand how someone could find enjoyment in another person's pain. He gripped Kurt a little tighter, wanting nothing more than to protect and love the boy. Kurt's body subconsciously responded by finding Blaine's hand and intertwining their fingers. Despite the anger and sadness he felt for Kurt and his situation, Blaine couldn't stop the smile that tugged at his lips. Kurt had kissed him and even though he had no idea what it meant, it gave him hope that together they'd be ok.

Kurt woke up around midnight with an odd mixture of feelings. He was terrified after what had happened that evening. Karofsky had found him, he always did, and he felt like his safe bubble had been ruptured. He felt like an idiot for thinking that the walls of Dalton would protect him from Karofsky or anybody else for that matter. He was embarrassed that he couldn't control himself from having a break down in front of his friends, which he knew resulted in him being carried back to his room. He was also undeniably nervous because he had kissed Blaine; the same boy who knew about his issues, the same boy who was always there to help him, and the same boy who was currently holding him tightly in bed. In a matter of two weeks, Blaine somehow broke through his walls and became someone he deeply cared for.

How he had gotten lucky enough to find a friend like Blaine he'll never know. I don't deserve someone like him. He's too good for me. Kurt held back the tears that threatened to spill over. He wanted to be Blaine's and for Blaine to be his desperately, but he felt so damaged and he knew that no one, not even the unbelievably caring Blaine, could possibly want him. His stomach growled loudly, making him remember that he hadn't eaten dinner earlier due to the intense Warbler rehearsal for Sectionals. He had planned on cooking himself something once rehearsal was over but of course, things never went as planned. He tried

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his best to silently slither away from the comforting grasp Blaine had on him without waking him up but as soon as he tried to move, Blaine's eyes shot open in alertness.

"Are you ok? What happened?" Blaine asked frantically.

"I'm fine. I was just hungry. I was going to sneak down to the kitchen to get something to eat. I didn't mean to wake you up, I'm sorry." Kurt said quietly.

"No, it's fine." Blaine assured him. "I'll go down with you."

"You really don't have to. I don't want to bother you." Kurt replied as he got out of the bed.

"You aren't bothering me, Kurt." Blaine said softly as he too got out of the bed. "Really. Besides, I'm a little hungry myself."

Kurt nodded but said nothing as he stepped into his slippers and quietly opened the door. Blaine followed suit, stopping himself from reaching over to hold Kurt's hand. They walked down to the kitchen quietly, both feeling nervous and a little awkward. They stayed quiet while they searched the kitchen for food. Kurt didn't particularly feel like cooking anything so he went to grab some cereal. Blaine decided to make himself a sandwich and together they ate silently. There were so many questions between them but neither one dared to say anything. Blaine was just about done with his sandwich when he could no longer take the silence. He placed his hand on top of Kurt's in order to get his attention since Kurt hadn't looked up from his bowl of cereal since they had sat down.

"Hey. Are you ok?"

Kurt looked up at Blaine, melting at the sincerity and kindness in his eyes. He quickly looked away as the tears welled up in his eyes. It was all too much for him to handle. Instead of answering Blaine's question, he pulled his hand away, grabbed his almost empty bowl, and walked over to the sink.

"Kurt?" Blaine said softly.

Kurt couldn't control the tears that fell from his eyes. Despite having his back turned to Blaine, Blaine could tell from the movement of his shoulders that he was crying. Blaine left his unfinished sandwich on the table, walked over to Kurt, placed a hand on his shoulder, and turned him around.

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"Kurt?"

"I'm sorry." Kurt choked out before Blaine pulled him in for a hug.

"There's nothing to be sorry for, Kurt." Blaine said quietly.

"Yes there is!" Kurt argued. "I'm sorry for always being such a mess. I'm sorry for depending on you so much."

"Kurt."

"It isn't fair!" Kurt cried into Blaine's shoulder. "This was supposed to be my safe place. He wasn't supposed to find me! It's not fair! It's not fair that he ruined my life! It's not fair that he raped me!" Blaine's heart sank at Kurt's admittance of being raped. He knew that Kurt was abused by Karofsky but he didn't know the extent of it until that moment. "It's not fair that he took everything from me! It's not fair that he ruined our kiss! It's not fair that you're so wonderful when I'm so weak and pathetic! It's just not fair!"

"Kurt, you are not weak or pathetic." Blaine told him.

"Yes, I am! Look at me? I'm disgusting and worthless and no one's ever going to love me! He took that away from me and-"

"Kurt, stop." Blaine said firmly as he backed away from the hug. He cupped Kurt's face with his hands, looking at him intently as he wiped Kurt's tears with his thumb. "Kurt Hummel, you listen to me right now. You're right, it isn't fair that you've had to go through all this but you are crazy if you think that no one will love you."

"Blaine, I-"

"No, I'm not done." Blaine interrupted. "I meant what I said earlier. You are amazing! God, I can't even begin to describe just how amazing you are. You aren't pathetic or weak. You're strong and determined. I know you feel used and I know you think that you're worthless but you are so wrong. Please, please believe me when I tell you that nothing he did to you makes you any of those things. It doesn't make you disgusting and it doesn't make you unlovable. It makes him a disgusting monster."

"Who could possibly love me?" Kurt muttered.

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"I could." Blaine said softly. "Kurt, when you kissed me today, I felt like my entire universe exploded. Do you have any idea how much I care about you? Do you have any idea how much I want to be that guy who walks down the hall hand in hand with you?"

"How? How could you see me more than some pitiful-"

"You are not pitiful, Kurt. You are wonderful!" Blaine said with a hint of desperation. "You're beautiful and enchanting and kind-hearted and passionate and talented and funny and intelligent and just..."

Blaine ran out ways to describe how amazing Kurt was so instead he showed him. He closed the gap between them and pressed his lips onto Kurt's. Kurt froze for a moment, letting his mind wrap around the fact that Blaine was kissing him. Blaine was about to back away when Kurt didn't reciprocate the kiss but stopped as Kurt wrapped his arms around his neck. Their lips moved in perfect synchronization. All thoughts of Karofsky were gone as they melted into each other's embrace. There were so many emotions, so much hope in that simple kiss, that when they finally broke apart, neither boy could stop the smile on their face.

"Now do you believe me?" Blaine asked just above a whisper. "I guess I have to now." Kurt replied, his head reeling.

"You should. I would never lie to you." Kurt blushed and looked away, unable to hold Blaine's gaze. "We should get to bed, Sectionals tomorrow and all." Blaine said.

Kurt looked back up at Blaine, a shy smile playing at his lips. "Right. Sectionals." Neither boy said anything after that. They simply cleaned the dishes they used and walked back to their room hand in hand.

When Blaine woke up that next morning, he felt like he was on cloud 9. He wasn't sure what was going to happen with him and Kurt but he was certain that it would all be ok. He couldn't help but smile at the beautiful sleeping boy next to him. Without any hesitation, he leaned over to Kurt and kissed him lightly on the cheek. Kurt, who had been awake for a little while already but didn't move because being in Blaine's arms felt too incredible, blushed at the action and turned his head slightly to look at Blaine.

"Morning." Kurt said quietly.

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"Morning." Blaine replied softly. "How'd you sleep?"

"Great. I always do when I sleep with you." the words escaped Kurt's lips before he could even realize what he was saying.

"Me too." was all Blaine could reply as he continued to look at Kurt with adoration.

Kurt blushed again and maneuvered himself to sit up just as someone knocked on their door. Kurt went to open it, his face falling when he saw that it was Thad. Seeing Thad reminded him of what happened the evening before, popping the happy bubble he had currently been in.

"Hey, Kurt. Can I talk to you for a moment?" Thad asked cautiously.

"Sure." Kurt shrugged and let him in.

"I just wanted to say that I'm sorry." Thad said quietly, his eyes downcast. "I didn't know who that guy was, I still don't know, but the guys told me what happened last night and it's my fault for letting him in and I am just really, really sorry."

"It's ok, Thad. How could you know that he's the reason I'm here." Kurt said sullenly.

"Really? Oh God, Kurt! I'm so, so sorry!" Thad said quickly, his guilt intensifying.

"Thad, it's fine. Please don't beat yourself over something that you didn't know. I promise I'm not mad at you or anything. I'm not even mad at Puck for not keeping his mouth shut about where I was. Karofsky would've found me anyway, he always does." Kurt said with an edgy tone that didn't go unnoticed by either Thad or Blaine.

"Are you sure you aren't mad at me? I mean, I know we don't talk much but it would suck if you hated me." Thad admitted quietly.

"I'm sure." Kurt assured him.

"Alright." Thad said with a small smile. "Listen, if you don't think you can handle performing today just let me know. Not that we don't want you to sing with us, but Wes, David, and I agreed that it might be too much for you after last night and we don't want you to feel uncomfortable or anything."

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"No, no!" Kurt replied quickly. "I'll perform. I don't want to let this control me. I'm not saying that I won't be anxious but I definitely don't want to sit out."

"Only if you're really sure, Kurt." Thad told him. "I am." Kurt nodded.

"Alright, I'll let them know. We're leaving in two hours so we'll see you both down there." Thad told them and walked out of the room.

"Kurt, what did you mean when you told Thad that Karofsky always finds you?" Blaine asked curiously.

Kurt turned around to look at Blaine and sighed heavily before taking Blaine's hand. He led them over to the bed and sat down. "I mean just that, Blaine. I spent all of last year and part of this year literally hiding from him. Whether it was at school or I was out with my friends, he'd always show up to ruin everything. That's what he does, he finds me and ruins me." Kurt said as a few tears streamed down his face. "I'm scared, Blaine. I can't get away from him, not even here and I'm just so scared."

"Oh, Kurt." Blaine said softly. "I know you're scared but I promise you that I won't let him do anything to you again."

"You can't promise that, Blaine." Kurt snapped.

"Too late, I already did." Blaine replied smirking. "But I'm serious, Kurt. I won't let him anywhere near you

again, ever, and I promise you that I won't let him ruin this either." He said gesturing to the two of them. "And what is this?" Kurt asked him.

"I don't know, but I like it. I like you and this makes me happy." Blaine said smiling shyly.

"Me too." Kurt replied blushing.

Blaine couldn't help but lean forward and kiss Kurt lightly. When he backed away, he kept his eyes locked with Kurt's, conveying nothing but adoration and happiness while Kurt's conveyed appreciation and hope. "We should get ready." Blaine said, sighing contently.

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"Yeah." Kurt agreed. "I'm going go talk to Beatz first though, I'll be back."

Kurt left the room a little lighter than when Thad came to see him. He was still trying to process everything but he knew that as long as he had Blaine, he would be ok. He knocked on Beatz' door and waited patiently for him to open it.

"Hey." Beatz said when he opened his door to see Kurt. "Everything alright?"

"Yeah, I just wanted to talk to you." Kurt told him.

"I thought you weren't going to talk to me anymore?" Beatz teased as he let Kurt in the room. As soon as the door was closed, Kurt punched Beatz on the arm as hard as he could muster. "Hey! What was that for?"

"That was for being stupid." Kurt quipped. "I resent that." Beatz said crossing his arms.

"I'm sure you do." Kurt replied before stepping forward and giving Beatz a tight hug. "And that was for being such a great friend. I know I was mad at you for telling the guys but I'm honestly glad you did."

"Why? Because you kissed Blaine?" Beatz asked smirking.

"Yes, because I kissed Blaine and kissing Blaine led to him telling me that he liked me." Kurt said blushing. "I also wanted to thank you for what you did with Karofsky. I've never had anyone stand up for me the way you and the guys have and I'm so lucky to have you in my life."

"I already told you, I'm not going to let that asshole touch you again. He's lucky the guys were there or I would've beaten the living hell out of him." Beatz said angrily.

"I'm glad you didn't. I don't think it would've made a difference and you would've gotten in trouble." Kurt pointed out.

"Yeah, I guess that's true." Beatz shrugged. "But anyway, how are you and Blaine?" - 86 -

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"Blaine and I are good, really good." Kurt said smiling.

"Good. You deserve happiness in your life, Kurt. I'm glad Blaine can provide that for you." Beatz said sincerely.

"Me too, Beatz. Me too."

For once, Kurt didn't argue with him about whether or not he deserved happiness because he actually believed him. If there was one thing that Kurt learned from Karofsky's visit was that the Warblers would always be there for him. He was by no means ok yet, healing took time and support. He was on his way however and he knew that unless he trusted and believed in his fellow Warblers, he would never heal.

When the Warblers arrived at the school that was hosting Sectionals, Kurt began to silently panic. He was worried that Karofsky would show up to the competition just to scare him and he was sure that if Beatz saw him again, he'd lose it. Blaine could sense the sudden anxiety in Kurt so he rubbed small comforting circles with his thumb on Kurt's hand. Despite the fact that they had held hands the entire bus drive, Kurt couldn't help but blush at the sweet gesture. Once they were signed in, they went to the dressing room that was designated for the Warblers to do vocal warm-ups.

"Hey Wes, could I go tell my friends good luck?" Kurt had asked before they started.

"Kurt, I understand you wanting to see them but you are a Warbler now and that means that you have a responsibility to us. You can't just-"

"Wes, give him a break." David cut in. "Go ahead, Kurt. You got 10 minutes" "Thanks David." Kurt said smiling.

"You want me to come with?" Blaine asked him.

"Sure, if you want." Kurt shrugged.

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"I do." Blaine replied holding his hand out to Kurt. Kurt smiled appreciatively at him, grabbed his hand,

and walked out of the room.

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Kurt could hear several members of the New Directions arguing inside their dressing room and shook his head. "So, do you remember how you warned me about the Warblers before I met them?" He whispered to Blaine.

"Yeah." Blaine said curiously.

"Well, here's my warning for you: they're a little crazy, kind of scary, and definitely a unique bunch." Kurt said smirking.

Blaine raised an eyebrow, smirked, and nodded. "Ok." he said. Kurt knocked on the dressing room door, nearly jumping into Blaine's arms when it opened abruptly.

"WHAT?! Kurt!" Mercedes said excitedly. She threw her arms around him, making him drop Blaine's hand and hugged her tightly.

"Hey 'Cedes." Kurt said smiling.

"Is that my dolphin?" Brittany called from inside the room.

"Yes, Britt it's me." Kurt said, following Mercedes into the room.

"Dolphin?" Blaine whispered in Kurt's ear.

"I'll tell you later." Kurt whispered back.

"They can't be here!" Rachel said quickly. "We all love you, Kurt but you're the competition now and you can't-"

"Shut up, dwarf." Santana cut in. "It's good to see, Kurt. You look good." She said sincerely. "Thanks, Santana." Kurt said smiling. "I just wanted to come and wish you all good luck." "We're going to need it." Rachel mumbled to herself.

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"Didn't I say to shut up?" Santana snapped at her. Rachel glared at her and crossed her arms in aggravation but didn't say anything else. "So who's the hottie?" she asked, nodding towards Blaine.

"This is Blaine, Blaine meet the New Directions." Kurt introduced.

"Hello." Blaine said with a charming smile.

"You know, I don't usually go for prep school boys, but I'd make an exception for you." Santana flirted.

"Um, thanks." Blaine said nervously. "I appreciate the offer but I'm gay."

"That's too bad." Santana shrugged. "You best be tappin that Hummel."

"Gross, Santana! That's my brother!" Finn cut in.

"Don't be such a prude, Frankenteen." Santana said rolling her eyes.

"Hey, Puck. Could I talk to you for a moment?" Blaine said.

"Uh...sure." Puck said slowly and followed Blaine out.

"What's that about?" Mercedes asked curiously.

"He probably wants to talk to him about what happened last night." Kurt said quietly.

"What happened?" Finn asked.

"He uh...well...Karofsky overheard Puck say that I was at an all-boy prep school and he showed up at Dalton." Kurt told them.

"What?!" Finn gasped.

"Oh my God, boo are you ok?" Mercedes asked.

"Did Karofsky try anything?" Santana asked angrily. "I'm still pissed at him for making you leave and I am itching for a reason to pull my razors out on him!" - 89 -

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"It's fine, I'm ok." Kurt assured them. "I was a little shaken up yesterday but I'm ok. He didn't do anything other than scare the crap out of me."

"Are you sure you're ok?" Santana asked.

"Yeah, dude, are you sure?" Finn asked.

"Yes, I'm sure. The guys got rid of him and calmed me down, so I'm good." Kurt told them.

Puck suddenly came back in the room, walked straight over to Kurt, and hugged him. "I'm so sorry, Kurt! I'm such an idiot. I should've known that he would try and find you. I wasn't thinking."

"There's a shock." Mercedes said rolling her eyes.

"It's fine, Puck. I know you didn't mean to. He would've found me eventually." Kurt said, laughing bitterly.

"Kurt, we better go before Wes blows a blood vessel." Blaine said from the doorway.

"Yeah, ok." Kurt nodded at him. "Good luck out there guys. I know things were rough towards the end there but I miss you guys."

"We miss you too, boo." Mercedes said giving him another tight hug.

"Next time I come home for the weekend we'll do a New Directions sleep over, I promise." Kurt told them. He gave his old friends a final smile and walked out.

"They're interesting." Blaine commented.

"Yes, yes they are." Kurt agreed.

"Dolphin?" Blaine asked.

"Brittany, as sweet as she is, is not the brightest crayon in the box. She thinks that dolphins are just gay sharks and since I'm gay, I became her dolphin." Kurt said smirking.

"Wow, no kidding." Blaine laughed.

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"Yeah. What did you say to Puck?"

"Just that he should be more careful about when he talks about you in public. I hope you don't mind." Blaine said sheepishly.

"Not at all." Kurt said smiling shyly. Blaine smiled back at him, slipped his hand into Kurt's, and walked back to the Warbler's dressing room.

Sectionals had been quite the success. The Warblers tied with the New Directions for first place sending both groups to Regionals, Kurt didn't throw up on stage like he thought he would, and Karofsky was nowhere in sight. Burt and Carole finally met the Warblers, all of whom immediately won Carole's heart with their undeniable charm. Burt was taken aback by camaraderie between the boys and was glad to see that not only was Kurt getting along well with them, but that Kurt was actually happy. The boys spent they're afternoon celebrating their win by pigging out on junk food and playing video games while Wes frantically looked through song choices for Regionals.

"Wes, we just had Sectionals. Can't you relax for like, 10 minutes?" Trent asked him.

"Did you see the New Directions? They're amazing! We have to step our game up if we want to beat them

at Regionals." Wes told him.

"Yeah, I'm not going to lie, if Rachel had sung the solo, and then the duet with Finn, they probably would've won. Don't for a second think that she isn't pointing that out to them." Kurt chimed in.

"What's with Rachel anyway? She seems very...intense." Blaine said. "Oh, she is." Kurt said laughing.

By the time the evening came around, Wes had recruited Thad, Sebastian, David, Nick, and Jeff in search for song options while the rest of the Warblers went off to do their own thing. Kurt was sitting on one of the couches, listening to Wes argue with others when Blaine tapped his shoulder. Blaine nodded at Kurt to

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follow him so Kurt stood up, grabbed Blaine's outstretched hand, and let him lead the way. They ended up walking to the flower garden and sat down on one of the benches.

"It's so nice out here." Kurt commented as he laid his head on Blaine's shoulder. "Yeah, it really is." Blaine said, resting his head on Kurt's. "Hey, Kurt?"

"Hmm?"

"Would you like to go out on a date with me tomorrow?"

Kurt quickly sat upright and looked at Blaine in shock. "What?"

"Would you like to go out on a date with me tomorrow?" Blaine repeated nervously. "Y-yeah. I-I'd love to." Kurt said breathily.

"Great." Blaine replied smiling broadly.

"Great." Kurt said, matching Blaine's smile.

They sat on that bench for a while after that in silence, Kurt's head on Blaine's shoulder, Blaine's head on Kurt's, and their fingers intertwined. They enjoyed the simplicity they shared with one another, both thrilled that the evening was going so well. Despite the fact that Karofsky had sent Kurt back into a shell of fear, he couldn't help but feel safe and comfortable with Blaine. The way Blaine made him feel was something that he truly did not fathom, but he knew that he would do everything he could to not let his insecurities and fears ruin the possibility of being with him. Even if he did feel like damaged goods, he knew that Blaine cared for him and he was going to hold on to that for as long as he could.

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CHAPTER TEN

What Are The Chances

When Kurt woke up that next morning, Blaine was nowhere in sight. He looked around the room, finding a note from Blaine telling him to dress warmly and to be ready by 12pm. It was 11:45 and he was absolutely frantic. He was more than frantic, he was freaking out big time. He'd never been on a date before and the fact that he was going on one with Blaine of all people was making him act like an insane person. I can't do this! I can't do this! Oh my God, I cannot do this! Kurt paced back in forth in their room, rubbing his hands nervously as the clock ticked closer to 12. There was a quick knock on his door, making him jump nervously, and nearly knocking Pavarotti's cage down. He's early! Ok, you can do this. You. Can. Do. This. He walked over to the door, took a deep breath, and opened it to see that it was Beatz and Nick, not Blaine.

"Someone looks nervous." Beatz said in a singsong voice.

"What? Me, nervous? No." Kurt replied shakily as he let the boys enter the room.

"Oh yes, I can tell." Beatz said raising his eyebrow.

"Ok, so maybe I'm a little nervous." Kurt said quietly.

"Just a little?" Nick asked smirking.

"Ok, ok!" Kurt said exasperatedly. "I'm a lot nervous! Happy now?"

"Kurt, you're going to be fine. You know that, right?" Nick asked with a hint of amusement.

"Yes, I know I'm going to be fine." Kurt snapped. "It's just...this is my first date and it's with Blaine and I can't help but freak out because it's Blaine! He's sweet and funny and charming and caring and wonderful and gorgeous! What if he decides that he really doesn't like me? What if he decides that I'm boring and not worth the effort? What if-"

"Kurt, stop." Beatz said firmly. "You are freaking out over nothing."

"But what if-"

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"No buts, Kurt. Breathe, relax. Everything's going to be fine." Nick assured him.

Kurt took a few deep breaths, trying to calm himself down. "You're right. It's going to be fine. I'm going to be fine. No reason to panic."

"Good." Beatz said smiling broadly. He glanced at Nick quickly and nodded prompting Nick to pull out black blindfold.

"What are you doing?!" Kurt asked in a panic when Nick reached over to tie the blindfold over his eyes. "Sorry, Blaine's orders." Nick said smiling, attempting to tie the blindfold again.

"What do mean Blaine's order?" Kurt asked quickly, dodging Nick.

"We are to blindfold you and drive you to the date." Beatz told him.

"The fuck you are." Kurt scoffed.

"You just said fuck." Nick said in shock. "Will you say it again and let me record it?"

"Haha, very funny." Kurt replied crossing his arms.

"No, I'm totally serious! I've never heard you cuss before. Please?" Nick pleaded, quickly pulling out his phone.

Kurt glared at him for a moment before snatching the phone out of his hand and pressing the record button. "Fuck. Shit. Damn. Hell. Whore. Bitch. Asshole. Bastard. Douche. Jackass. Dumbass. Oh and just for good measure, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck."

"Oh my God!" Beatz said laughing. "That has to be the funniest shit I've ever heard come out of your mouth."

"I'm so glad that I amuse you." Kurt snapped as he handed Nick his phone back. "I am so sending that to all the Warblers." Nick said laughing.

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"You better not!" Kurt said quickly.

"Too late." Nick said beaming. "Now come on, blindfold on." Kurt huffed in annoyance but let Nick put the blindfold on nonetheless. Nick and Beatz then led him to the car and drove off to the date's destination.

Kurt hated the blindfold, loathed it. He hated not knowing where they were going and he hated not being able to see. It made him extremely anxious and he had to constantly remind himself that everything would be fine. The drive itself was a couple of hours long and Kurt was glad that they had the radio on. Humming along with the songs kept him as calm as he could be considering the blindfold. He kept asking them where they were going but neither one would answer his question. In fact, they completely ignored the question and changed the topic instantly to something completely unrelated. For most of the ride, Kurt sat in the back seat pouting and sighing loudly, indicating just how annoyed he really was. When Kurt heard the car turn off, he sighed in relief and went to take his blindfold off.

"Nope, not yet." Beatz said stopping him.

"Oh come on!" Kurt aid exasperatedly.

Kurt heard the car door open and then felt Nick's hand on his shoulder. He let Nick help him out of the car guide him a few feet before coming to an abrupt halt. "Stay here." Nick said and walked away. This is ridiculous! What kind of date is this? "Here, take this." Nick said and handed him a rope.

"Um...ok..."

"Now, follow this rope. When you feel the tug, stop and take off the blindfold." Nick told him.

"Nick, I don't know about this." Kurt said nervously.

"Quit being a baby!" Kurt heard Beatz call out.

"Just trust me, Kurt. Trust Blaine." Nick said comfortingly.

Kurt let out a frustrated sigh and nodded. He followed the rope slowly, alternating it between his hands, growing more anxious and more impatient the further he got. He couldn't be completely sure but he

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thought the ground beneath him began to uphill. What is this? Some weird Jack and Jill date? He continued to walk, quickening his pace slightly, and then finally stopping when he felt the tug of the rope. He took a few deep breaths to calm his nerves, slowly took the blindfold off, and gasped at the sight in front of him.

He was standing in front of the wildflower meadow that his mother used to take him to. No. Way. He glanced around for only a moment and spotted Blaine standing by the same Oak tree he knew, his Oak tree. Blaine was smiling broadly at him and Kurt could see that he set up a picnic for them. He eyes welled up in tears as all the fond memories he had of the meadow came rushing back to him. How did he know? How could he know? Kurt slowly made his way across the meadow towards Blaine, taking in the smells of the flowers, and not even attempting to stop the tears that streamed down his face.

"Blaine." Kurt whispered brokenly when he reached him.

"Hey. Sorry for all the mystery but I wanted this to be special." Blaine said shyly. Kurt began to cry harder because really, how much more special could it get? "Kurt, what's wrong?"

"It's just...you're perfect." Kurt said softly.

"I am far from it, believe me." Blaine said with a small smile. "I brought you here because it's beautiful and peaceful. I had a nanny who used to bring me here when I was a little. It's always had a special place in my heart and I wanted to share that with you." Blaine then took Kurt's hand, pulled him over to the Oak tree, and bent down to show him the initials he had carved so many years before. "This was the last time I was here. My dad ended up firing her for this reason or that and the other nanny's refused to bring me."

Kurt traced the letters BA and thought back to the day that he and his mom had found them. "Mommy, look! Someone named the tree!" Kurt said excitedly. "BA? I wonder what it stands for." "Maybe it stands for beautiful area or bubbly anecdotes." His mom said smiling.

"Or bathing ants!" Kurt suggested.

"Bathing ants?" his mom questioned.

"Well, yeah. Ants have to take a bath too, Mommy." Kurt told her seriously.

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"You are absolutely right, Kurty." She said smiling fondly. "Mommy, can we name the tree too?" Kurt asked her. "Sure, honey."

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Kurt stood up from where they were kneeling and walked around the tree until he found his and mother's initials. He traced the KH and EH, smiling fondly at the memory. "My mom used to bring me here too." Kurt told Blaine.

Blaine looked at the initials that Kurt was still tracing, reached out for his hand, and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Kurt Hummel and..."

"Elizabeth." Kurt supplied.

"Elizabeth. It's a beautiful name." Blaine said sincerely.

Kurt turned to look at Blaine and sighed contently before leaning in for quick but tender kiss. "Thank you, Blaine, for everything."

"You're welcome." Blaine replied smiling. "Come on, let's eat."

Blaine had packed them the perfect picnic in Kurt's opinion. He had packed a ton of fruit, two delicious sandwiches, some water, several different sweet treats, and a mug filled with coffee. They sat and ate their food quietly, exchanging shy glances every so often, and enjoying the tranquility of it all. Once they were done eating, Blaine pulled out a blanket Kurt hadn't noticed earlier and wrapped it around himself as he sat on the ground and leaned against the Oak tree. He opened his arms widely, beckoning Kurt to sit with him. Kurt sat himself down in between Blaine's open legs and arms, sighing contently as Blaine wrapped his arms and the blanket around him protectively.

"Blaine."

"Hmm?"

"Will you sing to me?"

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Blaine smiled adoringly at Kurt before planting a small kiss on his forehead. "Sure."

I've been alone Surrounded by darkness I've seen how heartless The world can be

I've seen you crying

You felt like it's hopeless I'll always do my best To make you see

Kurt closed his eyes, letting himself drift off to sleep as Blaine continued to sing. "Not Alone" was one of Kurt's all-time favorite songs, but despite how many he had heard it before, it was nothing compared to having Blaine sing it to him.

Baby, you're not alone

Cause you're here with me

And nothing's ever gonna bring us down Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' you And you know it's true

It don't matter what'll come to be

Our love is all we need to make it through

Blaine lightly caressed Kurt's arm, smiling at the fact that he was able to help Kurt relax so easily in his arms. In just a few short weeks, Kurt had stolen his heart. He had crushes before but none compared to how he felt for the boys in his arms.

Now I know it ain't easy But it ain't hard trying Every time I see you smiling And I feel you so close to me And you tell me

Baby, you're not alone

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Cause you're here with me

And nothing's ever gonna bring us down Cause nothing can keep me from lovin' you And you know it's true

It don't matter what'll come to be

Our love is all we need to make it through

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

It Was Perfect

Kurt couldn't remember the last time he was so happy. Sitting underneath the Oak tree, wrapped up in Blaine's arms, had to be one of his top five moments in life. He couldn't deny the connection he felt to Blaine nor did he want to anymore. Blaine was something out of a fairy tale book and Kurt felt incredibly lucky to be one Blaine choose to share such an important part of him. Blaine was quickly becoming Kurt's favorite person in the world and while a huge part of him was terrified, another part was elated. I can always count on him, no matter what. It's so nice not being afraid and I owe it all to Blaine and the Warblers.

"Whatcha thinking?" Blaine asked softly. They had been sitting underneath the Oak tree for a couple of hours already and Blaine could tell that Kurt was deep in thought.

"I was just thinking about happy I am whenever I'm with you and the Warblers." Kurt replied contently.

"You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that." Blaine replied, nuzzling his nose into the crook of Kurt's neck.

"Blaine." Kurt whined slightly.

"Sorry." Blaine replied sheepishly.

"It's fine, it just tickled." Kurt replied blushing a little.

"Oh yeah? So you're ticklish, huh? Good to know." Blaine teased.

Kurt quickly turned his head to glare at Blaine. "Don't even think about it, Blaine Anderson."

"Too late." Blaine smirked at him. Kurt rolled his eyes and turned away before Blaine could see the smile on his face. Truth was, the thought of Blaine tickling him made him giddy. "Hey, can I ask you a question?" Blaine said suddenly very serious.

"Sure." Kurt told him.

"It's about...what happened to you." Blaine said quietly as he lightly traced random shapes on Kurt's arm.

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"Oh." Kurt said quietly. "Yeah...you can ask."

"I was just...I was wondering how many times it happened." Blaine said cautiously.

Kurt took in a deep breath to center himself before answering. "Just once. I...he...I think he was scared that I would tell someone after it happened so he left me alone for a few weeks. I was so terrified those weeks. I knew that as soon as I let my guard down he'd come for me again. The night that Finn found me cutting was the same day that Karofsky tried again; or rather, I'm sure he would've if he found. I was in the library working on a paper and I saw him come in, and I immediately hid behind the book shelves way in the back. I was so sure that he'd find me and...I got lucky though. The librarian knew that I often hid in there from the jocks and when she saw him, she forced him to leave."

Blaine nodded, his fingers lightly trailing up and down Kurt's arm. "So, Finn was the one who found you?"

"Yeah. I was always very meticulous about doing it but that night, I don't know...I was too lost in my own world to care if I got caught I guess." Kurt shrugged.

"I'm glad you did. If Finn hadn't found you then you wouldn't have come to Dalton." Blaine replied quietly.

"Yeah, I know. I'm glad he found me too." Kurt said as he snuggled closer to Blaine.

Blaine held Kurt a little tighter, both staying silent for a short while before Blaine spoke up. "My grandmother was the one who found me. She had a pretty strong opinion about my sexuality but when she found me, everything changed. Within a week I was moving out of my parents' house and in with her. It wasn't hard for her to convince my father to let me move. He didn't care as long as his 'faggot son' wasn't around to ruin his reputation." Blaine said bitterly. "My grandmother was amazing. She spent my first night with her by listening to me tell her everything. She told me how sorry she was for what I've been through and she told me how I would be her grandson no matter what my lifestyle was. I guess seeing me in such a bad position made her realize that I was human and not some abomination."

"Did your parents know about the cutting?" Kurt asked curiously.

"I'm pretty sure my father knew but he didn't care. He stopped caring about me a long time ago." Blaine

said sadly.

"I'm sorry, Blaine. You don't deserve to be treated like that." Kurt said sincerely. - 101 -

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"Thanks. It took me awhile to believe that. Nick was rather insistent though. Kind of like Beatz is with you." Blaine said with a small chuckle.

"We're lucky we have those crazies in our lives then." Kurt said smiling.

"That we are." Blaine agreed.

Kurt turned to look at Blaine just as Blaine turned to look at Kurt. At the exact time, they leaned in towards one another and kissed. For Blaine, kissing Kurt was like being shot through space. The trust behind Kurt's kiss made Blaine dizzy and he was sure that it was the most amazing feeling in the world. For Kurt, kissing Blaine was like breathing for the first time. There was so much love and tenderness behind it that Kurt couldn't imagine kissing anyone else for the rest of his life. They seemed to fit so perfectly together and Kurt knew in that instant that he loved Blaine. He was sure that he would never love anyone else like he did Blaine at that very moment. They kissed for a while longer before deciding it was time to head back to Dalton. Kurt picked several flowers before leaving while Blaine packed everything up. They didn't say much to each other after that but they didn't need to. Everything was right with world and they refused to let anything ruin it.

During the drive back, they sang along with the radio with no shame. Kurt laughed as Blaine goofily sang along with all of his favorite songs while Blaine smiled adoringly at Kurt anytime he lost himself to a song. When Perfect by P!nk came on, Blaine was thrown for a loop. Kurt sang it with such intensity that Blaine actually thought about pulling over just to watch Kurt sing it. He joined him when the chorus started, smiling brightly at how perfectly they blended together. Halfway through the song, an idea struck him and he couldn't wait to get back to Dalton to tell Wes.

It was just past nightfall when they returned to Dalton, both still smiling goofily at how great their first date went. Since they would be missing Dalton's dinner, they decided that they would cook dinner together. While Kurt went into the kitchen to see what they could whip up, Blaine went to have a quick talk with Wes, Thad, and David.

"Hey, how was it?" David asked Blaine as soon as he walked into the common room.

"It was perfect." Blaine said smiling brightly. "Speaking of perfect, I wanted to run something by you guys."

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"What's up?" Wes asked curiously. Before Blaine could answer, David's cell phone went off, playing his new ringtone thanks to Nick.

"What was that?" Blaine asked confused.

"Apparently Kurt has quite the mouth on him when he's angry." Thad said smirking.

"What?"

"Yeah, here, let me play it." David said laughing. "Nick recorded it this morning and sent it to all the Warblers."

Blaine listened to Kurt say several cuss words and couldn't help but laugh. "Does Kurt know about this?" "Yeah, he knows." Wes said chuckling. "So what did you run past us?"

"Well, I had an idea for Regionals."

Kurt was staring at all the ingredients he pulled out for whatever dinner he and Blaine were going to cook when Sebastian, one of the Warbler seniors, came into the kitchen. "Hey, what are you cooking?"

"I don't know yet. I'm waiting for Blaine to get back so he can help me decide." Kurt told him. "Ah, yes. You and the dapper Mr. Anderson had a date today." Sebastian said smirking.

"Yes we did." Kurt replied shyly.

"Well, how was it?" Sebastian asked curiously.

"It was perfect." Kurt said smiling broadly.

"Good, glad to hear it." Sebastian said sincerely.

"Speaking of dates, have you asked him out yet?" Kurt asked him.

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"No." Sebastian said sadly.

"Why not?" Kurt asked.

"Because...I don't know. I just haven't, ok?" Sebastian said defensively.

"Ok, sorry." Kurt replied quietly.

"I'm sorry, Kurt. I didn't mean to snap at you. I just...it's hard talking about him." Sebastian said sullenly. "I know but Bastian, I'm pretty sure he likes you too." Kurt said with a small smile.

"I doubt it. Not with my past." Sebastian told him.

"You don't really believe that. You're just making excuses." Kurt said knowingly.

Sebastian shrugged in response but said nothing. Kurt didn't know about Sebastian's past nor did Sebastian know about his, but they both were more similar than they knew. They shared the same Advanced French class but rarely talked. The only reason Kurt knew who Sebastian liked was because he caught him staring one day in class and had called him out on it. Sebastian wasn't one to let people in, but because of Kurt's stubborn persistence, he ended up confessing his feelings. Kurt had been trying to get Sebastian to ask his fellow Warbler out ever since.

"Hey, Bastion." Blaine said as he walked in the kitchen.

"Hey, Blaine." Sebastian said smiling. "I'll let you two lovebirds get to cooking." He said winking as he made his way out.

"Oh, hey, Thad was looking for you just now." Blaine told him before he left. "Oh? Did he say what he needed?" Sebastian asked nervously.

"No, just that he was wondering where you were." Blaine told him.

"Oh, ok. I'll see you guys later." Sebastian said and quickly walked out.

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"What was that about?" Blaine asked, confused by Sebastian's behavior.

"Nothing, he just...has some things to work through." Kurt told him.

"Alright." Blaine said slowly. "So, I heard the most interesting thing from the guys."

"Oh yeah?" Kurt asked curiously.

"Yeah and it sounded a lot like you with very colorful language." Blaine said smirking.

"You heard Nick's recording, huh?" Kurt said looking down in embarrassment.

"Yes I did, and it was hilarious." Blaine chuckled.

"Oh well, I'm so glad I amuse you." Kurt said rolling his eyes.

"You do in fact, all the time." Blaine said as he wrapped his arms around Kurt's waist from behind. "So what's for dinner?"

"Not sure." Kurt shrugged.

After a few minutes of discussing their options, they decided to cook Chicken Carbonara. While Kurt was excellent at cooking French food, Blaine was amazing at cooking Italian. Blaine had instructed Kurt on what they needed to do and Kurt gladly listened. The other Warblers soon smelled the delicious aroma that wafted from the house kitchen and before Kurt and Blaine knew it, they were cooking for all of them. Neither one of them had minded though. The Warblers were their brothers and both loved them all dearly.

As the evening came to a close and the boys went their own way, Kurt and Blaine descended into their room. Their day had gone so well that neither wanted it to end. They both decided to take early showers and head to bed. They didn't ask who was sleeping where or how. They both simply crawled into Blaine's bed together for the night. They kissed softly for a while, enjoying the comfort from the other boy. They didn't know what they were nor did they ask. They just wanted everything to continue on its path to perfection. Being in each other's arms was something they had both wanted for a long time; the comfort and security someone gets from being with the person they loved. They both knew they were young and they both understood that there was a lot they still had to experience but neither one wanted to

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experience anything else without the other. They were both in their own bubble of amazingness in the bubble that was Dalton and nothing was going to get in their way.

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CHAPTER TWELVE

Secrets Out

That following week went by fairly well for Kurt. On Monday, he told the dean about his encounter with Karofsky. He hadn't exactly wanted to tell her since nothing really happened, but the guys insisted that it was something that needed to be done. The conversation he had with the dean had been a difficult one to the say the least, especially when she asked him if he had a picture of Karofsky so she could pass on to the staff, forcing him to pull up Karofsky's Facebook page to show her. The dean then saved the picture and emailed it to the entire staff with a warning attached. Kurt had expected the teachers to treat him differently after that email but was once again surprised by the magic that was Dalton when the teachers acted the same. According to Beatz, the staff had a list of people that weren't allowed on school grounds for this reason or that. Adding Karofsky to that list just meant that they had someone new to keep an eye out for. Other than his slightly rough Monday, the week had gone well.

Blaine and he hadn't talked about the date or what anything meant but they definitely made sure to show their feelings. Blaine was sweeter and gentler than Kurt knew was even possible for the young man and Kurt was opening up more and more to Blaine. They held hands quite a bit throughout the week, they were constantly aware of the one another whenever they were in the same room, and at night they would kiss gently for a while before heading off to sleep. None of the Warblers asked them if they were official or pried for information. They just enjoyed watching the two boys be happy with each other. The understanding between the Warblers was something that Kurt couldn't help but marvel at and he truly loved it. Had it been the New Directions, they would've pried and even tormented him for information. Thinking of the New Directions always made him feel sad. Despite the issues and the drama the club had, they were still his friends and seeing them at Sectionals reminded him just how much he missed them.

When Friday afternoon came around, Kurt was actually kind of excited to go home. He had planned a sleepover with all the New Directions and was really looking forward to hanging out with them.

"Are you going to be ok this weekend?" Blaine asked him while they waited for Burt to pick Kurt up for the weekend.

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"Yeah, I'll be ok." Kurt said with a small smile. "The New Directions are staying over tomorrow night so

they'll be a good distraction."

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"I'm glad that you get to see them. They seem to really care about you." Blaine said sincerely.

"They do." Kurt assured him. "I mean yeah, they tend to lose sight of the more important things in life every so often but they're really not that bad."

"Do any of them know?" Blaine asked curiously.

"No. They wouldn't understand and I'm pretty sure at they would murder him if they found out. In fact, I'm sure Santana and Puckerman already have a plan to do just that for making me leave." Kurt said with a small chuckle.

"What about your dad?" Blaine wondered.

"Oh no." Kurt replied quickly. "I couldn't tell my dad. His heart wouldn't be able to take it. Besides, he'd want to get the law involved and it would turn into this big thing that I really don't want to deal with."

"I get that, Kurt. But it is a big thing." Blaine said softly.

"I know it is but still. We'd end going to court which would result in his word against mine. If we were in New York, then yeah, I'd fight it because I knew I could. But this is Ohio and I'd rather not put myself and my family in that kind of turmoil." Kurt said truthfully.

Blaine nodded understandingly and sighed. "You should tell him one day though, maybe when you're older. He's your dad and he loves you. He deserves to know."

"I know. I will, someday, just...not anytime soon." Kurt said shaking his head. Just then, Burt pulled up to the school gates, smiling brightly at the sight of his son. "There's my dad. I'll see you in a few days."

"Yeah, ok." Blaine said sadly. "If you need anything, Kurt, anything at all, please don't hesitate to call." "I won't." Kurt assured him.

"I'm serious. Even it's the middle of the night and you just need someone to talk to, please call me." Blaine implored.

"I will, I promise." Kurt said softly.

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Burt watched Kurt as he finished talking to Blaine, noticing their interlocked hands. The overprotective dad in him wanted to go into overdrive but he reminded himself that not only did he really like Blaine, but this was Dalton, not McKinley. The chance of Blaine bringing any kind of malice to his son was highly unlikely and the shy sweet smile his son was currently wearing brought a slight tear to his eye. Kurt gave Blaine a lingering goodbye hug before smiling sadly at him and walking away.

"Hey, Dad." Kurt said happily as he got in the car.

"Hey, Kurt." Burt replied smiling while waving at Blaine. "You ready to go?"

"Yeah." Kurt replied just as he clicked his seatbelt. Burt nodded and pulled away from the school, noticing that Blaine waited for them to leave and that Kurt kept his eyes locked on Blaine until he was no longer in sight.

The drive had been a comfortable silence for a little while. Kurt had turned the radio on shortly after leaving and Burt couldn't help but smile at the signs of old Kurt coming back. With Kurt being in such a good mood, Burt took the opportunity to pry a little, hoping that Kurt would be willing to share some information with him.

"So, how's school?" Burt asked nonchalantly.

"School's really good. The classes are harder but the teachers are amazing." Kurt told him smiling.

"They better be with the money I'm spending." Burt joked, regretting it instantly when Kurt's shoulders slumped. "Hey now, I didn't mean anything by that so don't you dare start feeling guilty about going there. Your safety and that smile on your face is more than worth it, alright?"

"Yeah, alright." Kurt replied with a small smile.

"I see you and Blaine are getting along well." Burt said smirking.

"Yeah, we are. He's really great." Kurt said shyly as a slight blush crept up his cheeks. "Yeah? How great?" Burt asked curiously.

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"Like really, really great. He's kind and sweet and understanding and he just...he has a way of making me feel like there's no one else in the world more important than me." Kurt replied. "He's been such an amazing friend, Dad. All the guys have."

"So you and Blaine are just friends, huh?" Burt asked smirking.

"Well, maybe he's a little more than just a friend." Kurt blushed. "He took me on a date last weekend and it was...perfect."

"Perfect? That's not a term you use often." Burt pointed out.

"I know but it really was." Kurt assured him. "He took me on a picnic at that park with the flower field Mom used to take me to. We sat and talked for a while and he was just so sweet. He always is. I swear he comes straight out of a 1950s movie."

"Wait, did you tell him about that park?" Burt asked curiously.

"No. Apparently one of his nannies used to take him there when he was little kid too. Do you remember how Mom and I told you that we named the tree because someone else had too?" Kurt asked him.

"You mean bathing ants?" Burt asked chuckling. "Yeah, I remember."

"Well it wasn't bathing ants, it was Blaine Anderson. He told me that the park held a special meaning to him and he wanted to share it with me. I have to tell you, Dad, Blaine is something else." Kurt said sighing contently.

"He sounds like it." Burt said nodding. "I'm happy for you, Kurt. You're really sounding like your old self again and I guess I have Blaine and the Warblers to thank for that. It's nice seeing you smile again."

"It's nice being able to smile again. Thank you for transferring me, Dad. I couldn't be more grateful." Kurt said appreciatively.

"You're welcome son. You know I would do anything to keep you safe and happy." Burt told him. "Listen, about Blaine, I'm happy that he's been so nice to you and that you're doing so well, but don't let him pressure you into anything. Not that I think he would but I need to make sure. I'm not going to have to ask

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for you to get transferred to a different room or anything, am I? I trust you, Kurt but you're still my son and I don't want anything to happen to you."

"Don't worry, Blaine is the perfect gentlemen. He would never make me do anything that I didn't want." Kurt assured him. "And no, you don't need to have me transferred. Blaine knows how to help me with my nightmares when I have them and I don't think any of the other guys would know what to do." That and cuddling with any of the other guys would be kind of weird.

"Ok, but only if you're sure."

"I'm sure, Dad."

The rest of the drive home Kurt talked about school, Blaine, the Warblers, Blaine. He really was happy at Dalton and Burt could see it. There was life behind his eyes again and it made Burt feel good about the decision he made. There was a certain twinkle in Kurt's eyes anytime he talked about Blaine and Burt could see that his son was rather smitten. He made a mental note to speak with Blaine alone next time he had the chance. He was a dad after all and despite knowing that Blaine was a good kid, he still needed to have a talk with him. For the time being however, he enjoyed listening to Kurt tell him all the stories of Dalton. He hadn't expected Kurt to be so willing to share his new life of Dalton with him and was pleasantly surprised that Kurt had been so open with him about Blaine. Sending Kurt to Dalton was definitely the best decision he'd ever made concerning his son.

That evening at the Hudmel home had been a great one. Finn was surprised to see Kurt in such happy mood but didn't question it. Instead he asked if Kurt wanted to hang out in his room, which Kurt said yes to immediately, and they played video games together until it was time for dinner. Kurt, who insisted on cleaning the dishes despite Carole's protests, surprised his family members when he sang loudly in the kitchen. Burt ended up making excuses to be in the kitchen while Kurt cleaned just so he could be around his son's happy mood. Carole had decided that it would be a great time for some family bonding so they sat in the living room and watched a movie together for the first time in months. Blaine and Kurt had texted each other numerous times throughout the evening and not once did Kurt try and hide his goofy smile from his family. All in all, it had been a really terrific night.

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That all changed, however, when Kurt dreamt that night. He knew he would since Blaine wasn't with him but that didn't prevent the dream from shaking him up.

Kurt quickly made his way down the hallway, trying desperately to avoid Karofsky. He hated this part of the day. He always ran, he always hid, yet Karofsky would find him and force him into the janitor's closet he'd come so accustomed to. He turned the corner swiftly, briefly looking back to make sure that Karofsky wasn't following him, only to run straight into him. He gulped audibly as Karofsky grabbed him roughly by the arm to drag him away.

"If you even think of opening your fucking mouth." Karofsky warned as his grip got tighter. He didn't need to finish the warning though because Kurt knew that if he so much made a squeak of protest in the hallway it would only result in Karofsky being rougher with him in the closet.

As soon as the closet door was closed, Karofsky pushed Kurt against the shelves and grabbed him by the ass. "Please...don't." Kurt said brokenly.

"Shut it, Hummel!" Karofsky snapped, grabbing Kurt's hand to palm his erection.

"Please...you don't want to do this. This...this is wrong...please." Kurt begged.

"I said to shut up!" Karofsky said angrily. "If you want to fucking beg then I'll make you beg!" Karofsky's hand went for Kurt's zipper and began to roughly take Kurt's pants off. He forced Kurt's pants and boxers down before swiftly turning him around and placing his erection firmly against Kurt's ass.

"Oh my God! No! Please! Please no!" Kurt cried desperately.

"I told you I'd make you beg you fucking little whore!" Karofsky snarled as he forced Kurt's body to bend over.

Kurt woke up abruptly drenched in sweat. He quickly grabbed his phone, which he laid next to him on the pillow for when the nightmares came and quickly called Blaine. It only rang twice before Blaine picked up for him.

"Kurt? Wasamatter?" Blaine asked sleepily. "Blaine..." Kurt cried.

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"Hey, hey, it's ok. You're ok." Blaine said suddenly alert. Blaine started singing Perfect, trying desperately to calm the frantic Kurt down. Kurt took several deep breaths as Blaine continued singing, finally joining in when the second verse began. They finished the song together, Kurt getting calmer by the second. By the end of the song, Kurt felt better but was still on edge from the intensity of the dream.

"Are you ok?" Blaine asked him.

"Yeah, I just...I'm having a hard time calming down." Kurt said truthfully as he pulled at his pajama sleeve roughly.

"Would you like to sing some more?" Blaine suggested. "Could you maybe just sing to me?" Kurt asked him. "Of course." Blaine replied.

As Blaine sang Not Alone, Kurt closed his eyes and forced himself to focus on nothing but the smooth vocals he loved so much. When Blaine finished the song, he started singing Teenage Dream. He kept singing different songs until he heard Kurt's light snore on the other end. He smiled to himself as he thought about how adorable Kurt probably looked at the moment. He finally hung up the phone when he was sure that Kurt was asleep again but kept his it right next to him in case Kurt called him again.

When Kurt woke up that next morning, he pealed his phone off of his cheek, chastising himself for falling asleep on Blaine. Idiot. I can't believe I fell asleep on my phone. He checked his messages, blushing as he read the one that Blaine had sent him that night.

You fell asleep while I was singing and I can only imagine just how cute you look right now. Call me when you wake up. I hope you slept better. :) – Blaine

Kurt shook his head as he dialed Blaine's number, smiling as he thought about how Blaine had called him cute. That was one of the many wonderful things about Blaine. After their first date, he made sure to compliment Kurt whenever he had the chance.

"Hm?" Blaine said into the phone.

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"I do believe a wake-up call was requested." Kurt said in a professional tone.

"Mm." Blaine replied smiling contently. "Yes and it's the best wake-up call I've ever gotten."

"You're a dork." Kurt said laughing.

"Ah yes, but I'm your dork." Blaine flirted.

My dork? He called himself my dork. "That you are dapper Mr. Anderson, that you are." Kurt replied shyly. "Thank you for last night."

"There's no need to thank me. I told you to call if you needed me and I meant that." Blaine said softly. "Besides, I was missing you terribly and it was nice hearing your voice."

Kurt couldn't control the giggle that escaped because really, how else was he supposed to react to that? "You are just...too much sometimes."

"Yes well, I try." Blaine replied with a chuckle. "So what are your plans today?"

"I'm probably just going to stay home and spend some time with Dad, Carole, and Finn before the New Directions show up and attempt to kidnap me." Kurt joked.

"If they kidnap you, you better believe that we will kidnap you right back." Blaine said seriously. "My, my, aren't we a little selfish, wanting to take me away from my friends like that." Kurt teased.

"I will always be a little selfish when it comes to you, Kurt." Blaine said softly. Did I really just say that? God I'm such a goober!

Kurt bit his lower lip at Blaine's comment as he tried to come up with something witty to say but was at a loss. Making Kurt speechless was one of the many traits Blaine possessed that Kurt loved. Beatz and David called it the dapper Mr. Anderson effect. Luckily for him, he didn't need to come up with anything because his dad knocked on the door, interrupting their conversation.

"Morning, son." Burt said when he opened the door.

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"Morning, Dad." Kurt replied smiling.

"Is that Blaine on the phone?" Burt asked knowingly.

"Yeah." Kurt replied shyly. Burt smirked as he walked into the room. He held his hand out to Kurt, waiting expectantly for Kurt to hand him the phone. "Uh, Blaine, my dad wants to talk to you." He's not going to give him the dad talk over the phone is he?

"Ok." Blaine said unsurely as Kurt handed his dad the phone.

"Hello, Blaine." Burt said politely.

"Hello, Mr. Hummel. I hope you're having a lovely Saturday morning." Blaine replied charmingly.

"I am as a matter of fact, thank you. Listen, I was wondering if you and some of the Warblers wanted to come over for lunch tomorrow. Carole won't stop going on and on about how wonderful you lot are and I'm sure she would love to see you guys. I think she has a crush on a few of you to be honest." Burt chuckled.

"Sure, Mr. Hummel. That sounds like a great idea." Blaine said happily.

"Great! You guys can take Kurt back with you and save me trip in the process." Burt nodded.

"Of course, sir. In fact, if you wanted me to take and bring Kurt on the weekends I'd have no problem with it. I always stay here on the weekends so it's really no problem." Blaine told him.

"I may take you up on that one day." Burt said offhandedly. "Thanks, Blaine. I'll let you finish talking to Kurt and we'll see ya tomorrow."

"It's no problem, Mr. Hummel." Blaine assured him. "We'll see you tomorrow."

Burt gave the phone back to Kurt and began walking out of the room but stopped when Kurt told him to wait. "Hey, I'm going to go. I'll text you later."

"Alright, Kurt. Thanks for the wake-up call." Blaine said smiling. - 115 -

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"Sure. Bye, Blaine." Kurt said rolling his eyes.

"Bye, Kurt."

Kurt hung up his phone then looked at his dad expectantly. "What?"

"Dad, you do realize that you just invited up to 19 teenage boys for lunch right?"

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"Yes, Kurt. The thought crossed my mind." Burt said laughing. "To be honest lunch was just an excuse to get them over here. They're obviously a big part of your life now and I'd like to get to know them a little better." He confessed.

"Oh." Kurt said surprised. "Thanks, Dad." "You bet."

The rest of the morning and afternoon had gone steadily as Kurt spent time with his family. Shortly after they had finished eating dinner, the New Directions started showing up. They had set up the living room so they could all squeeze in fairly comfortably to watch movies for the night. The plan had been to stay up late and spend as much time with Kurt as they could. The night had gone rather smoothly as they alternated stories and gossip but everything came to an abrupt halt when Kurt subconsciously rolled up his sleeves.

"Kurt? What the hell is this?" Mercedes asked as she grabbed his arm.

Realizing what he'd done, Kurt quickly pulled his arm back and unrolled the sleeves. "Nothing." He answered a little too quickly.

"Bullshit!" Mercedes argued and she tried to grab his arm again. "What's going on?" Rachel asked.

"I don't know, ask Kurt." Mercedes said angrily.

- 116 -

Kurt glanced around the room as his friends all looked at him curiously, his eyes settling on Finn last who gave a sympathetic look. I'm already caught so I might as tell them. He sighed heavily as he rolled his sleeves up once more to show them his old scars.

"Kurt, please tell me that Rachel's hideous pajamas have blinded me and that I'm not seeing what I think I am." Santana said firmly. Kurt looked down from her intense gaze, sending her into Spanish ramble.

"Dude, seriously?" Puck said in disbelief. "Do you have any idea how stupid that is?"

"Stupid doesn't begin to describe it!" Santana snapped. "Why the hell would you hurt yourself like that?"

"Yeah, Kurt. I know that McKinley was hard but it wasn't that hard was it?" Artie asked sadly.

"You guys don't understand." Kurt said quietly.

"Oh, I understand alright." Santana said angrily. "I understand that instead of coming to one of us and telling that Karofsky was torturing you, you went and decided to be coward!"

"Santana it wasn't like that." Kurt assured her.

"Then what was it like, Kurt?" Rachel asked. "I don't get how you could've done something so horrible to your body."

"That's exactly why I didn't tell you guys. You don't understand." Kurt told them. "Then tell us, Kurt. Help us understand." Tina said softly.

"I can't." Kurt said quietly.

"Can't or won't?" Mercedes asked sadly.

"Both." Kurt said truthfully. "None of you have ever experienced what I have. How could you possibly understand?"

"Kurt, we've been slushied and pushed into lockers and bullied too. Of course we know what you've been

through." Tina said.

- 117 -

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"No you don't!" Kurt said exasperatedly. "Do you really think that this comes from your usual bullying? It doesn't!"

"What do you mean?" Mike asked confused.

"Yeah, what do you mean?" Finn asked curiously.

"I mean that none of you have ever been abused like I have been!" Kurt snapped unintentionally.

"Wait...what do you mean abused?" Santana asked softly. When Kurt looked away instead of answering, Santana knew. "Are you serious, Kurt?"

"What? I don't get it." Finn said.

"Kurt, what are we missing here?" Mercedes asked.

Kurt glanced at Santana for a moment, as if asking her to say it for him. "He's been...sexually abused." Santana said quietly.

"What?!" Finn said in shock.

"No way!" Artie chimed in.

"Is that true?" Rachel asked sadly. Kurt didn't trust himself to talk so he slowly nodded. "Oh, Kurt!"

"Dude, why didn't you tell us?" Finn asked. "We could've done something!"

"Like what, Finn? Accuse Karofsky of being in the closet? That would've only made things worse for me." Kurt said quietly.

"I fucking knew he was gay!" Puck exclaimed. "I just knew it!"

"Kurt, I'm so sorry." Tina said quietly.

"I'm going to kick his ass! I'm going to find and beat the shit out of him!" Finn said angrily.

- 118 -

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"Yo, I'm down." Puck said, fist bumping Finn.

"Me too." Santana jumped in.

"No, guys. Don't." Kurt told them.

"How could you say that, dude? He...touched you and stuff! That's not right." Finn said.

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"I know that but it won't make a difference. It's done, it's happened, and I'm trying to move on. I'm at Dalton now and I'm happy. I'm safe. If you do anything he'll just come for me." Kurt assured them. "Seriously, guys. I appreciate this, but please just let it go."

"I don't think I can do that." Mercedes said. "He forced you to hurt yourself which ended in you leaving. I'll never forgive him that."

"I'm not asking you to forgive him. I'm asking you to ignore it." Kurt said quietly. "Please."

The New Directions glanced unsurely at each other. They didn't want to ignore it, they wanted to teach Karofsky a lesson. Kurt gave them such a pleading look, however, that they agreed. Brittany had gotten up from where she was sitting, walked over to Kurt, and sat on his lap. She then started telling him all the reasons why she loved him and why he shouldn't hurt himself the way he had. That resulted in the rest of club taking turns to sit on his lap and doing the same, with the exception of Artie that is. When it was his turn, he had Kurt sit on his lap which ended in laughter and tons of silly pictures. The night turned into Kurt Appreciation Night and while he was still worried that his friends would say something, he really did love the support he got from them.

When Burt woke up that next morning, he found Kurt being nearly smothered by the New Directions. There had been an argument between them as to who would sleep by him and it resulted in all of them trying to be as close to him as possible. Carole had made breakfast for everyone and soon, the kids began to disperse and head home. When Puck walked out of the house, he grabbed Santana's and Quinn's arms and pulled them to the side.

"Look, I know we told Kurt we'd leave it alone but I can't do that." Puck told them. - 119 -

"We are way ahead of you, Puckerman." Santana smirked.

"By the time we're done with Karofsky, he's going to wish that he'd never been born." Quinn said proudly. "And the best part is that he'll never know it was us." Puck nodded at the girls. He knew going to them was the smart move. If anyone can be both diabolical and secretive, it would be Santana and Quinn.

Kurt was heading up the stairs when Finn pulled him aside. "Hey, can I talk to you?" Kurt sighed and nodded as he followed Finn to his room. "I wish you would've told me." He said quietly.

"I know, Finn. I'm sorry. It's just..."

"I wouldn't have understood." Finn finished for him.

"Yeah." Kurt said looking down.

"How far did he...I mean...how much did he...just..." Finn wanted to ask what the extent of what had happened was but couldn't form the words.

"Far, Finn. Really far." Kurt said quietly, understanding how hard it must've been for Finn to ask such a personal question.

"Did he...you know." Finn pushed. Kurt nodded slowly as he wiped a few tears away. "Dude!"

"I know, ok? Trust me, I know." Kurt told him. "Please, Finn, you can't say anything! Especially to my dad." "But Kurt!" Finn argued.

"Think of his heart. He can't handle this. Please! Promise me that you won't tell him! I'm working really hard to move on from this but I can't if you don't leave it alone. What's done is done. I'm safe now at Dalton and the Warblers have been a huge help, but if people start talking about it and trying to fix it then it's just going to send me spiraling down. Please, Finn!" Kurt begged.

"Alright, I won't tell Burt but I think you should." Finn told him. - 120 -

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"I will. One day when I'm older and I can handle it all, then I will." Kurt assured him.

Finn looked at Kurt sadly for a few moments. The thought that Karofsky forced himself on Kurt made his blood boil. "Do the Warblers know?"

"Some of them, yes." Kurt admitted.

"Why did you tell them and not us?" Finn asked sadly.

"Because they get it. I'm not the only one with issues there, Finn. Dalton is like...a healing bubble boy's go to when life hands them a shitty hand. That's why the Warblers are so close. They all know that there's a reason why we're at Dalton but no one asks a lot of questions. They support each other the same way addicts who a trying to get clean do. It's cult like even." Kurt said with a small chuckle. "I'm sorry for not telling you."

"Don't apologize, dude. I get it. I hate it, but I get it." Finn said softly. "Just...if anything else ever happens to you again, tell me. Even if I won't understand, tell me. We're brothers now, man. I'm sorry for not noticing everything earlier. It's my job to watch out for you and I failed you as a brother."

"You didn't, Finn. You are a great brother, honestly." Kurt told him.

"Yeah but, maybe if I had figured it out earlier I could've prevented it." Finn shrugged.

"Don't think like that, Finn. Thoughts like that are what initially led to me cutting. 'What if I hadn't dressed so loudly? What if I hadn't brought so much attention to myself? What if I wasn't gay?' All those questions are pointless. It would've ended up happening anyway because that's just who Karofsky is. He can't change the kind of monster he is any more than I can change being who I am." Kurt said truthfully.

"I guess. Just...tell me next time. I can't be your brother and help you if you don't let me." Finn said softly. "I will." Kurt assured him. "Thank you for understanding and for being my brother."

"Always, Kurt. I love you." Finn said like it was the simplest thing in the world.

"I love you too, Finn." Kurt replied smiling.

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Finn gave Kurt a big comforting hug before letting him leave the room. He then took out his cell phone and sent Puck a text.

Dude, we have to do something. – Finn

Already ahead of you, man. Meet me, Santana, and Quinn at my place tonight. We have a plan. – Puck

It was early afternoon when Blaine, David, Wes, Beatz, Nick, Jeff, Sebastian, and Thad showed up at the Hudmel home. Blaine meant to only bring Beatz and Nick along with him but couldn't get out of the school without being noticed by the others. Once they were there, Burt ordered pizza's for all of them and sat back to watch Kurt and Finn interact with them. Shortly after the pizza arrived, Burt pulled Blaine aside to have a talk with him.

"Is everything alright, Mr. Hummel?" Blaine asked with concern.

"Yeah, yeah. Everything's fine. I just wanted to ask you how Kurt was doing."

"He's doing great. Some days are harder than other but he's not cutting anymore so that's really good." Blaine told him.

"Good, good. He seems really happy and I owe it all to you and the Warblers." Burt said appreciatively.

"He is really happy. The Warblers love Kurt and I promise you that we're doing everything we can to keep him happy." Blaine assured him.

"I believe you." Burt nodded. "There's something else I wanted to talk to you about." "Yes, sir?"

"Kurt told me about your date and how you took him to that park. It meant a lot to him that you did that and I hope you know how special it really was to him."

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- 122 -

"I do, sir. It meant a lot to me too." Blaine admitted. "That place holds some very dear memories to me and I'm glad that it was something we could share with each other."

Burt eyed Blaine curiously for a moment. Kurt was right, Blaine really was something else. "I'm glad that you two could share that too. I like you, Blaine, I have from the beginning. You seem like a really good kid and I really do appreciate all that you've done for my son. However, if you hurt my son-"

"I would never!" Blaine cut in quickly. "You better not." Burt warned.

There was a moment of awkward silence before Blaine spoke up again. "Is there anything else you needed to talk to me about, Mr. Hummel?"

"Yeah, just one more thing, call me Burt." Burt replied smiling.

"Yes, Mr. Hu...I mean Burt." Blaine said smiling brightly.

"You know, I really do like you kid." Burt nodded. "Now, what do you know about football?"

Kurt and the other Warblers were ready to head back to school but couldn't leave because no one knew where Blaine went. Kurt went to go look for him just as he and his dad walked out from the garage.

"Dad?" Kurt said in confusion as he looked back and forth between him and Blaine. "Don't worry, son. I left him in one piece." Burt joked.

"Uh huh." Kurt said unsurely. "Blaine, we're ready to go."

"Alright then, let's head out." Blaine told him. "Thanks you for having us over, Burt." Burt? Did he just call my dad Burt? What the hell did I miss?

"No problem, Blaine. You are always welcomed here." Burt said patting him on the shoulder. - 123 -

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"Thank you, sir." Blaine told him. "Alright, Warblers, let's move out."

The Warblers made their out the door with the exception of Kurt who stayed behind to say bye to his dad. "I'll see you next weekend, Dad."

"You know, you don't have to come home every weekend." Burt told him. "I heard you having a nightmare the night before last. I would've come in but just as I got to the door I heard you talking with Blaine. I know he and the other guys are really helping you so if you need to stay, just let me know, ok?"

"Ok, Dad." Kurt said with a small smile. "I love you."

"I love you too, son. Be careful and call me when you guys get back." Burt told him.

"I will." Kurt assured him. They hugged one another tightly before Kurt finally walked out of the house to head back to Dalton with his friends.

- 124 -

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

Let's Make It Official

Kurt walked out of his house to head back to Dalton and was surprised to see that the boys drove one of Dalton's buses to pick him up. By the time he had gotten outside, the Warblers had already piled in, leaving a single seat open for Kurt. The seat right next to Blaine. Kurt got in to the bus, blushing slightly as Blaine put his arm around him, and scowled at Beatz who was smirking knowingly at him. Once they were out of Lima and on their way back to Dalton, Kurt relaxed into Blaine's arm, placing his head on Blaine's shoulder contently.

"So, how was your weekend?" Blaine asked him all the while drawing circles on his shoulder.

"It was actually pretty good considering." Kurt told him. "I uh, I told the New Directions what happened." "Really?" Blaine said in surprise. "Did you tell them everything?"

"No. They know about the cutting and they know I was abused, but that's it." Kurt told him. Sebastian, who was sitting right behind them next to Thad, immediately started paying attention when he heard Kurt say that he had been abused.

"Are you glad you told them?" Blaine asked curiously.

"Yes and no." Kurt said truthfully. "After I told them they spent the rest of the night telling me why they loved me which was actually really funny. They took turns sitting on my lap. Except for Artie since he's in a wheelchair, I sat on his." He said laughing. "I'm worried that they're going to try and get revenge though, especially Finn."

"Is that something they would do?" Beatz, who was sitting on the other side of Blaine, asked curiously. "Yes, it is. They promised me they wouldn't but I don't believe them." Kurt shrugged.

"Well hopefully they aren't stupid enough to go behind your back." Beatz said firmly.

"Trust me, they are." Kurt sighed. "What did you guys do this weekend?"

- 125 -

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"You mean before we got Blaine to stop sulking in his room or after?" Nick teased.

"I was not sulking in my room." Blaine argued.

"Oh please, you were so sad that Kurt was gone because you missed him so much." David said dramatically.

"Woe is me, Kurt is not here." Beatz sighed.

"Woe is me, I wish he were near." Thad said with puppy eyes.

"Woe is me, I count the hours down." Nick continued.

"Woe is me, until he is once again around." Sebastian said dreamily.

"Woe is me, my love is gone. Woe is me, my heartache so strong." The Warblers said together.

"Woe is me, parting is such sweet sorrow." Beatz said sadly.

"Woe is me, my heart aches till tomorrow." Wes sighed dramatically, finishing the poem.

"I hate you guys." Blaine said, blushing furiously.

"Awe, Blaine. You wound me." Nick said feigning hurt.

"After all the hard work we did to put your feelings into a poem and this is how you thank us? I'm so hurt." David said pretending to cry.

"Great, now we have to write a poem for the heartache you've caused. You should be ashamed of yourself." Jeff scolded.

"Oh, I'll start it!" Nick jumped in. "The heartache I feel is nothing compared to the betrayal of lost love."

"Lost love is terrible fate that makes the angels cry up above." David said sullenly.

"Ok, guys, that's enough." Blaine said irritably. The Warblers started laughing, unable to control themselves. Calling Blaine out was their way to get him and Kurt to talk about their relationship status and

- 126 -

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they were glad to do it. Blaine looked over to Kurt who was watching him with an amused expression. "What?" He chuckled nervously.

"Nothing." Kurt shrugged smirking. "I've just...never been so missed before."

"Yeah, well...get used to it because I'll be missing you every time you go home." Blaine said playfully.

"Well...good." Kurt replied shyly. Blaine chuckled softly as he leaned forward to kiss Kurt on the forehead. The Warblers who witnessed the kiss all rolled their eyes at how adorable Blaine and Kurt were together. They really were too cute for their own good.

When they arrived back at Dalton, Kurt went straight to his room and laid down in his bed. Being back at Dalton allowed him to be himself again and he missed being able to truly relax. He loved his family and he loved his friends, but he learned to hide from them when things became hard at school. At Dalton, no one judged him and no one bullied him. He was free to be himself and he loved it. When Blaine walked in the room a few minutes after him, he found Kurt lying on his bed with his eyes closed and a content smile on his face.

"You ok?" Blaine asked smirking.

"Mhm." Kurt nodded. "I just missed my bed."

"I see." Blaine said as he crawled in bed next to Kurt. "Is that all you missed?"

Kurt opened his eyes and turned his body so that he and Blaine were facing each other. "No. I missed the hallways too."

"The hallways?"

"Mhm. I missed the color of the walls and the softness of the carpeting and all the lovely decorations." Kurt said nodding.

"Uh, huh." Blaine smirked. "Did you miss any of the people or are we strictly talking inanimate objects

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here?"

- 127 -

"Oh, well of course I missed the people! I missed Beatz and Trent and Bastion and Wes and Thad and Nick and David. I didn't miss Jeff though. I'm still mad at him for making me late to class on Friday." Kurt said nonchalantly.

"Yeah, Jeff's really good at doing that." Blaine said laughing lightly.

"Oh! I almost forgot the person I missed the most!" Kurt said dramatically.

"And who might be?" Blaine questioned.

"Oh, no one too special. Just a curly haired cutie who's always there for me when I need him." Kurt said sweetly.

"Wow. He sounds lovely." Blaine replied softly.

"He is." Kurt replied as he leaned in to kiss Blaine. Kissing Blaine was Kurt's absolute favorite past time. Blaine was always sweet, tender, and loving with his kisses. He never pushed Kurt for more nor did he ever make Kurt feel uncomfortable. They would simply lose themselves in each other, never worrying about being judged.

"I'm glad you had a good weekend at home." Blaine said quietly as they parted.

"Me too. It was nice but I really did miss it here." Kurt said truthfully. "Finn knows about...how far everything went."

"What did he say?" Blaine asked curiously.

"He freaked out big time. It was nice talking about it with him though. I didn't go in to detail or anything, but just the fact that he knows is nice." Kurt said nodding.

"Do you think he'll tell your dad or the New Directions?" Blaine asked as his fingers lightly caressed Kurt's.

"Honestly, no. He's usually really terrible at keeping secrets but I really don't think he'll let this one slip." Kurt told him. "What did you and my dad talk about?"

- 128 -

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"He was asking me how you were doing. That and giving me the 'Don't hurt my son' talk." Blaine said with a small laugh.

"Oh God!" Kurt groaned in embarrassment. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It was sweet and I really like your dad. He's a good man." Blaine said sincerely.

"Yeah, he really is." Kurt agreed.

"Since we're on the topic of us, what is going on here?" Blaine asked shyly.

"I don't really know." Kurt shrugged. "I mean we've only been on one date, but we kiss...a lot." He said laughing nervously.

"That is very true." Blaine nodded. "The way I see it, we have two options. Option one is that we stopped kissing and go on more dates in order to get to know each other better."

"Hmm, no. I don't like that. What's the other option?" Kurt asked.

"Well, the only other logical option is that we become boyfriends." Blaine said shrugging.

"Boyfriends? Oh I don't know. That's a big step Blaine. Are you sure we're ready for that?" Kurt asked teasingly.

"I don't know. This is such tough decision." Blaine said pouting, granting him a giggle from Kurt. "Blaine?"

"Yes, Kurt?"

"Would you do me the honor of being my boyfriend?" Kurt asked shyly.

"Oh, Kurt!" Blaine gasped dramatically. "This is so sudden! I don't know what to say!"

"You're such a dork." Kurt said laughing.

- 129 -

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"Yes, I know." Blaine replied smiling. "And yes, I would love nothing more than to be your boyfriend." "Good." Kurt replied as he leaned in to kiss him again.

Knock, Knock. "Hey are you two staying in or-WHOA!" David said when he walked in them kissing. "So this is what it's like to be gay with a gay roommate, huh? Must be nice." He teased.

"Excuse me, David, but I was trying to kiss my boyfriend and you have rudely interrupted." Kurt said firmly.

"Boyfriend? Oh shit!" David said excitedly before poking his head out the door. "Yo, Klaine is officially on!" Kurt and Blaine heard the hollers and cheering from their friends, making them both laugh. "I'll leave you lovebirds be." David said smirking then walked out.

"Klaine?" Kurt asked curiously.

"That's our couple name." Blaine informed him.

"Ah, yes, of course." Kurt rolled his eyes.

"Do you want to hang out with the guys before dinner?"

"Sure. I'm going to make a quick phone call then I'll meet you out there."

"Ok." Blaine replied, kissing him softly before getting up and walking out of the room. As soon as Blaine closed the door behind him, he did a goofy happy dance, not realizing that several Warblers were in the hallway. He asked me to be his boyfriend! We're boyfriends now! AH! The clearing of someone's throat caught his attention, making him look up to find his friends staring at him.

"Someone's happy." Beatz commented smirking.

"Yes, well, how can I not be when I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world?" Blaine replied smiling.

While Blaine was dancing outside in the hall, Kurt was doing his own happy dance in the room. Oh my God! Oh my God! OH MY GOD! Blaine's my boyfriend! Blaine Anderson is my boyfriend! AH! Kurt pulled his cell phone out and quickly dialed Mercedes' number. - 130 -

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"Hey, boo. Miss me already?" Mercedes said when she answered the phone. "Oh my God, Mercedes!" Kurt replied excitedly.

"What? What's going on?" Mercedes asked confused.

"I, Kurt Hummel, have a boyfriend!" Kurt exclaimed.

"What?! Who?"

"Blaine, the Warblers lead vocalist!"

"Kurt! That's awesome! When did this happen?"

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"Just now! Oh God, 'Cedes, I can't believe it! I'm officially someone's boyfriend and it's to the most amazing guy in the entire universe." Kurt said happily.

"I'm really happy for you, Kurt. You deserve it." Mercedes said sincerely. "Does he know...about...you know?"

"Yes, he knows." Kurt told her. "He has for a while to be honest and he's never treated me any different because of it. He's so incredible 'Cedes. Like, really incredible!"

"Well, I'm going to have to meet him again, just to approve that he's worthy of you." Mercedes said sternly.

"Trust me, he is." Kurt assured her. "I have to go but I wanted you to be the first to know. Seeing you guys this weekend really put things into perspective for me. You guys are my family too and I want us to stay in touch, no matter what happens."

"We most definitely will, boo. I'll talk to you later. Be good!"

"I will 'Cedes. Bye." Kurt said laughing before hanging up. He walked out of the room to find the Warblers teasing Blaine. When Blaine saw him, he smiled brightly as he approached him. Without hesitation, he placed his hands just under Kurt's ears and kissed him. The Warblers hooted and cat-called while the boys kissed tenderly but they didn't care. They both had wanted to kiss each other in public the entire week before and now that they were official, they were going to let the world know.

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The New Directions were all meeting at Puck's house that evening to discuss 'Project: Out Karofsky' together. They all felt bad for going behind Kurt's back but there was no way that they were going to sit down and do nothing about what happened. Kurt was more than their friend, he was family and no matter how dysfunctional their family was, they still loved each other. Mercedes was the last one to show up since Kurt had called her just as she was leaving. When she got there, she immediately told them about Kurt's phone call.

"Should he be doing that? After everything with Karofsky, should he have a boyfriend?" Artie had asked in concern.

"Wait, you said he's with Blaine?" Finn asked.

"Yeah, the Warblers lead soloist." Mercedes told him.

"Oh, that's that guy we met when he came to wish us good luck, I remember. He's cute!" Tina said smiling.

"Cute or not, Artie's right. Should he really be in a relationship?" Santana asked, clearly concerned.

"Naw, Blaine's cool. Burt told me that he took Kurt out on a date last weekend and that it was really special or something. Burt loves Blaine. If he approves, I approve." Finn said firmly.

"Finn's right. Kurt sounded really happy, happier than I've ever heard him. If Mr. H. is ok with it, I am too." Mercedes agreed.

"Alright, fine but I want to re-meet this Blaine and make sure he's doing right by Kurt." Puck said firmly. "Now enough gossip. We need to get this plan started."

"That's right. We gotta get some ground rules first. 1: Kurt cannot find out. 2: Whatever we do cannot come back on any of us. 3: We never talk about the plan except in this room right here. 4: No one does anything without it being approved by everyone. 5: Most importantly, it's gotta look like Karofsky's at fault for how everything happens. It don't matter that he knows he didn't do it; everyone else has to think it's him. Everyone clear?" Santana asked. The New Direction nodded eagerly, ready to get the plan started.

"Alright, first order of business is to get someone close to him." Quinn told them. "That's where I come in." - 132 -

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That Monday at school, Quinn put extra effort into her appearance. Not that it actually mattered since Karofsky was gay, but he had to think that Quinn was trying to impress him. She waited until right before football practice to approach him. He was standing at his locker putting his books away when she walked up to him. She leaned against the locker next to his, smiling sweetly, as she waited for him to say something to her.

"What do you want, Fabray?" Karofsky asked her irritably.

"You know Dave, I was thinking." Quinn said softly as she reached over to caress his arm. "You and I should go on a date sometime."

"And why the hell would I do that?" Karofsky scoffed. "I'm hot, you're hot. Why not?" Quinn shrugged.

"Maybe because we hate each other." Karofsky said flatly. "I don't hate you." Quinn told him.

"Yes you do. I slushied you all through your demon spawn and I made that faggot Hummel transfer leaving your gay little club a person short. Don't give me any bullshit lie. What do you really want?" Karofsky asked angrily.

"Alright, fine. You're right. I do hate you but the way I see it, you need me just as much as I need you." Quinn said pointedly.

"How the hell do you figure that?" Karofsky asked.

"You see, for whatever reason, you're the most popular guy in this hell hole and after last year, I need to climb back the social ladder. Dating you gets me that." Quinn told him.

"And what do I get out of it?"

- 133 -

"Well, you haven't had a girlfriend in...well ever and people are starting to talk. Dating me will prevent that from happening."

"You know what, I'll pass." Karofsky said as he slammed his locker door and headed to the locker room. When he got there, he heard Puck talking about him.

"Think about it. He's never had a girlfriend and I swear he checks guys out when we're changing." Puck said in attempted whisper.

"I don't know dude. Karofsky gay? That's a pretty big leap." Mike replied.

"Yeah, man. Plus he tortured Kurt, there's no way he's gay." Finn told him.

"Don't you see? That's why he tortured Kurt. He's scared." Puck told them. "I'm telling you, Dave Karofsky is G-A-Y gay." Karofsky walked over to where Puck, Finn, and, Mike were standing, glared at them for a moment then walked over to his locker.

After football practice, Karofsky walked past the bleachers where the Cheerios practiced and ended up overhearing an argument between Santana and Quinn.

"I can't believe you, Quinn!" Santana said angrily.

"What do you want me to say, Santana? At least I was honest with you!" Quinn said defensively.

"I know you want to be popular again but Dave Karofsky? Are you fucking kidding me? He forced Kurt out the school for Christ sake! How could you go behind his back and date Karofsky like that?" Santana argued.

"Look, I hate that Kurt couldn't handle a few slushies and that he left, but I have to do this. I can't stand being at the bottom of the totem pole anymore and if dating Dave Karofsky is what I have to do become popular again, I'll do it." Quinn said firmly.

"This is low, Fabray, even for you." Santana said disgustedly before walking away angrily.

Karofsky had no idea what had gotten into the New Directions but there was no way that he was going to fall for whatever they were scheming. When he got to school that next morning however, things changed. He noticed several students staring at him oddly and heard his name whispered amongst them. His only

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thought was that other football players had heard Puck talking in the locker room and now the school was spreading lies. He didn't care what the school said. He wasn't gay and there was no way that anyone was going to actually believe the rumor. When he reached his locker, the word 'faggot' had been written on it in marker. He stared at the word angrily for a moment before glancing around the halls. He saw Quinn standing at her locker down the hall and quickly made his way to her.

"Fine." Karofsky told her.

"Fine?" Quinn asked.

"Yes, fine. I'll be your boyfriend." Karofsky said quickly.

"Great! You won't regret it!" Quinn said happily.

"I'm sure I will." Karofsky said rolling his eyes.

"Don't be like, baby. You and I, we're going to rule this school." Quinn said winking.

"Yeah, whatever. I'll see you at lunch." Karofsky said to her before quickly walking to back to his locker clean the word off.

Quinn took her cell phone out and sent a text to all the New Directions.

Phase One Complete – Quinn That's my girl! – Santana Commencing Phase Two – Artie

It was Wednesday evening when Sebastian approached Kurt. Sebastian had wanted to talk to Kurt alone since he found out that he had been abused but never had the chance since he and Blaine were always together. Wednesday evening however, Kurt was alone in Dalton's library doing research for a paper so Sebastian took the chance while he had it.

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"Hey, Kurt." He said as he sat down on the table.

"Hey, Bastian. What's up?" Kurt replied as he set his book down.

"I uh, I wanted to talk to you." Sebastian said quietly.

"Ok. Are you alright?" Kurt asked concerned.

"Yeah, I just...I heard you say that you were abused and I wanted to talk to you about it." Sebastian told him.

"Oh...ok." Kurt said unsurely. "What did you want to talk about?"

"I just...I guess I wanted to know if you were...raped." Sebastian asked him cautiously. Kurt shifted uncomfortably in his seat but said nothing so Sebastian continued. "When I was 13, my step-mom raped me. She did it a few times in fact. It uh...it really messed me up and I've never met anyone else who's gone through it so..."

"Yeah...I was raped." Kurt told him a little shakily.

"How did you deal with it?" Sebastian asked curiously. Kurt sighed as he rolled his sleeves up to show Sebastian. Sebastian gingerly grabbed Kurt's hands, gently caressing the scars. "I can't believe you did this. You're way too strong for this."

"Yes well." Kurt shrugged. "How did you?"

"Very, very differently." Sebastian said laughing bitterly. "I basically became a man whore." "A man whore?" Kurt asked surprised.

"Yeah. I started having sex with hell, anybody just to erase the memory of her touching me. I was...God I was such a douche. I would go after other guy's boyfriend's and get them to cheat, I would go to bars and hook up with random guys, and I even tried getting into Blaine's pants." Sebastian laughed, granting him a glare from Kurt. "Don't worry, it never happened and I have no intention of trying to steal him away."

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"I'm watching you, Smythe." Kurt said seriously. Sebastian raised his hands in the air in defeat, suppressing the laugh that threatened to come out.

"So anyway, I was not someone you would've liked, that's for sure." Sebastian told him.

"Why are you telling me all this?" Kurt asked curiously.

"I'm telling you so you could understand me better before I ask you for help." Sebastian told him. "You see, at the beginning of last year, things were really tough. I spent the summer at home and it didn't matter that I could easily out strengthen her, she had complete power over me. It was...God it was terrible. I went after the school's top couple when the semester started up again. They were seniors and had been together since freshman year. By the Christmas break, I was fucking one of them like it was nothing. Thad, who was my roommate, was the one that caught us and it was bad. One night after Warbler rehearsal, the other guy jumped me and beat the shit out. He ended up getting expelled that next day. He was going to go to Harvard and I ruined that for that him." Sebastian said guiltily.

"What happened after that?" Kurt asked.

"The Warblers had an intervention. They tore me apart and I deserved every bad thing they said to me. The only one who hadn't made me feel like shit was Thad." Sebastian said with a small smile.

"Is that when you fell in love with him?" Kurt asked smirking. Sebastian blushed lightly and nodded. "Yeah, it was."

"Alright, Warblers. I think we've heard enough." Thad told the group. "How can you say that after what he did?!" Beatz yelled out.

"Because everyone makes mistakes. I'm not saying that I'm ok with what Sebastian did but I'm not going to tear into him. Listen guys, what we need to do is help him, not make it worse. You all know that sometime shit happens that changes us, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. He's a Warbler, our brother, and we should be there for him because no one else will be." Thad said firmly.

"What do you suggest we do?" David asked from the back. - 137 -

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"I suggest that we talk to him. We watch him and we help him make better decisions. Without us, he has nobody. Without us, Sebastian, you'll be alone." Thad said quietly.

"I...I don't want to be like this." Sebastian said brokenly.

"I know you don't but you have to try not to be." Thad said softly. "I...I will. I promise." Sebastian told them.

"If you don't, we will kick you out the Warblers and you will lose us, all of us." Thad said pointedly. Sebastian nodded quickly in understanding. "Alright. As of now, Sebastian Smythe is no more. Bastian however, my roommate and my best friend, is more than welcome."

"That's how you got that nickname." Kurt nodded.

"Yeah. Thad was the only one to ever call me that but after they night, that's who I needed to be. I remember thinking how lucky I was to even have Thad stand up for me. He should've been the one angriest at me. Yet there he was, putting himself on the line for me. I couldn't believe it. I promised myself to change after that."

"Ok, well. What do you need help with?" Kurt asked him.

"I've seen you and Blaine and how you are together and I just...I want that. I want to be able to walk hand in hand with Thad and I want to be able to kiss him and just...be with him." Sebastian said exasperatedly. "But I don't know how. I don't know what to say or do. I see him and then I just...I get stuck."

"I don't know what I can do to help, but I'll try." Kurt told him. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Kurt smiled.

"Thanks, Kurt." Sebastian said sincerely.

"Sure. What are friends for?"

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Sebastian and Kurt sat there talking for a while longer, sharing their experiences with one another and forming a new bond. Sebastian even convinced Kurt to talk with Dalton's doctor about what happened to him, encouraging him to get tested. The best thing about Dalton was the privacy. He assured Kurt that the doctor would not tell his father and Kurt reluctantly agreed, knowing that he really should get checked out. Unbeknownst to them, Beatz had seen them talking and it immediately worried him. While Sebastian hadn't done anything wrong since the intervention, Beatz couldn't help but think back to what had happened the year before. He watched them laugh together as they talked and he did not like it. He made a note to watch Sebastian more closely from that point on. He was not about to let Kurt or Blaine get hurt and he was determined to keep anything bad from happening.

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Jumping To Conclusions

The next two months passed quickly and before anyone could realize it, it was the week before winter break. During those two months, Kurt and Blaine became closer, Kurt and Sebastian formed a unique bond, and the New Directions plotted against Karofsky. Kurt and Blaine became inseparable. They spent most of their free time together and were rarely seen not wrapped up in each other's arms. Their relationship came so easily to them despite the emotional scars they had. They trusted each other completely and it was a nice change for both boys.

Kurt's and Sebastian's friendship was something that not only worried Beatz, but it was something he didn't quite understand. He watched them closely throughout the following months, waiting for any signs of the old Sebastian to surface. There were moments where he would catch them talking in whispers in a corner, there were moments where he'd see them laughing together, and then there were moments when he'd catch them arguing. He hadn't figured out what they argued about but they did that the most. Whatever it was they argued about, Kurt was adamant about it while Sebastian always said no. Despite his worries and the odd friendship they had, Beatz really had no reason to believe that Sebastian was up to no good. That all changed the Wednesday afternoon before break.

Kurt and Sebastian were sitting at their usual spot in the library talking in hushed voices before Warbler rehearsal. It had become their spot after they opened up to each other and while they usually talked about Sebastian's feelings for Thad, that afternoon it was Kurt who needed the help.

"So what's up?" Sebastian asked him curiously. "You've been acting weird lately."

"If I tell you something, I can trust you not to say anything, right?" Kurt asked quietly.

"Duh." Sebastian said like it was the most obvious answer. "What's going on?"

"Well, I've been having this dream for about a few weeks now and you're the only one I feel would be able to help me." Kurt told him.

"Ok." Sebastian said slowly. "What's the dream?"

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Kurt instantly began to blush as he thought back to what his imagination had been taunting him with. "Ok so, it starts with Blaine and I hanging out in our room. We're just talking at first but then we start kissing."

"Uh, huh." Sebastian nodded.

"Well, after we kiss for a little while, we...we start you know...doing stuff." Kurt said quietly, his face as red as the piping on his blazer.

"So you're having wet dreams about your boyfriend?" Sebastian teased.

"Shh!" Kurt said quickly. "Don't say it like that!"

"But that's how it is, right?" Sebastian asked smirking.

"Well...yeah but that's not all." Kurt said suddenly very serious. "After we start being more...intimate, it changes."

"How so?" Sebastian asked curiously.

"Well at first, Blaine's being really sweet and gentle but then he starts getting more aggressive, too aggressive. He's sucking on my neck and it starts to hurt so I try and push him off but he just ignores me. I get really pissed off at him and grab him by the hair to make him stop but when he looks up, it's not him, it's...it's Karofsky. Then it turns into another nightmare and there I am completely helpless. It's terrible."

"Wow! That...that really sucks, Kurt." Sebastian told him.

"I know! The thing is, it's so sweet in the beginning that I can't help but wonder what it would really be like to experience anything like...that with Blaine but...I'm scared. I mean I know that Blaine would never push me but how can I...do anything if Karofsky's still tormenting me?" Kurt asked sullenly.

"Well, I have a suggestion, but I don't know if you'll like it." Sebastian said with a mischievous grin. "What is it?" Kurt asked curiously.

"Masturbate." Sebastian said simply.

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"Bastian! I can't do that!"

"Why not?"

"Because...because I can't. I've never...I just can't!" Kurt told him.

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"Look, I get it. I get that the only experience you've ever had was with someone who forced you and I get that it's hard to erase that image but you're never going to truly get over it until you have other experiences to take the bad memories away." Sebastian told him.

"I don't know, Bastian. I don't think I can do that. I don't think I can...touch myself and not think of Karofsky." Kurt said dejectedly.

Sebastian reached over the table, grabbed both of Kurt's hand into his own, and looked at Kurt intently. "Fight it, Kurt. Unless you fight it, Karofsky will always be there to poison your thoughts. Unless you fight it, you will never get any further than kissing with Blaine and while yeah, that's been ok so far, one day it won't be."

"But how?" Kurt asked quietly.

"The best thing I can think of is do it the shower. Use Blaine's soap or shampoo or whatever he uses. Engulf your senses in it, force yourself to think of Blaine and only Blaine. I'm not saying that it'll be easy, but it's worth a try." Sebastian shrugged.

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Thanks, Bastian." Kurt said with a small smile.

"That's why I'm here."

Beatz was walking past the library when he noticed that once again, Kurt and Sebastian were talking quietly in the corner. He watched them for a few minutes, seeing Kurt blush furiously while Sebastian grinned mischievously at him. He also witnessed the hand hold across the table and instantly jumped to conclusions, already blaming Sebastian for returning to his old ways. He knew that Sebastian was up to no good. He knew that Sebastian wasn't to be trusted. He couldn't believe that Kurt had actually fallen for his game and it angered him that after everything he and Blaine had been through together, he'd go and do something as terrible as cheat. Without so much as a second thought, Beatz stormed into the library and straight over to Kurt.

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"Hey, Beatz. What's-"

"What the hell is going on here?" Beatz said angrily, interrupting Kurt's greeting.

"Nothing." Kurt said unsurely, taken aback by Beatz' sudden anger.

"It sure doesn't look like nothing." Beatz said in aggravation, glancing down at their hands.

Kurt quickly let go of Sebastian's hand, already annoyed at what Beatz was insinuating. "You don't actually think-"

"I'm sure that's exactly what he thinks." Sebastian interrupted as he stood up from the table. "I'll see you guys at rehearsal." Sebastian knew the second he and Kurt became friends that all eyes would be on him. He was surprised that it had taken Beatz so long to confront Kurt in the first place. Now that he had, he wasn't going to stick around to hear Beatz chew him out for something that he hadn't done.

"What the hell, Kurt?"

"What the hell what, Beatz? I haven't done anything." Kurt said irritably.

"Then why the hell are you holding hands with him? Why the hell have you been all secretive with him this past month?" Beatz asked angrily.

"You've never held a friends hand in order to comfort them?" Kurt argued. "And what we're being secretive about is none of your damn business!"

"Are you kidding with this shit? I catch you cheating and you're getting mad at me?"

"Cheating! You did not catch me cheating because I wasn't cheating! How could you possibly think that I

would do that to Blaine?" Kurt asked in shock.

"What the hell else am I supposed to think, Kurt?" Beatz argued back.

"I don't know but you're delirious if you think that I would do that!" Kurt said, hurt at the accusation. "It sure seems that way!"

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"Oh my God! I am not cheating!" Kurt argued as he walked out of the library and towards the rehearsal hall.

"This is how it starts, Kurt. This what he does! He befriends you then convinces you that you deserve better. I've seen him do it! You may not have cheated yet but if you keep being friends with him you will." Beatz warned him.

Kurt stopped abruptly, turned to look at Beatz, and crossed his arms in aggravation. "Bastian is not trying to seduce me, he is not trying to steal me away, and I am not going to cheat on Blaine with him. You can't keep punishing him for what happened last year. He hasn't done anything wrong and it isn't fair of you to jump to conclusions like that."

"Well it's kind of hard not to when you know what someone's capable of. You may know the story but you don't know him, Kurt. You didn't witness what actually happened." Beatz said firmly.

"I do know him and he's not that guy anymore!" Kurt argued. "It hurts that you don't trust me not to cheat. I thought you knew me but obviously you don't. If you did then you wouldn't be accusing me of being naïve enough to fall for his games, not that he's playing any games to begin with!"

"You don't understand-"

"Oh I understand. You're letting his past indiscretions and your imagination fabricate something that doesn't exist. You're delusional if you think that I would ever do something like that and it's fucked up that you won't believe me." Kurt stormed off in aggravation and headed to rehearsal.

Kurt refused to acknowledge Beatz during rehearsal and all during school that next day. He was furious that Beatz didn't have enough trust in him to believe him. Yes he knew that things probably looked suspicious but that didn't mean that it was true. Kurt wouldn't break the trust Sebastian had in him and tell Beatz why they were so secretive. It wasn't his place to share Sebastian's feelings for Thad and there was no way that he was going to tell Beatz about the recent dreams. He may have been comfortable enough with Beatz to share other details of his life but the dreams were something that only Sebastian understood.

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Beatz couldn't let it go however. It wasn't that he didn't trust Kurt. It was that he didn't trust Sebastian. He still remembered what happened the year before. He remembered the problems they caused for everyone and he remembered how badly it all ended. He couldn't let that happen again. He couldn't sit back and let Blaine and Kurt get hurt by Sebastian's games. That's why come Thursday afternoon, he took it upon himself to warn Blaine.

"Blaine, we need to talk." Beatz said seriously.

"Is everything alright?" Blaine asked in concern.

"No, it's not." Beatz said shaking his head. "Has Kurt talked to you about Bastian?"

"No. Why would he?" Blaine asked confused.

"I think...I think Sebastian's back and I'm pretty sure he has his eyes set on Kurt." Beatz told him. "What? Don't be ridiculous." Blaine said chuckling.

"I'm being serious, Blaine. Haven't you noticed how close they've become? How secretive they are?"

"Well, yeah but that doesn't mean anything. Bastian's the only one that really understands where Kurt's coming from, he's the only who's experienced rape. I'm not surprised that they've become so close. That doesn't mean that he's trying to steal Kurt away from me."

"Blaine, I saw them holding hands in the library yesterday." Beatz told him. "What?"

"Yeah. I watched Bastian reach over to hold his hands and Kurt didn't stop him. I'm not saying that Kurt is cheating, but you might want to ask him what's going on." Beatz said firmly.

"Look, I appreciate you telling me this but I'm sure it's just your imagination." At least I hope it is. "I know what I saw, Blaine. Just talk to Kurt, ok?"

"Sure, Beatz."

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Blaine did not want to think that Kurt was cheating on him. He did not want to think that Sebastian was trying to steal him away. After his talk with Beatz, however, it was all he could think about. It would make sense if Kurt liked Bastian. He's a good looking guy and he's pretty nice. Not to mention that he knows how it feels to be raped. I may know how it feels to feel lost and hopeless, but I'll never have that connection with Kurt. What if Kurt doesn't need me anymore? What if he's moved on to Bastian because he understands him better? Blaine's thoughts were consumed by doubt and after a little while, he was convinced that Kurt probably did have feelings for Bastian.

It wasn't until Friday evening that Blaine confronted Kurt about it. While Kurt hadn't acted any differently towards him, he didn't miss the smirks that he and Sebastian gave each other during the day. He didn't want to ask if something was going on, especially since Kurt would be leaving that next morning for holiday break while he stayed at Dalton. He didn't want to end up in a fight with Kurt and he didn't want Kurt to think he didn't trust him. He loved Kurt. He hadn't told him yet but he loved him and just the thought of losing him made his heart shatter. Between that and Beatz' warning running through his head, he couldn't help himself. He needed to know. They were sitting together in the common room, snuggled up next to each other when Blaine started the conversation.

"Are you all packed for tomorrow?" Blaine asked as he tried to figure out the best way to ease into the conversation.

"Yeah. I just need to pack a few more toiletries but that's it." Kurt replied. "I actually need to call Finn and to double check when he's coming to get me." He said as he went to take his phone out.

"Actually, could you wait before you call him?" Blaine said a little too quickly.

"Um...sure." Kurt said slowly. "Is something wrong?"

"No, nothing's wrong. I just...I wanted to ask you something...about Bastian."

"What about him?" Kurt asked curiously. I swear to God if this going where I think it's going I'm going to be pissed!

"Well...I was just wondering if he...has he...what I'm trying to say is...has he..." - 146 -

"Spit it out, Blaine." Kurt said irritably.

"Has he hit on you?" Blaine asked quickly.

"Hit on me?" Kurt asked flatly.

"Yeah. You've been hanging out with him a lot lately and I just..."

"Want to know if I'm cheating on you?" Kurt snapped.

"No!" Blaine said quickly. "I don't think you're cheating on me. Bastian's just-"

"Just what? Been a good friend to me? Given me advice? Helped me when I needed him? Oh yes, he's a real dog isn't he?" Kurt said sarcastically.

"I didn't say that, Kurt." Blaine said softly.

"You don't have to, Blaine. I know that you guys don't trust him after what he pulled last year but I can't believe that you actually think I would cheat on you!" Kurt said standing up angrily.

"It's not that, Kurt." Blaine said desperately. "It's just...Beatz told me that he saw you guys holding hands in the library yesterday and I can't help but wonder. I'd get it if you'd rather be with him then me. He gets you better than I do and I just...I don't want to lose you."

"Are you even listening to yourself?" Kurt asked, his eyes filling up with tears. "No one gets me like you do, Blaine. Bastian may have gone through what I've been through but that doesn't mean that he gets me better. I can't believe you actually think that I would just drop you like that and be with him? It's bad enough that Beatz doesn't believe me but the fact that you don't just...I can't even look at you right now." Kurt walked off angrily, ignoring Blaine's call out to him. I'm going to kill Beatz! I'm going to straight up kill him! I can't believe this! This is crap! How could Blaine not trust me? How could he actually think Bastian gets me better than he does? Doesn't he have faith in me? In us? Kurt stormed into the room, slammed the door behind him, and huffed angrily. He then pulled his cell phone out and called Finn.

"Hey, Kurt. I can't really talk right now." Finn said instantly.

"Oh. Ok." Kurt said dejectedly. "You're still picking me up in the morning, right?" - 147 -

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"Yeah, yeah. I'll be there." Finn replied quickly.

"Alright. I'll talk to you tomorrow then." Kurt said sighing. "Alright, bye." Finn replied and hung up.

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Kurt wiped the few tears that streamed down his face and crawled into his bed. What am I supposed to do? I can't tell Blaine that the reason Bastian was holding my hand was to comfort me. If I do then I'll have to tell him about the conversation and I can't do that. Talking to Bastian about the dreams was hard enough. I can't tell Blaine. I'm not ready to have that conversation with him yet. I can't tell Beatz either, he wouldn't get it. I can't tell them about Bastian's feelings for Thad either. It's not my place. I just can't believe that Blaine actually thinks that I don't want to be with him. I love Blaine, I really do. Why did this have to happen now? Why did this have to happen at all?

Kurt's mind was suddenly consumed with doubt. What if Blaine didn't want to be with him anymore and was using Bastian as an excuse? What if Blaine was ready for more from their relationship but since he hadn't made a move Blaine decided that it wasn't worth it? What if Blaine was bored of him already? I knew it was too good to be true. I knew it wouldn't last. When Blaine walked in the room a few minutes later, his heart sank when he saw that Kurt was crying. His instant reaction was to comfort him but stopped when Kurt said a broken 'don't' to him. He doesn't want me to hold him? Shit! How the hell did I screw this up so quickly? Blaine sighed dejectedly before crawling into his own bed for the night, letting his own set of tears fall.

While Kurt was going through his turmoil, Finn was quickly heading over to Puck's house. He could tell that Kurt was upset and wanted to talk and he felt bad for hanging up on him so quickly but he was supposed to be at Puck's house so they could discuss what Artie and Mike had found out about Karofsky. When he finally got there, the New Directions were dying to hear what Artie and Mike had to say.

"Alright so you all know that Mike and I have been staking out Karofsky's house every day since Quinn started dating him." Artie told them.

"We weren't exactly sure what we were looking for until the mystery man showed up." Mike said.

"What mystery man?" Finn asked.

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"Every time that Karofsky's father is working late, this man comes over to Karofsky's house. He's there for an hour and then he leaves. We've seen it happen about 20 times in the past month and we have theory." Mike told them.

"What's the theory and please tell me it's good. I can't stand pretending to be his girlfriend. Do you have any idea how disgusting I feel every time I kiss him?" Quinn asked with a shudder.

"We know Quinn and we appreciate you taking one for the team." Mike said softly. "Our theory is that Karofsky is hiring this man to sleep with him." Artie told them. "Like a prostitute? Are you sure?" Mercedes asked.

"We think so. The man is always only there for an hour exact, he's always wearing leather black pants, and his hair is always sexified once he leaves. I know it sounds a little far-fetched but if we're right, destroying Karofsky isn't going to as hard as we thought." Mike pointed out.

"Ok so let's say that Karofsky is getting his freak on with some hooker, how do we prove it?" Santana asked.

"Quinn, you're supposed to be going on a date with him in an hour right?" Artie asked her.

"Don't remind me." Quinn said with an eye roll.

"Well, I know for a fact that Karofsky's dad is going to be at a business meeting with my dad, meaning the house will be empty. We were thinking that Puck could get us in. We'll hide some cameras in his room and see if we can get anything." Artie suggested.

"That's pretty risky, guys. Are you sure you want to do that?" Tina asked. "We're sure." Mike nodded.

"Alright then, let's break into some houses." Puck said smiling mischievously.

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While Quinn went on her date with Karofsky and the New Directions waited in Puck's house, Puck, Artie, and Mike broke into Karofsky's house. Puck waited outside standing watch while Mike and Artie quickly went to work. The first thing that Artie noticed was the fact that Karofsky had a webcam on his computer.

"I just got a really good idea." Artie whispered to Mike.

"What is it?" Mike asked as Artie began hacking into Karofsky's computer.

"We can put the cameras up for back up, but if we can catch him live? I'm going to see if I can connect his webcam to my computer, that way I can turn it on from there. If he really is having sex with this guy, then I could link it to everyone and they'll see him doing it. He'll get caught red handed. It's perfect!" Artie exclaimed.

"Oh that is a good idea!" Mike agreed. "Alright you do that, I'll get these cameras set up." It only took Artie and Mike fifteen minutes to set everything up. All they had left to do was wait until the timing was just right for them to bring Karofsky down.

Neither Kurt nor Blaine had slept much that night. It was the first time in close to three months that they'd slept in their own beds and neither one had realized just how much they depended on each other to sleep. Blaine stayed up thinking of all the ways that he could talk to Kurt without it turning out into a fight. He really didn't want to think that there was something going on between Kurt and Bastian but his insecurities were getting to him. Kurt stayed up thinking how stupid he was for believing that Blaine would want to stay with him in the first place. His own insecurities were talking loud and clear and by the time the morning came around, Kurt was convinced that Blaine was only with him out of guilt. They didn't talk all the while Kurt got ready to leave. Both had too much to say and neither knew where to start. When it was time for Kurt to leave, he finally said something to Blaine.

"I'm not cheating on you and Bastian isn't trying to steal me away." He said quietly. "I hate that you think that. I hate that you don't trust me."

"I do tru-"

"No, you don't. If you did then you never would've accused me. I know my friendship with Bastian is a little weird but I promise you it's not what you think."

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"Kurt, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to accuse you, I just...I don't know what to think." Blaine said quietly.

"Maybe...maybe this break will be good for us. We can think about what is we want or don't want from this relationship. I care about you, Blaine. I really do but...I don't know how I can be with someone who doesn't trust me. I don't...I don't want you to be with me because you feel like you have to be or out of guilt either."

"Kurt." Blaine said brokenly.

"I have to go, Finn's waiting. I'll talk to you later." Kurt said quickly and walked out of the room before Blaine could stop him.

Blaine sat there in shock for a few minutes as Kurt's words rang through his head. He couldn't believe what he'd just heard. He couldn't believe that Kurt thought he was only with him out of guilt. This is was not how their winter break was supposed to begin. When he heard a knock on the door, he quickly stood up to open it, hoping that it was Kurt coming back with some excuse about forgetting something. When he opened it, he was surprised to see that it was Sebastian.

"Bastian?

"Hey, Blaine. I think you and I should talk."

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Progress

Blaine stepped aside in order to let Sebastian in. He wasn't sure what Sebastian was going to say to him but he hoped that it was nothing bad. They stood there in an awkward silence for a few moments until they heard a quick knock on the door. Sebastian took it upon himself to open it, knowing full well who it was. He let Beatz enter the room, who glanced at Blaine questionably. Blaine merely shrugged and turned his attention to Sebastian who sat down on the edge of Kurt's bed. Beatz and Blaine sat across from him on Blaine's bed and waited for him to talk.

"I know you guys don't trust me and after the crap I pulled last year, I don't blame you." Sebastian told them quietly. "But you have no reason not to trust Kurt. He hasn't done anything wrong and he's not cheating on you, Blaine."

"Then why all the secrets? Why were you holding hands in the library?" Beatz asked immediately.

"We were holding hands because we were talking about Karofsky and I was comforting him. As far as the secrets, he knows something about me that no else does. That's why we're always whispering to each other. It's also why we argue so much." Sebastian told them with a small laugh.

"What does he know that the other Warblers don't?" Blaine asked curiously.

Sebastian took a deep breath, glanced back and forth between Blaine and Beatz, and cleared his throat before telling them. "I'm...I'm in love with Thad and Kurt's been trying to help me come clean with my feelings." He said in one breath.

Beatz' and Blaine's jaws dropped at Sebastian's confession. They both had come up with their own theories as to why Sebastian and Kurt had been so secretive the past two months and neither one were expecting that. Especially Blaine since he knew for a fact that Thad had feelings for Sebastian as well.

"You...you're in love with Thad?" Blaine asked in shock. "For how long?" "Officially or unofficially?" Sebastian asked with a chuckle.

"Both." Beatz told him.

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"Officially...since last year's intervention. Unofficially...I don't know...the first day we met?" Sebastian said shrugging.

"You're kidding?" Blaine asked, his eyes wide in surprise.

"Nope. I always liked him, even when I was being a douchebag. There was something so pure and innocent about him that made me not pursue him but...I've always had feelings for him. After the intervention I realized that the reason I never tried with him was because I was in love with him. I uh...I tried telling him a few times but never found the courage to do it. The only reason Kurt knows is because he caught me staring at Thad one day and he confronted me about it."

"I just...I can't believe you're in love with Thad." Blaine said laughing lightly. He thought of all the times he, Thad, Nick, and David talked about Thad's feelings for Sebastian and he couldn't get over the fact that Sebastian felt the same.

"I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions, Bastian." Beatz said softly. "I was just-"

"Worried that I'd try and steal Kurt away from Blaine?" Sebastian said smirking. "I know. I don't blame you for thinking that, honestly. You should have more faith in Kurt though, both of you. Kurt would never have fallen for my games. He's too smart for that. He's also madly in love with you, Blaine. You're an idiot to think otherwise."

"Did he...did he say that?" Blaine asked thickly.

"He didn't have to, just like you don't have to say it for me to know that you're in love with him too. I spend a lot of time watching people, Blaine. Believe me when I tell you that you are Kurt's world." Sebastian told him truthfully.

"And now he's pissed at me for not believing him." Blaine said dejectedly, his shoulders slumping in the process.

"I think he's more hurt than pissed to be honest. Give him some time to clear his head than call him. He needs to know that not only do you believe in your relationship but that you believe in him." Sebastian told Blaine sincerely before turning his attention to Beatz. "And you just need to not talk to him. He's mad as hell at you so I suggest you wait until he comes to you. I'm going to call him in a little while and tell him that I spoke to you guys but that's all I can do."

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"Thanks, Bastian. I...we really appreciate that." Blaine said with a small smile. "As far as Thad goes-"

"Don't go there." Sebastian said quickly. "Please I...I'm going to tell him when school starts back up again

just...please don't say anything."

"Ok." Blaine said as Beatz nodded in agreement.

"Thanks. I'm going to head out and finish my Christmas shopping. I'll see you guys later." Sebastian told them as he stood up.

"Later, Bastian." Beatz said with a nod before he walked out of the room. He them turned his attention back to Blaine who was staring off into space. "You ok?"

"Yeah, I just...I should've believed Kurt. We should've believed Kurt." Blaine said pointedly.

"I know. I'm sorry for starting all this. I just didn't want to see you guys get hurt." Beatz said sheepishly.

"I know. You're a good friend, Beatz. You were only doing what you thought was right." Blaine said sincerely.

"Thanks. Now I gotta get Kurt to not be pissed at me. He's scary when he's angry." Beatz said seriously.

"That he is." Blaine said smiling fondly. "I actually need to get one more thing for him for Christmas. Do you want to catch up with Bastian and head to the mall with him?"

"Yeah, sure." Beatz said shrugging. They quickly made their way out of the room, catching up to Sebastian just as he was heading out of the door and together the three left for the stores.

Kurt was only in the car with Finn for about ten minutes before Finn asked him what was wrong. Finn could tell that something was bothering Kurt and Kurt had been so happy lately that it worried him. Kurt wasn't exactly in a talking mood however so he ignored Finn's initial question.

"Come on, man. You called me yesterday to talk so talk to me now. What's up?" Finn asked curiously after

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a few minutes of silence.

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"It's nothing, Finn." Kurt said flatly as he looked out the window.

"No, dude!" Finn said suddenly. "Don't do that. Don't shut me out. You promised you'd talk to me if something was wrong, so talk. Is there someone messing with you at Dalton?"

"No, Finn. It's nothing like that." Kurt assured him.

"Then what is it?" Finn asked him irritably.

"It's boy trouble, ok?" Kurt snapped at him.

"Oh." Finn said surprised. "Is Blaine like...pushing you to ya know...do stuff?" "No. He'd never do that." Kurt said sighing.

"Ok, then what is it? You can tell me, man." Finn told him seriously.

"It's just..." Kurt started to say but stopped and sighed heavily.

"It's just what?" Finn asked him curiously.

"Well, there's this senior Warbler, Bastian, and we've gotten pretty close lately, and Blaine thinks that I'm cheating on him now." Kurt told him sullenly.

"Oh." Finn said, his eyebrows furrowing together. "You're not though, right?" "Of course I'm not." Kurt replied rolling his eyes.

"Why does Blaine think that?" Finn asked him confused.

"Because Bastian has a history of stealing other guy's boyfriends and Beatz has been watching us this past couple of months and he told Blaine that he thought that Bastian was trying to steal me away from him." Kurt said in irritation. "But he's not at all. He has feelings for one of the other Warblers and I've been trying to get him to come clean. I'm the only one who knows so most of the time we're whispering in a corner about it."

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"And Beatz assumed it was because you're cheating on Blaine?" Finn questioned.

"Yeah. I haven't talked to Beatz since Wednesday and Blaine and I got into an argument last night and again this morning." Kurt said sadly with a sigh.

"Why don't you just tell Blaine what you and Bastian have been talking about?" Finn asked as if it was the simplest answer.

"Because it isn't my secret to tell, Finn." Kurt shrugged. "Bastian's been in love with this guy since last year. The only reason I even know is because I caught him staring and I confronted him about it. I'm not going to break his trust and tell Blaine. I can't do that."

Finn tilted his head to the side and continued driving in silence for the next few minutes before asking more questions. "You said that Bastian has a history of stealing other guy's boyfriend's right?"

"Yeah but he's not the guy anymore. Something really bad happened last year due to his sleeping around with and the Warblers had to do this intervention with him. He hasn't done anything since then but Beatz and Blaine won't believe that he's innocent. I get that they still don't trust him but they're not trusting me either and it's really hurtful." Kurt told Finn angrily. "I would never cheat on Blaine. Blaine's been absolutely incredible and I hate that he won't believe me."

"Maybe he's just scared to lose you, Kurt." Finn said shrugging. "Maybe it's not that he doesn't trust you as much as it's that he just doesn't trust him."

"I know but still." Kurt said in frustration.

"You should talk to him, dude. If Blaine makes you happy then isn't that worth fighting for?" Finn asked him seriously.

"Yeah, it is." Kurt said quietly. "I just...how could I be with someone who doesn't trust me?"

"So that's it? You guys have one disagreement and he gets jealous one time and you're giving up already?" Finn asked in surprise. "That doesn't really sound like you, Kurt."

"I'm not giving up, Finn!" Kurt snapped angrily. "I'm just hurt. I'm allowed to be hurt you know!" - 156 -

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"Ok, ok, I know." Finn said sheepishly. "Just don't like...break-up with him without really talking about it first. I've never seen you as happy as you are whenever Blaine's involved. I'd hate for you to start being sad again."

Kurt looked over to Finn to see that Finn was genuine in his statement. "Yeah...I guess you're right." Kurt said sighing. Finn smiled proudly to himself, happy that for once he was able to give Kurt sound advice. Kurt didn't talk again after that but he did feel better about the situation. He knew that had he been in Blaine's position that he probably would've thought the same thing. In fact, he was sure that he would've gone all diva-Kurt on Blaine which would've inevitably made the situation worse. He would have to talk to Blaine and straighten things out. He just hoped that Blaine would believe him this time around.

Kurt's day at home had been a pretty good one considering his morning had started out so rocky. The first thing he did when he got home was clean out his room. He would be home for a month and there was no way that he was going to allow the temptation to be there. It took him an hour to find all the razors he had hidden in his room. He then cleaned and reorganized his closet. It had been a long time since he wore any of his designer clothes and he actually missed it. Once his room was cleaned out and reorganized, he made a few phone calls to his McKinley friends, he wrapped a few presents, and finally ended his afternoon by cooking dinner with for his family. He hadn't talked to Blaine since that morning and despite their disagreement, he really missed him.

He was sitting on his bed, fumbling with the phone as he tried to convince himself to call Blaine. He nearly jumped off his bed when his phone rang loudly in his hand and startled him. He expected it to be Blaine and was both surprised and slightly disappointed when he saw that it was Sebastian.

"Hey, Bastian." Kurt answered the phone, his disappointment apparent in his voice.

"Hey, Kurt. You ok?" Sebastian asked him curiously.

"Yeah, I'm ok." Kurt said shrugging. "What's up?"

"Nothing really. I just wanted you to know that I talked to Blaine and Beatz today." Sebastian told him

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sighing.

"Oh?" Kurt said in surprise. "What did you tell them?"

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"I told them that I'm in love with Thad and how you're trying to get me to tell him. I also told them that the reason we were holding hands in the library was because we were talking about Karofsky." Sebastian said straight to the point.

"Bastian, you didn't have to tell them all that." Kurt said quietly, feeling guilty about the fact that Sebastian had to tell them his secret.

"Yes, I did, Kurt." Sebastian said firmly. "I couldn't let them think that you were cheating when you weren't."

"Yeah but now they know about Thad." Kurt pointed out.

"That's ok. They would've found out eventually so I figured I might as well tell them now and clear your name in the process." Sebastian told him truthfully. "Have you talked to Blaine yet?"

"No, not yet." Kurt replied sadly. "I don't know what to say."

"Just let him know that you don't hate him. You've been gone not even a day and he's miserable without you. If you aren't ready to talk to him then fine, but at least text him. He's been moping in his room like...all day." Sebastian told him seriously.

"Really?"

"Really. Talk to him."

"Yeah, ok. I'll...I'll text him now. Thanks, Bastian."

"No prob, Kurt. I'll talk to you later." Sebastian said before hanging out.

Kurt fumbled with his phone for a few minutes before deciding to call Blaine instead of sending a text. The phone only rang twice before Blaine answered it.

"Kurt?" Blaine said dejectedly. "Hey, Blaine." Kurt replied quietly.

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"Hey." Blaine said softly. "How was your first day at home?"

"It was good. I uh, I cleaned my room out and got rid of all my old razors. I don't want the temptation there, ya know?" Kurt said as he laid down on his bed.

"That's really great, Kurt. I'm so proud of you for taking that step." Blaine said sincerely.

"Thanks, Blaine. I wouldn't have had the strength to do it if it weren't for you." Kurt told him genuinely.

"Oh, Kurt..." Blaine said, his voice thick with emotion. "Kurt, I'm sorry for not believing you. I had no right to assume that you were lying and I had no right to blame Bastian. I just...I don't want to lose you, Kurt. I...I really care about you and just the thought of you having feelings for someone one breaks my heart and I just can't imagine not being with you. I can't imagine not having you next to me every morning when I wake up. And I'm not with you because I feel guilty or anything like that, I'm with you because...because I love you!" Kurt's jaw dropped open as Blaine continued on his rant. "There, I said it. I love you, Kurt. I think...I think I've loved you since the first day we met and I just...I don't want to be with anyone else. I don't want you to be with anyone else. When Beatz told me his suspicions I couldn't help but feel insecure and I'm really sorry about that."

Kurt sat there silently for a good while as he tried to wrap his head around the fact that Blaine just told him that he loved him.

"Kurt?" Blaine said slightly broken as the panic of what he said set in. "Did you just...you love me?" Kurt asked him in shock.

"I...I do, Kurt. I love you." Blaine repeated it genuinely.

"Blaine..." Kurt said quietly as he started to cry.

"No, no please don't cry!" Blaine said in a panic.

"I'm sorry. I've just...I've never had anyone love me before and I just...I love you, too Blaine." Kurt said softly.

"You...you do?" Blaine asked in surprise.

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"Well, yeah. How could I not, Blaine? You've been so amazing about everything and I...I can't help but love you."

"I'm so glad to hear you say that." Blaine said with a small chuckle of relief. "Can we just...not fight ever again?"

"I'd love that." Kurt replied with a light laugh.

They spent the rest of the evening talking and sharing sweet words with one another. Kurt meant to stay upset with Blaine longer. It really did bother him that Blaine hadn't trusted him. When he actually started talking to him, however, his heart melted like it always did when it came to Blaine. Not to mention that Blaine told him he loved him and that was something Kurt was sure he'd never hear. It warmed his heart that Blaine felt the same way he did and he was determined to make it work.

Later that night, Kurt dreamt the same dream he'd been having for the past week and woke up feeling both frustrated and disgusted. He hated that Karofsky kept poisoning his mind. He wanted to enjoy his life, he wanted to enjoy his relationship. More than anything, he wanted, needed Blaine to touch him. He knew he would have to do what Sebastian told him but that didn't mean that he wasn't apprehensive about it. Maybe if I see Blaine then do it right after it'll be easier. He decided right then that he would go back up to Dalton the next day to see his boyfriend. It seemed a little silly to drive two hours there then two hours back just to so he could get some alone time with Blaine but he didn't care, he just wanted to be with him.

Kurt was expecting his dad to make a big ordeal about him driving himself to Dalton for a few hours that Sunday but was pleasantly surprised when Burt said it was fine. Burt knew that the school was Kurt's safe haven and he knew that that Blaine meant a lot to his son. If that meant Kurt taking the truck just to go back to Dalton for a few hours then so be it. Kurt hadn't told any of the guys who stayed behind that he was coming back up so when Nick and Sebastian saw him walk into the school, they were both immediately concerned.

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"Is everything ok?" Nick asked him worriedly.

"Yeah, everything's fine. I just...I wanted to see Blaine." Kurt admitted as a slight blush crept up on his

cheeks.

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"You couldn't even go a day on break without seeing him." Sebastian teased as she shook his head. "What can I say?" Kurt shrugged laughing. "Where is he?"

"The last time I checked he was in his room reading." Nick told him.

"Ok. Don't tell him that I'm here. I need to talk to Beatz first." Kurt said sighing.

"Oh! Do I get to hear angry Kurt?" Nick asked a tad too enthusiastically.

"Sure, if you really want to." Kurt snapped.

"No, no, never mind." Nick said sulking back, making Sebastian laugh.

"I didn't think so. Now if you boys will excuse me, I have a beatboxer I need to yell at and then a boyfriend to make-out with. I'll see you later." Kurt told them smirking and walked away.

Kurt walked straight over to Beatz' room, knocked hard, and then crossed his arms as he waited for Beatz to open the door.

"Kurt?" Beatz said in surprise. Kurt said nothing. He simply pushed past Beatz, walked into the room, and looked at Beatz intently. "I'm assuming you're here to yell at me?" Beatz asked sheepishly. When Kurt didn't answer but kept his gaze on Beatz, Beatz went into his frantic mood. "Ok look, I'm sorry for being nosey, I'm sorry for jumping to conclusions, and I'm sorry for telling Blaine." Kurt still hadn't said anything so Beatz continued. "I'm serious, Kurt. I really am sorry. I'm sorry for not believing you either. I was wrong and I deserve whatever you decide to dish out." Kurt stayed silent as he continued to glare at Beatz. "Will you say something?! Yell at me, call me an idiot, slap me, something! Just stop staring at me like that, please?!"

Kurt took a short breath, walked over to Beatz so they were only a few inches away, and kept his eyes locked with Beatz'. "Next time I tell you something, believe me. I wouldn't lie to you Beatz and I'd appreciate it if you kept that in mind." Kurt said with an intensity that made Beatz want to cower.

"I will, I swear." Beatz said with a frantic nod.

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"Good. Now if you'll excuse, I have a lovely boyfriend who needs my attention. I'll talk to you later." Kurt told him and walked out of the room without another word.

Kurt then walked over to his and Blaine's room, waited outside for only a moment before opening the door slowly. He expected to find Blaine sitting at his desk reading but instead found him curled up in Kurt's bed with his iPod. He couldn't help but think just how adorable Blaine looked with his ungelled hair and Dalton sweats. His eyes were closed so he didn't see Kurt walk into the room. He did feel the bed shift beneath him, grinning wildly when he opened his eyes to see Kurt maneuvering himself next to him.

"What are you doing here?" Blaine asked him curiously as he removed his headphones.

"I missed you." Kurt replied simply before leaning in to kiss Blaine.

Blaine cupped Kurt's face and kissed him tenderly, enjoying the warmth Kurt's body was radiating. Between the dream Kurt kept having and the drama he dealt with the past few days, he couldn't help but want to bring his body closer to Blaine. Kurt scooted closer to his boyfriend, placing his hand on Blaine's hip before darting his tongue experimentally. Blaine gasped in surprise and Kurt took the opportunity to stick his tongue inside Blaine's mouth. When they're tongues collided, the world around them stood still. Neither boy had ever experienced such intense kissing before and it was absolutely mind-blowing. Kurt became a little more daring and slowly sucked on Blaine's lower lip, eliciting the most delicious, most erotic sound Kurt had ever heard. Blaine in return bit lightly on Kurt's lip, granting him an unintentional moan from Kurt.

"Blaine." Kurt said breathily, breaking the kiss.

"I'm sorry. I got carried away." Blaine said as he tried to catch his breath.

"No, don't be. God, don't ever be sorry for doing that. That was...just wow. Besides, I started it." Kurt told him laughing lightly. "We should stop though...before we get too far."

"Yeah, th-that's probably a good idea." Blaine said as he backed away slightly. "Did you come all this way

just to kiss me?" he teased.

"Pretty much." Kurt said with a giggle. "I love you, Blaine." He said shyly. - 162 -

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"I love you, Kurt." Blaine replied softly before attaching his lips onto Kurt's once more.

Knock, Knock. "Hey, guys did you...never mind." Kurt and Blaine looked up at the door to see Sebastian

leaning against the doorway with a mischievous grin. "Yes, Bastian?" Kurt asked with slight annoyance.

"I just wanted to see if you wanted to watch a movie with us but by all means, please continue." Sebastian said, tilting his head to the side.

"Don't be such a perv and stop watching us." Kurt quipped.

"Sorry. It's not my fault you two look hot all wrapped up like that." Sebastian teased.

"Bastian, just go." Blaine said, laughing in embarrassment.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. You two are no fun." Sebastian said laughing as he walked out and closed the door behind him.

Kurt rolled his eyes as he turned his attention back to Blaine. "Did you want to watch the movie with them?"

"Well, that was the plan before I was so wonderfully interrupted by my amazing beautiful boyfriend." Blaine said sweetly as he lightly kissed Kurt's neck.

Kurt moaned softly as Blaine left loving kisses on his neck. "W-we should go out there. I-I don't...trust us right now."

"You don't?" Blaine asked both surprised and a little saddened.

"Well...yeah. I've only been gone a day Blaine and all I want is to touch you, for you to touch me." Kurt admitted shyly. "But I'm not ready...I can't...I can't take that step yet."

"I understand." Blaine said softly as he pushed Kurt's hair back. "Let's go watch that movie then." - 163 -

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By the time Kurt got back home, it was merely minutes before dinner was ready. His family could see a significant difference in Kurt's attitude from the day before and that morning and it astounded them that a simple trip to Dalton would bring so much life back into him. Once dinner was over, Finn asked Kurt to play some video games with him which he did so reluctantly. He really wanted to go upstairs and into the privacy of his shower but Finn's puppy face won out in the end. The trip to Dalton had definitely been a successful one. After his brief make-out session with Blaine and his admittance to wanting to be touched, his mind couldn't stop thinking about it. After a couple of hours of video games, Kurt told Finn that he was tired and hurried upstairs to his room.

As soon as he was in the room, his mind went into overdrive. He was finally alone to do what he knew he needed and instead of feeling scared like he initially thought, he was excited. He locked his bedroom door before heading over to his bag and grabbing Blaine's body wash. Kurt had become accustomed to switching Blaine's body wash when it was empty so when he realized that Blaine needed a new bottle soon, he stole the almost empty one and replaced it like he always did. Blaine didn't question it and Kurt got what he needed.

He turned the shower on, undressed himself, and got into the bathtub. He cleared his mind completely as he lathered the body wash in his hands. He inhaled deeply, his senses becoming overwhelmed in Blaine's scent. As images of Blaine filtered into his brain, he slowly washed his body. His hands made their way south, lightly rubbing up against his half erection, making an appreciative moan escape his mouth. He wasn't worried like he thought he would be nor was it as hard as he thought it would be. Blaine's body wash was sending his senses into their own euphoria as the thought of Blaine rubbing his chest entered his mind. Blaine's hand slowly trailed up and down Kurt's body, tentatively tracing Kurt's nipple. Blaine's hand then traveled south, grabbing Kurt's now throbbing cock gently.

"Blaine." Kurt moaned quietly, leaning his body against the shower wall.

His hand started a slow but steady pace as thoughts of Blaine controlled his every emotion. His pace quickened as slow and steady suddenly stopped being enough. Kurt thrashed his head back and forth as he imagined Blaine kissing his neck fervently. The thought of Blaine's mouth wrapped around his length suddenly became very vivid, making Kurt moan once more.

"Shit! Blaine!" Kurt moaned into the shower as the need to come became too overwhelming. A few more strokes later and Kurt was coming hard into his hand, his thoughts completely engulfed in Blaine.

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Once he had finished coming, he laughed a little hysterically at himself. He couldn't believe that he had actually done it nor could he believe that it had gone so well. He was sure he would freak himself out in the process but hadn't. He washed himself quickly, not realizing the smile that was plastered on his face. He got himself dressed in his pajamas, unlocked his bedroom door, and fell unto his bed completely at ease. Within a few minutes he fell asleep, his thoughts still lingering on Blaine, and his heart feeling lighter than it ever had.

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Getting Better

"Blaine, please." Kurt moaned softly as Blaine gently squeezed his ass, all the while leaving loving kisses on his neck.

"Please what, baby?" Blaine asked him just above a whisper. "What do you want me to do?"

"Please, just...touch me." Kurt replied breathily.

Blaine looked up at Kurt, wanting to make sure that Kurt knew what he was saying. Kurt locked eyes with him, his lust blown gaze conveying trust and assurance that yes, he did know what he was saying. Blaine leaned forward, brushing his lips against Kurt's before talking.

"I love you." he whispered, their eyes still locked with each other.

"I love you." Kurt replied softly, throwing his head back in pleasure as Blaine's hand slipped into his boxers

and around his throbbing erection.

Blaine woke up abruptly, sweating profusely, and painfully aware of the problem in his pajama pants. Shit! That was...oh my God! Blaine sat up in Kurt's bed, both surprised that his mind had come up with such a dream and undeniably aroused at the thought of having Kurt say his name like that. It was the first sexual dream he'd had in years and it was plaguing his mind like locusts. He couldn't stop hearing Kurt moan his name, he couldn't stop seeing Kurt flustered with his pink cheeks and disheveled hair, and he couldn't stop thinking about how amazing Kurt's skin would feel underneath his fingertips. Oh, this is bad! This is so bad! He also couldn't stop from chastising himself for having such thoughts. Kurt was nowhere near ready for that kind of relationship and he should not be fantasizing about all the things he would do just to hear Kurt moan his name. He attempted to shake the thoughts out of his head before deciding to get up and head for the shower in order to take care of his problem.

Once he was clean, both physically and mentally, Blaine got dressed for the day and made his way down to the house kitchen just in time to see Sebastian lunge across the table at a laughing Beatz.

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"Uh, hi guys. What's going on?" Blaine asked the boys curiously.

"Beatz doesn't know how to keep his damn mouth shut!" Sebastian snapped angrily as he allowed Nick and Wes to pull him back.

"Um...ok..." Blaine said unsurely as he grabbed himself a bowl of cereal.

"I don't know what the big deal is. It's not like Wes didn't already know so technically I only told one person." Beatz said smirking, ignoring the glare that Sebastian was giving him.

"What are we talking about here?" Blaine asked as he sat down at the table.

"We're talking about how Bastian is in love with Thad." Nick said with a bright smile, glancing sideways at Blaine since they knew all too well that Thad was in love with Bastian too.

"I see." Blaine nodded chuckling. "How did you know?" he asked Wes.

"I'm Wes. I'm all knowing." Wes replied proudly.

"Yeah, well, whatever." Sebastian said irritably. "You guys have to promise not to say anything! Please!"

"I've known for years, Bastian. I promise not to tell a soul." Wes assured him.

"You know me. I never tell anyone's secret." Nick told him pointedly.

"Same here." Blaine said with a mouthful of cereal.

"I already got it out of my system so I'm good." Beatz said smirking.

"You can't keep a secret your damn life. You better not tell Thad or I swear I will punch the shit out of you." Sebastian said firmly, pointing his index finger at Beatz.

"Oh, I wouldn't dream of it." Beatz replied sarcastically.

Sebastian groaned in frustration as he started to slam his head down on the table. Beatz and Nick laughed

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for long among the Warblers and Sebastian knew that. Thad was sure to find out about his feelings soon enough and he wasn't sure if he was ready after all.

"So, what are the plans for today?" Nick asked the group as he stood up from the table to get another cup of coffee.

"Today is lazy day!" Beatz replied excitedly.

Every year, the Warblers that stayed behind during the holidays followed the Warbler rules of holiday break which included but was not limited to snowball fights, game tournaments, movie marathons, and cleaning house. It was their way of staying connected and enjoying the holidays without the sadness or worry of family.

"Actually today is clean house day." Wes corrected him, making the others groan in disapproval. "Oh, come on guys, clean house day is the best!"

"Yeah, maybe for you." Beatz said sullenly into his hands. "You're the only one who likes to clean."

"It's not that I like to clean, it's that I get to find all the cool shit you idiots lost during the year." Wes told him matter-of-factly. "Now come on, we have a lot to get done today." The boys groaned once again but did as Wes told them, hoping that they could come up with a way to get out of it.

When Kurt woke up that morning, he was in the best mood he could ever remember being in. He hadn't had any nightmares that night, he slept in for the first time in ages, and he felt great, truly great. He would usually lie in bed for a little while after waking up but he was too energized to do that. After just a few minutes, he got out of bed and made his way downstairs, only to find the house completely empty. He knew his dad and Carole would both be working but he had expected Finn to be there. He walked over to the kitchen to get himself some coffee and food and found a note from Finn letting him know that he would be with Puck all day. He sighed a little sadly as he made his coffee and thought about all the things he could do. After his cup of coffee and some cereal, he decided to clean. He connected his iPod to the family iHome in in the living room, put the music on full blast, and went to work.

It took him roughly three hours to clean the entire house top to bottom and he still felt amazing. For much too long, he forgot what it felt like to be happy, to be free, and thanks to Dalton, he was finally starting to

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remember. He had danced and sang loudly with no fear as he cleaned, not once remotely worrying about anything. He was feeling like his old self again and he knew that it was all because of Blaine and the Warblers. As he did his final dusting of the entertainment center in the living room, he lowered the music, pulled his cell phone out, and called Blaine.

"Hello, beautiful." Blaine answered the phone sighing.

"Hello, gorgeous." Kurt replied with a huge grin. "How are you this fine day?"

Blaine could tell that Kurt was in extraordinary mood and it saddened him that he was not there to witness it. "Ok, I guess. Wes is making us clean the house." He told Kurt sullenly.

"I'm not making you. It's tradition!" Kurt heard Wes shout in the background.

"Oh, that is just too, too bad. I was hoping that my wonderful boyfriend would be free to come over since I'm home all by my lonesome." Kurt said disappointedly with a hint of amusement, knowing full well that Blaine would try and sneak away.

"Oh, well when you put it like that, I guess I could try and get away for a little while. We wouldn't you want you to be lonely." Blaine said mischievously, thinking of all the ways that he could leave.

"If you're leaving to see Kurt then I'm coming with you!" Kurt heard Beatz yell in the background.

"Me too!" Sebastian shouted.

"Anderson, you are not going anywhere!" Wes yelled sternly.

"But, Wes, Kurt's home all alone! I can't just leave him!" Blaine whined to Wes and Kurt was positive that Blaine was doing his best pouty face.

"Give me that phone!" "No! Stop it!"

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Kurt laughed as he heard Wes and Blaine fighting for the phone and the guys hooted and hollered in the background. "Kurt, you cannot call Blaine and disrupt tradition. I'm sorry that you are home alone but he is not going anywhere." Wes told him firmly, ignoring the shouts of protests from Blaine.

Kurt was going to attempt to argue with Wes but decided that bribery would probably get him better results. "Now, Wes, I understand that you want to stick to tradition but maybe you could skip on it just for today? If you and the guys come over here, I'll bake a special batch of cookies just for you."

"Really?" Wes asked instantly.

"Really. Just tell me what your favorite is and I'll have them done by the time you guys get here." Kurt told him slyly.

Wes stayed silent for a few minutes as he thought about the pros and cons of accepting Kurt's offer. "Ok, you have a deal. But I want 2 dozen macadamia nut cookies."

"Deal." Kurt replied happily.

"Alright, Warblers, you have exactly fifteen minutes to get ready or I'm leaving for Kurt's without you!" Kurt heard Wes say distantly.

"How did you convince him to do that?" Blaine asked in shock.

"I offered him cookies." Kurt replied smiling. "So, I'll see you in a couple of hours?"

"Yes, yes you will." Blaine said, grinning widely as he headed back to his dorm.

"Good. I'll see you soon." Kurt said excitedly before hanging up. He turned the music back up, switched his playlist, and headed into the kitchen to bake.

Kurt had finished baking Wes' cooking plus some regular chocolate chip ones for the other guys with just enough time to take a shower and get dressed. He was far too tempted by the rest of Blaine's body wash not to use it again, which inevitably led to him taking care of himself. Once he was clean and satisfied, he did a quick but thorough skin cream regimen, he fixed his hair like he used to, and dressed in his favorite

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pair of skinny jeans and his favorite matching top. He had just finished doing a once over when he heard the doorbell ring. He quickly made his way over to the front, smiling excitedly as he opened the door for his friends.

"Hey, guys."

It took the Warblers a moment to respond because it was the first time they had ever seen Kurt dressed in anything other than the Dalton uniform or sweats. Kurt stood there smiling, letting them gape at him, and knowing how surprised they must be to see him in such a fashionable manner. Beatz was the first to say anything as he tried to wrap his head around what he was seeing.

"Who are you and what happened to the real Kurt Hummel?"

"I'll have you know that this is the real Kurt Hummel." Kurt replied matter-of-factly. "Now get your asses inside, you're letting all the cold in." Kurt moved to the side to let the guys in, closed the door behind and walked over to the kitchen. "These are for you." he said to Wes as he handed him his cookies. He then walked over to Blaine, who was still gaping at him, while Nick, Beatz, and Sebastian started eating the chocolate chip cookies he had set out. "Hi." He said sweetly.

"H-hi." Blaine stammered. "You look...great." He said gulping as his eyes traveled up and down Kurt's body.

Kurt stepped closer to Blaine, wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck, and leaned over to kiss his cheek softly. "Thank you." he whispered into Blaine's ear.

Between what Kurt was wearing, the close proximity, and the breath that lingered on his neck, Blaine couldn't help but shudder slightly as Kurt kissed him just underneath his ear. Blaine took a deep a breath to calm himself down, catching a whiff of his own body wash. "Did you use my body wash?" he asked Kurt suspiciously.

Kurt turned a slight pink at the question, glancing over at Sebastian who was watching him knowingly. "Maybe." He replied nonchalantly.

Blaine had to bite his lower lip in order to stop the small moan that threatened to escape his lips. His thoughts instantly went to Kurt's naked body using his body wash. He cleared his throat as he pulled Kurt closer so that their bodies were pressed together. A part of him was screaming that he was being too

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forward but the way Kurt was looking at him made him feel like he was being dared to do something about it, making his hormones take over his logic. "What are you playing at?" he asked Kurt lowly.

"I guess you're just going to have to find out." Kurt replied a lot more seductively then he had intentioned.

"Is there a real reason why we're here or was it just an excuse to watch you two eye fuck each other?" Beatz asked, his mouth full of cookies.

"Hey, I'm not complaining." Sebastian said jokingly.

"Bastian, shut up." Kurt said rolling his eyes. "And yes, there's a real reason Beatz. I was hoping we could go to the mall. I know it's crazy with people doing last minute Christmas shopping but it's been a while since I've actually bought any new outfits."

"The mall sounds like a good idea." Nick said nodding.

"You're just saying that because you don't want to go back to school and clean." Beatz said laughing.

"No, I'm saying that because Kurt is obviously doing better and we should help him on his road back to himself." Nick said defensively.

"And?" Sebastian said smirking.

"And...I don't want to clean." Nick admitted quietly, avoiding Wes' glare. "What do you say Wes? Shopping trip?" Kurt asked with a hopeful smile.

Wes glanced at the guys for a moment, his eyes landing on Kurt as he opened up the Tupperware of cookies. He pulled a cookie out, closing his eyes and moaning softly as he took a bite, and then nodded. "Yeah, ok. Let's go shopping."

The boys quickly learned that shopping with Kurt was not at all what they had expected. It was the first time Kurt had gone shopping in months and he was determined to make up for lost time. When they first arrived, Kurt was a little reluctant to go in, despite it being his idea. Blaine had assured him that

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everything would be fine and after about fifteen minutes of walking around, a switch in Kurt's mind flipped. Before the guys could realize it, Kurt was all over the place, looking for the best sales. He was no longer the sad, damaged boy who initially arrived at Dalton but he was once again Kurt Hummel, diva and fashionsta extraordinaire. It didn't matter that the mall was jam packed with people doing their last minute Christmas shopping; diva Kurt was in full force and nothing could stop him from pushing his way through all the crazy.

The boys followed him in both confusion and amusement as Kurt snapped at the strangers in his way. He spent only a short while in the first store, deciding that there was nothing there worth the hassle. He repeated the same steps at the next five stores he visited: he'd walk in with determination, he'd walk his set pattern around the store to see what was on the racks, he'd stop every so often to contemplate a piece of clothing, and then he'd leave in frustration. None of his usual stores were satisfying his desire for new clothes and it was starting to really piss him off.

"This is absolutely ridiculous!" Kurt complained to Blaine as they left the sixth store.

"Are you looking for something specific or?" Blaine asked him curiously, thankful for the crowded stores

so he able to walk extra closely to Kurt without any odd looks.

"I'm looking for high fashion, Blaine and apparently every single one of my favorite stores has decided that they are no longer understand what true fashion is." Kurt replied irritably.

"Hey, what about that store?" Sebastian suggested, pointing to a new store that had only opened up in the past month.

Kurt looked over to where Sebastian was pointing, immediately noticing the stylish mannequins on display. Without a word, Kurt cut through the crowd and headed for the new shop, his boyfriend and friends following close behind. In a matter of minutes, Kurt had clothes piling up in his arms to try out. Wes had asked him if he needed any help at one point and soon regretted offering it when he became Kurt's clothing rack.

"Exactly how did I end up being the one that holds all your clothes?" Wes asked him flatly as he sifted through the shirts in Wes' arms.

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"Yeah but shouldn't Blaine be the one doing this? He is your boyfriend." Wes pointed out sighing. "And where the hell did the guys go anyway?"

"Beatz and Sebastian ran away from me when I tried picking clothes for them to wear and Nick and Blaine are allowing me to dress them. Thus another reason why you are currently my clothes rack." Kurt told him as he grabbed a different set of shirts.

"So wait, am I holding clothes for Nick, Blaine, and you?" Wes asked in disbelief.

"You sure are." Kurt replied with a bright smile. "Thanks, Wes."

"Unbelievable." Wes said shaking his head as Kurt walked away towards the dressing rooms.

Sebastian, who was doing his own shopping, saw Beatz at the entrance of the store with an intent and angry expression on his face. "Hey, what's up?" Sebastian asked him curiously. Beatz only response was a nod making Sebastian follow his line of vision. "Who's that?" he asked confused when he saw that Beatz was having a staring contest with a burly football player.

"Karofsky." Beatz snarled.

Sebastian stiffened at the name instantly. "That's him, huh?" "Yeah, that's him." Beatz said through gritted teeth.

Karofsky glared at Beatz from across the mall, daring him to start something but Beatz stayed put. He shifted only slightly when he noticed Sebastian standing with Beatz. They stayed like that for another five minutes or so until Wes, Nick, and Blaine came to tell them that Kurt was finally done and checking out. Karofsky assumed that Kurt was with them as well even though he hadn't seen him. With the five Warblers all staring at him angrily, he finally scoffed and walked away. He was pissed that he hadn't seen Kurt, even if just to scare the crap out of him. He hated how Kurt made him feel. He loathed how desperate he became for him. As he walked off, he pulled his cell phone out and quickly dialed a number.

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"Yes?" the voice on the other end said sounding bored.

"I need to see you tonight." Karofsky told him.

"You still owe me for last time, Dave." The man replied.

"I know, I know! Just fucking meet me, ok? I'll have the money." Karofsky growled into his phone.

"Don't worry about the money. I'm sure we can come up with a different alternative of payment." The man said seductively.

"Ugh! Fine! Just come over tonight!" Karofsky snapped, hating how desperate he sounded. "Temper, temper. I'll be there."

Kurt ended up dragging the guys to three other stores where he spent a significant amount time trying on clothes and dressing his friends. By the time they were done shopping, Kurt bought almost an entire new wardrobe plus several items for all five of the guys. They were all exhausted, with the exception of Kurt who felt liberated, and swore that they would never go shopping with Kurt again. By the time they arrived back at Kurt's house, Burt, Carole, and Finn were already home. Carole was in the kitchen cooking dinner while Burt and Finn were watching TV together. Kurt walked into the house happily, carrying several bags, followed by the guys who were also carrying numerous bags each.

"Hey, kiddo. Good day?" Burt asked him as he walked past, eyeing all the bags in the process.

"Great day!" Kurt replied as he continued to his room.

"Maybe for you." Beatz grunted, making Burt and Finn laugh. They knew all too well what shopping with Kurt was like and if the amount of bags was any indication then they could only imagine how tired the guys must really be.

As soon as all the bags were set down, the boys said their goodbyes to Kurt and walked out, desperate to get back to Dalton where they could finally relax. Blaine stayed behind for a few extra minutes in order to give Kurt a proper goodbye, which resulted in a quick make-out session.

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"I really don't want you to go." Kurt said softly against Blaine's lips. "I feel like I barely had a chance to really spend time with you today."

"I know, me too." Blaine replied sadly. "We won't see each other again until after Christmas." "Don't remind me." Kurt replied rolling his eyes. "I miss you."

"I miss you, too." Blaine said sighing.

"Anderson, let's go! I want to go to bed!" they heard Beatz shout out to them.

"I guess you better go." Kurt said sullenly.

"Yeah, I guess." Blaine replied pouting.

Kurt leaned forward, captured Blaine's lips, and kissed him passionately. He really wanted Blaine to stay. He wanted Blaine to stay and he wanted Blaine to touch him like he'd been fantasizing. He knew that if he asked he could stay the night at Dalton but he knew that if he stayed at Dalton, he would act on his desires. He also knew that he wasn't quite ready for that though. Instead, he decided to let Blaine know.

"I need to tell you something." Kurt said shyly.

"What is it?" Blaine asked curiously as he rubbed small circles on Kurt's lower back.

"Remember how I told you how I wasn't ready for...you know...anything physical?" Kurt asked, biting his lip.

"Yeah." Blaine said slowly.

"Well, I'm not but...maybe once school starts back up...we could...you know...explore a little more." Kurt said quietly, as he trailed his fingers down Blaine's chest.

"Y-yeah?" Blaine stammered nervously. "Yeah, if you want." Kurt shrugged slightly.

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"Yes!" Blaine answered quickly. "I mean, if you want to start trying new things then I'm more than willing to try with you."

"I do." Kurt told him nodding. "I can't let what happened prevent me from taking that step with you. I want to take this slow but I definitely want to move forward."

"I'd really like that." Blaine replied softly before kissing Kurt once more.

"Seriously, Blaine! It's not like you're never going to see him again! Let's go!" Beatz shouted. "He's coming!" Kurt yelled back. "Hold your damn horses!"

"Kurt, language!" Burt called out.

"Sorry, dad." Kurt called back out. "I'll walk you out."

Kurt walked Blaine back downstairs, ignoring the tired glares he was receiving from the guys, gave Blaine one final goodbye kiss, and let the guys go back to Dalton. He then made his way back to his room in order to start reorganizing his closet. All of the clothes he bought were for the new and improved Kurt who would make its first official appearance at Nick's New Year's Eve party. He was done hiding and he was done being scared. It was time for him start being himself again and he was determined to start the New Year right.

Later that night, Finn got a phone call from Puck calling an emergency meeting. He waited until he was sure that his family was asleep before sneaking out. When he got there, the New Directions were in a frenzy over what could possibly be wrong. Puck settled them down and gave Artie the floor to tell everyone what they had discovered.

"Puck and I were sitting outside Karofsky's house when that guy showed up again. I hacked into his webcam and ya'll ain't gon' believe what we saw."

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"Not exactly." Artie said shaking his head. He then pulled his laptop out and showed them what they had found.

Karofsky wasn't hiring a prostitute like they originally thought, he was buying drugs. The glee club watched in shock as they saw Karofsky do a line of cocaine off his end table. Once the drugs were taken and put away, the mystery man and Karofsky started talking.

"I can't believe he's doing that!" Rachel said in a shrill voice.

"Can't you?" Santana quipped. "After what he did to Kurt, nothing he does is going to surprise me."

"Wait, I thought you said that he didn't hire a prostitute." Mercedes asked, her eyes still locked on the screen. Karofsky and the mysterious man had stopped talking and we now making out.

"He didn't." Puck told her. "We kept rewinding it and watching their mouths when they were talking and I guess Karofsky owed him money so he paying with sex instead."

"Shit just keeps getting better and better don't it?" Santana asked in frustration.

"So what now?" Tina asked, looking away from the laptop since they started to undress each other.

"I don't know." Artie said, turning the video off. "I know the plan was to link everyone to his webcam and bust him like that but this changes things. We have some real incriminating information but I'm not sure how to go about it now." The glee club sat silently for a little while, thinking of the best way to bring Karofsky down.

"I got it!" Brittany said excitedly.

"You have an idea?" Puck asked her sarcastically.

"Yep, and it's good too." she replied smiling.

"What is it, Britt?" Santana asked her curiously.

Brittany's smile widened as she stood up in the middle of the room. "Ok, here's what we do."

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

Merry Christmas

That following week went by fairly quickly for Kurt. He spent time with his old friends, he went to the shop with his dad a few times, and he talked to Blaine several times throughout the day. It was nice to be home but he really did miss being at Dalton. In those days, he also became more and more comfortable with his body as he explored himself. What started out as something to try in the shower turned into so much more as the days went on. His nightmares had been replaced by dreams of Blaine which resulted in him waking up in the middle of the night with the need to take care of himself. At one point, he had called Sebastian to gripe at him for not warning him that exploring himself would lead to the constant desire.

"This isn't funny, Bastian!" Kurt had told him irritably. "You never told me that this would make me so...you know!"

"What? Horny?" Sebastian replied laughing. "I thought that was kind of a given, Kurt. I didn't know I was supposed to warn you."

"Of course you were! This is me we're talking about! Stop laughing! This is not funny! God, Bastian! I even went out and bought his damn body wash just so I could smell him when I...you know!"

"Ok listen, it's great that you're getting more comfortable with the idea of having sex with Blaine," Kurt couldn't help but blush at the words sex with Blaine and even through the phone he could tell that Sebastian was smirking mischievously. "But if you can't even say the word masturbate then how do you expect to take that next step?"

"I...um..."

"Say it, Kurt. Mas-tur-bate."

"Really, Bastian?" Kurt asked exasperatedly.

"Really. Say it." Sebastian implored seriously.

"Ugh! Fine!" Kurt groaned in frustration. "Masturbate. Happy?"

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"Ok, now say, 'I masturbate to thoughts of my super-hot boyfriend Blaine.'" Sebastian had instructed him.

"Bastian!" Kurt whined in his pillow.

"Come on, say it. You wanted my help with this so this is me helping. Say it, Kurt." Sebastian said seriously.

Kurt took a quick breath and gulped audibly before repeating the words. "I masturbate to thoughts of my super-hot boyfriend Blaine."

"Good, now say, 'I want to have sex with Blaine." "I will not!" Kurt replied quickly.

"If you can't even say that sentence than you shouldn't even be contemplating having sex with him in the first place." Sebastian said firmly.

"But...I..." Kurt stumbled on his words as he tried to come up with an excuse as to why he didn't need to say it.

"Stop being scared and say it. Set yourself free." Sebastian told him softly.

Kurt closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and let the words come out. "I want to have to have sex with Blaine." As soon as he finished the sentence, his face broke out in a huge grin.

"There we go!" Sebastian said proudly. "Was that so hard?" he then asked in a baby voice.

"Don't patronize me, Smythe!" Kurt snapped at him. "You're just jealous because I have a boyfriend while you're still pining over Thad."

"I'm going to tell him, ok?! God, Hummel! Quit hounding me about it!" Sebastian had replied in frustration.

"Oh no! A deal's a deal! If I have to talk to you about all my desires for Blaine then you have to talk about your love for Thad. Just because you don't want to talk about it doesn't mean that the feelings are going to go away." Kurt had said firmly and just like that, their entire conversation had flipped around.

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Kurt had never expected to become such good friends with Sebastian but he was really grateful for it. He was grateful that he had someone who understood rape and he was grateful to have someone to talk to about Blaine. While his other friends would be there for him had he ever needed to talk, he didn't feel comfortable with them when it came to that topic. Because of their similar pasts though, Kurt knew that Sebastian would know where he came from with his concerns. Because of their pasts, they would stay friends for many years to come.

Back at Dalton, the Warblers were following traditions to the last detail during that week. They had their snowball fight, an all-day movie marathon, a huge scavenger hunt, lazy day, and an epic hide-and-seek game that included not only the Warblers, but all the boys who stayed behind plus the staff and the dean. There was no question about it; Dalton was most definitely not your average school. From day one of the school's opening, the boys were taught that being different was a good thing, if not the best thing.

Movie marathon day was the Warblers favorite day because it meant that they got to pig out on junk food all day while watching Christmas classics such as all the Home Alone movies, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Gremlins. Gremlins was always the last movie they watched and it was also Beatz' least favorite.

"Man, I hate that stupid furry little monster." Beatz mumbled through gritted teeth.

"What?! How could you hate Gizmo?" Blaine asked in shock. This was the first year that he had stayed at

Dalton for the holidays so it was the first time hearing about Beatz' hatred for the creature.

"That thing is evil! Pure, unadulterated evil!" Beatz told him firmly.

"How could you say that? He's adorable!" Blaine said seriously.

"He is not!" Beatz said angrily. "You pour water on him and then demons spawn from his back! You're deluded if you think that's adorable!"

"Now wait just a minute-"

"Blaine, don't bother." Wes cut in. "He has an irrational fear of mogwai."

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"It's not an irrational fear! It's a totally legitimate reaction to tiny creatures with sharp ass fangs and claws that kill you!" Beatz all but shouted. "And if I have an irrational fear it's because of David and Trent!"

"What do they have to do with this?" Blaine asked bemused.

"You haven't heard of Project Baby Andrew?!" Nick asked, his eyes wide in surprise. "I thought everyone knew that story."

"What's Project Baby Andrew?" Blaine asked them curiously.

"Only the funniest thing to ever happen in the walls of Dalton I'm sure." Sebastian said laughing.

"Two years ago, Trent and David had this brilliant idea to buy Beatz a mogwai toy for Christmas." Wes told him as the Nick and Sebastian continued to snicker.

"It was supposed to help me overcome my fear of the nasty little thing." Beatz said sarcastically. "Yeah, except it was all a set up." Sebastian said shaking his head.

"What do you mean?" Blaine asked him.

"Well, they also bought a gremlin toy and some over the counter sleeping pills. They laced his food with the pills, and later that night when he was passed out, they replaced the mogwai with the gremlin." Wes said laughing.

"They didn't just replace it; they put that damn toy on my pillow! On my pillow, Blaine! I woke up that next morning with it right in my damn face!" Beatz said exasperatedly.

"You should've seen him, it was so funny! He ran out of his room screaming at the top of his lungs that it was alive and it was out to get him." Nick said still laughing.

"Yeah, he ran into the kitchen to look for a knife to kill it but of course there aren't any real ones because well, it's Dalton. He panicked and started crying and I mean, he was sobbing like a baby! It was the funniest thing I've ever seen." Sebastian laughed whole-heartedly.

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"It was horrible, dude! I was absolutely terrified!" Beatz said sullenly.

"You didn't let it go though, did you? Did you ever get them back?" Blaine asked him curiously.

"I got Trent back that next day. I went into his room at like, 2 in the morning and filled it with like, 100 toy snakes. He screamed like a banshee that next morning." Beatz said proudly.

"Yeah, but he didn't cry." Sebastian pointed out teasingly. "Shut up, Bastian." Beatz said as he threw a pillow at him. "What about David?" Blaine asked him.

"I'm still working on that." Beatz replied sighing.

"Don't worry, Beatz. I'm sure you'll get him back someday...maybe..." Nick said unsurely. "Does David even have any fears?"

"You know, I don't think he does." Sebastian replied thoughtfully.

"He does." Wes and Blaine said simultaneously.

"Really? What is it?" Beatz asked excitedly.

"Uh...I forgot." Wes said as he glanced at Blaine. They were the only ones who knew about David's fear of spiders and they had been sworn never to tell a soul.

"Yeah, me too." Blaine said quickly.

"Bullshit! Come on, tell me!" Beatz pleaded. "Can't. Forgot. Sorry." Wes said looking away.

"So how bout that movie." Blaine then said with a nervous chuckle as he turned his attention back to the movie. Beatz glared at them for a moment but didn't say anything. Now that he knew that David did indeed have a fear, he had every intention on finding out. It would only be a matter of time.

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Christmas Eve had been an emotional day for Kurt. It was their first Christmas together as a new family and while he wanted to incorporate Carole and Finn's holiday traditions with theirs, he was having a hard time letting his mother's traditions go. It was little things at first; the way the stockings were hung or how the presents were placed under the tree. His father convinced him that it really didn't matter and in the end, they found new ways to do it that suited everyone. But as the day went on and dinner preparations started, he refused to even consider the thought of not using his mother's recipes. It turned into a fight between him and his dad which resulted in him locking himself away in his room for the rest of the day. He knew that he was being childish and he knew that he was being unfair but he didn't care. He loved Carole and Finn, he really did, but he wouldn't let his mother's traditions die. He couldn't.

Once dinner was done, Burt demanded that he come back downstairs and eat with his family. He did so reluctantly and made sure to glare angrily at Finn who just stood there scared and confused. When he walked into the dining room, he was shocked to see that Carole followed his mother's recipes and set the table exactly how she used to. When he asked her why, she simply told him that she didn't want him to feel like she was trying to take over; she just wanted to be a part of his traditions too. He felt really bad after that for the scene he had made. Christmas was supposed to be about family and he went and acted like a child over the fact that he hadn't gotten his way at the time. He apologized to her, thanked her for the work she put into it, and then told her that they could do things her way that following year. Once the air had been cleared, they ate their first Christmas Eve dinner together, which turned out absolutely delicious, and then spent the evening watching a movie.

Their Christmas day started off with them opening their gifts, they then played a few board games, and they ended the night watching old home movies, which was a Hudson tradition. Despite the drama Kurt caused himself, he had a good Christmas and was glad that it was finally over because it meant that he got to go to Dalton that next day to see Blaine. The Warblers had exchanged gifts before they went on vacation but he and Blaine waited to exchange theirs until after Christmas. Kurt had done a lot of searching and deal making to get Blaine's gift and he couldn't wait to see the look on his face when he opened it.

Kurt woke up bright and early the day after Christmas. He took his time getting ready, making sure that he looked amazing for Blaine without going over the top; he was saving that New Year's. He dressed himself in one of his favorite old outfits, he styled his hair just right, and wrapped himself in the new coat and

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scarf he bought earlier in the week. Burt had allowed him to take the truck to Dalton with the promise that he would return before nightfall so he left as early as could so he had more time to spend there. When he got to Dalton, he quickly grabbed Blaine's gift along with the New Directions collage Finn made for him, and headed up to his room. He knocked softly on the door before opening it, only to find Blaine still asleep in his bed. He smiled to himself as he set his things down and then sat in the edge on the bed before leaning down and kissing Blaine softly on the slightly stubbly cheek.

"Blaine, wake up." Kurt said quietly.

"Hm." Blaine groaned.

"Blaine, honey, wake up." Kurt said a little louder.

"Dontwanna" Blaine mumbled.

"Fine, I guess I'll just go." Kurt said sighing heavily as he made his way to get up. "No. Cuddle." Blaine then said, grabbing Kurt and attempting to make him lie down. "Blaine." Kurt whined laughing. "Come on, sleepy head. Wake up, please?" "Cuddle." Blaine said louder, tightening his grip on Kurt's waist.

"We can cuddle later." Kurt replied as he brushed a few curls out of Blaine's face. "Right now I want you to wake up so that I can kiss you." Blaine puckered his lips in response making Kurt roll his eyes. He leaned in and kissed him but quickly pulled away. "You can't open your super amazing gift if you wake up."

Blaine sighed and yawned as he opened his eyes. "Morning, beautiful."

"Morning, handsome." Kurt replied smiling. "Now up. Get that cute tush of yours out of bed."

Blaine chuckled softly as he sat up, rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, and looked at Kurt lovingly, finally taking in his appearance. "You look amazing I'll have you know."

"Thank you." Kurt said blushing at the compliment.

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Blaine leaned forward, kissed Kurt chastely, before getting off the bed to grab Kurt's gifts. He then sat down next to Kurt and handed him two boxes; a small one and a regular sized one. "The small one was kind of a last minute gift but it made me think of you so I got it."

Kurt smiled softly at him before grabbing Blaine's gift and giving it to him. "Open yours first." "Why can't we just open them at the same time?" Blaine asked bemused.

"Because I want to see the look on your face when you open it." Kurt replied smiling.

Blaine chuckled lightly as he unwrapped the present. When he opened the unmarked box, his eyes widened in shock. "Kurt! Where did you get this?" Kurt had gotten him a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which had no difference to the American version other than the title itself. Kurt knew that Blaine would appreciate it though since he was such a huge fan.

"Open it." Kurt said, biting his lip in anticipation.

Blaine quickly opened the book and on the front page was J.K. Rowling's autograph. "Holy crap! Is this real?"

"Of course it's real! I'm kind of insulted you'd think otherwise." Kurt said playfully. "Do you like it?"

"Like it? Kurt, I love it! It's amazing! Thank you!" Blaine said happily. "It goes great with what my grandmother got me."

"What did she get you?" Kurt asked curiously.

"A set of Harry Potter wizard's chess." Blaine replied with a toothy grin. "Now open yours, but open the small one first."

Kurt smiled as he opened the small package. "Blaine, it's beautiful." He said softly when he saw the figurine. It was a pale skinned elf with light brown hair, blue eyes, and it was sitting with its back against a tree. When Kurt took it of its box, he saw that it had a wind up on the side. He wound it up and smiled adoringly when the delicate music played. "It's lovely. Blaine. Thank you."

"You're welcome." Blaine said smiling brightly.

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Blaine watched Kurt carefully as he opened the other present. He had planned that present since their first date and he was anxious to see what Kurt thought. Kurt gasped in surprised when he saw that the gift was a photo album. The cover had a picture of them cuddled together underneath their tree and their names were etched on top in a heart. Kurt took the book out slowly and opened it to find that the album was already full of pictures from their first date.

"Blaine." Kurt said in a whisper as tears welled up in his eyes.

"I had Beatz and Nick take the pictures for us." Blaine told him. "That's why they drove you out there together."

"Blaine, this is amazing. Thank you." Kurt said as he looked up at him. "Merry Christmas, Kurt."

"Merry Christmas, Blaine." Kurt leaned over and captured Blaine's lips in a quick but passionate kiss. "I love you so much. You have no idea how much I love you."

"I think I do." Blaine replied playfully. "I love you, too."

They set their gifts down and started kissing tenderly for the next while. It had been way too long in both of their opinions since they had spent time together and they were both desperate for the other's touch. When their kisses became more heated and Blaine attempted to move Kurt closer in, Kurt stopped the kiss and backed away slightly. He wanted to talk to Blaine about an idea that he had and he needed both his consent and opinion.

"Could we talk for a minute before we end up making out for the next hour?" Kurt asked him nervously. "Yeah, of course. Is everything ok?" Blaine asked in concern.

"Yeah, yeah. Everything's fine." Kurt assured him. "I just...I wanted to run an idea past you."

"Ok. What's up?" Blaine asked curiously.

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"Well, Nick told me that there would drinking at his New Year's Eve party and I was thinking that maybe you and I could drink a little bit, just enough to loosen us up, and then maybe we could like...sneak away from everyone and just...be together." Kurt said cautiously.

"Be together how exactly?" Blaine asked, although he was fairly sure he knew what Kurt was getting at.

"You know, be together. I'm not talking like...full on...intercourse, but maybe we could do some exploring?" Kurt suggested.

"You want us to drink and then fool around?" Blaine asked slightly perturbed. "Kurt, I don't...I don't want to do that."

"You don't?" Kurt asked quietly.

"No." Blaine replied firmly. "Why would you think that I would?"

"I...I don't know. It was just a suggestion. Never mind, the whole thing is stupid anyway." Kurt said quickly, feeling rejected and idiotic for even bringing it up.

"Kurt." Blaine said softly.

"No, no, it's fine. I'm fine." Kurt replied a little shakily. "I'm going to go say hi to the guys." He said as he got up from the bed.

"Kurt, wait." Blaine said quickly as he got off the bed to walk over to him. "Please, don't go. Let's talk about this."

"What's there to talk about? You don't want to do it. It's fine." Kurt said shaking his head. "Kurt."

"I said it was fine, Blaine. I get it, ok? You don't...see me in that light. Why would you anyway? After what Karofsky did-"

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"Isn't it?" Kurt asked quietly.

"No, of course it isn't!" Blaine assured him. "Come here." He grabbed Kurt's hand and walked him back over to the bed to sit down. "Kurt, I love you and I do want to take that step but not like that. I'm surprised that you want to."

"I just...I figured that if I drank a little I wouldn't be so scared to try." Kurt admitted shrugging.

"Ok, I guess I can see the logic behind that but what's going to happen the next time we try things out? Are you going to be able to do it or are you going to need to be tipsy? Drinking and sex is never a good combination, Kurt. Especially if it's the first time you've actually ever done anything. Besides, I don't want alcohol to be the reason you were courageous enough to let me touch you. I want to be the reason."

"It's not because you don't find me sexually attractive?" Kurt asked in just above a whisper.

"Not sexually-are you kidding me?" Blaine asked exasperatedly. "Kurt, you are the sexiest guy I've ever

met and you don't even have to try!"

"Really?"

"Really." Blaine assured him. "I've always been honest and open with you so I'm going to let you in on my dirty little secret." He said with a nervous chuckle. "I've uh, I've been dreaming about you, about us having sex for a few weeks now and trust me when I tell you that I really want to, Kurt. I want it to be right though. I want you to be comfortable enough with me to do it. I couldn't fool around with you while you were intoxicated and not feel like I used you, even if it was your idea. I want us to be sober and safe and 100% sure before we do anything. I don't want you to have to rely on alcohol for anything, Kurt. That's how alcoholics are born."

"Yeah...ok." Kurt said nodding. "You're right, it was a stupid idea. I'm sorry."

"There's no need to apologize, sweetheart. No harm done." Blaine replied softly as he lightly caressed Kurt's cheek.

"So...you've been dreaming about us?" Kurt asked shyly.

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"Want to know a secret?" Kurt asked with a mischievous smirk. "Sure." Blaine replied slowly.

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"I've been dreaming about us too. It's actually why I've been using your body wash." Kurt admitted, biting his lower lip as his cheeks turned a bright pink.

"Wait...you've been using my body wash and doing what exactly?" Blaine asked curiously with a devilish look in his eyes.

Kurt's blush deepened as he moved him closer to Blaine so that he could whisper in his ear. "I've been using your body wash so that I can smell you while I masturbate."

"Y-you...ok." Blaine said in shock. "And uh, what exactly do you think about when you do this?" he asked lowly, letting the stubble on his face brush against Kurt's smooth skin.

Kurt shuddered slightly and gulped audibly before answering. "I imagine that it's you touching me." He whispered. He couldn't believe that he was having this conversation with Blaine but couldn't help but continue as his arousal took over. "I imagine your strong yet soft hands running down my body and I imagine you kissing every inch of me."

"Do you...do you say anything while you do this?" Blaine asked as he traced a single finger up Kurt's thigh.

"I call out for you." Kurt told him truthfully.

"Shit." Blaine groaned. "Ok...we need to stop talking about this."

"What if I don't want to?" Kurt asked seductively. He had no idea where the sudden courage came from but decided to go with it. He leaned over just a tiny bit more and nipped at Blaine's earlobe.

The next thing they knew, they were laying back on the bed, making out heavily, and letting their hands grope each other. There was a part of Kurt that was telling him to slow down but the way Blaine was touching him and the way Blaine was lightly sucking at his pressure point on his neck pushed the logic aside. All he wanted, all he needed was for Blaine to never stop what he was doing.

"Blaine, please." Kurt moaned softly as Blaine squeezed his ass. - 190 -

"What is it, baby? Do you want me to stop?" Blaine asked breathily. It didn't matter to Blaine that he was undeniably and painfully hard. All that mattered was that Kurt trusted him and he would never do anything to break that trust.

"What?! God, no!" Kurt said quickly. "Don't ever stop!"

"Please what then?" Blaine asked as he moved his head to look at Kurt. "Tell me what you want." "I want...I want you to touch me." Kurt told him, taking a deep breath to calm himself.

"Are you absolutely sure?" Blaine asked him. "I mean, we just talked about all this and I don't you want you to feel pressured into doing anything. This is completely up to you, Kurt. I will go as slow and you need me to."

"I know that, Blaine. I know that you would never pressure me into anything and I know we just had this conversation but...I want this. I'm 100% sure. Just...please, touch me." Kurt said again, a little more desperate then the first time.

Blaine closed the gap between them and kissed Kurt gently as he slowly moved his hands to the front of Kurt's pants. He continued to kiss him as he unbuckled them slowly, making sure to take his time, not wanting to scare Kurt. In a swift but gentle motion, he slid his hand into Kurt's boxer and wrapped his fingers around Kurt's throbbing cock.

"Blaine!" Kurt moaned unashamedly into the kiss.

Blaine started off slow, taking his thumb over the head and spreading the pre-come down Kurt's erection. He started sucking lightly on Kurt's pressure point as he pumped, relishing in the sounds that escaped Kurt's lips. Kurt was unaware of everything around him. The only thing he was conscious of was Blaine and how amazing it was to finally be touched by him. Blaine was so attentive and so loving with his movements that Kurt was sure he was going to lose his mind from the mere pleasure of it all. Envisioning Blaine while he masturbated was nothing compared to the real thing. Blaine sped up his movements as Kurt's breath became more ragged. The sounds that were escaping Kurt brought Blaine close to the edge and he needed to hear more. Without any warning, Blaine moved down and took Kurt's length into his mouth.

"Holy fucking shit! Blaine!" Kurt moaned loudly, throwing his head back and griping the sheets. - 191 -

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Blaine removed Kurt's erection from his mouth, realizing that he hadn't even asked Kurt if it was ok and instantly panicked that it was all too much for Kurt to handle. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that without asking." He said guilty.

"Are you kidding me?!" Kurt asked exasperatedly. "What you shouldn't have done is stop! Please, Blaine!"

Blaine couldn't help but chuckle softly before taking Kurt's length back in his mouth. He bobbed up and down slowly at first, letting Kurt get used to the new sensation. Kurt thrashed beneath him, wanting more, needing more. He subconsciously bucked his hips forward, making Blaine gag in surprise.

"Sorry. Sorry." Kurt said quickly, realizing what he had done.

Blaine only response was to take Kurt's entirely in his mouth. He hummed softly as he reached down for his own erection, needing to release. The moans and pants that Kurt was creating nearly sent him over the edge and he knew that he wouldn't last long. He sped up once more, humming to the rhythm of Kurt's moans; he could tell that Kurt wasn't going to last long either.

"Blaine! Oh my-shit!" Kurt moaned loudly as he felt the new but familiar coil in his abdomen. "Blaine, I'm going to-"

Kurt didn't finish his sentence as he came hard into Blaine's mouth. Blaine took in as much as he could but was distracted by his own orgasm. He continued to blow Kurt as he came into his hands, wanting to make sure that Kurt was completely taken care of. When Kurt stopped writhing beneath him, he released his length with a loud pop. Before the sleepiness he was sure to follow arrived, Blaine crawled out of the bed, and walked into the bathroom to get a towel to clean them off with. Kurt lay motionless as Blaine cleaned off the remaining come, trying to wrap his mind around what had just happened. When Blaine was done, he flopped himself down on the bed next to Kurt and Kurt instantly started laughing.

"That was...wow." Kurt said more to himself than to Blaine. "Way, way better than any dream."

"I'll second that." Blaine replied sighing. Blaine turned his head to look at Kurt just as Kurt turned his. "You

ok?"

"I am more than ok. That was...incredible." Kurt said smiling.

"You don't regret it?" Blaine asked him softly.

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"No. I could never regret anything with you. That was perfect, Blaine. You are perfect." Kurt told him lovingly.

"I am far from it, believe me." Blaine said with a light chuckle. "You are to me." Kurt told him. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Blaine said as he leaned over to kiss him chastely. "Looks like you didn't need the alcohol after all."

"No, I only needed you." Kurt replied dreamily.

They spent the next hour or so cuddled in bed, whispering sweet something's to each other, only getting up when their stomach's growled with hunger. They then reluctantly got out of bed, changed the clothes that they had originally been wearing, and headed down to the house kitchen to get some food. When they walked in, Wes, Nick, Beatz, and Sebastian were already down there, almost as if they were waiting for them.

"Kurt! I had no idea that you were here." Beatz said, feigning surprise.

"Uh, hi." Kurt replied, surprised by Beatz' enthusiasm. He glanced at the guys, noticing that they were all wearing knowing smirks and it suddenly dawned on him that they probably heard their activities. "What's up?" he asked cautiously.

"Oh, I think you know." Sebastian replied with a wink. "Or rather, it'd be down now, wouldn't it be boys?" "Oh my God!" Blaine mumbled in embarrassment.

"Yep. We heard that too." Nick said laughing.

"You guys are bunch of perverts!" Kurt quipped, ignoring the blush on his face.

"Thin walls, Kurt. Very thin walls." Wes said shrugging.

The guys continued to joke at Kurt and Blaine's expense as they got food to eat. After a little while, they

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proudly at him. Kurt had blushed and looked away making Sebastian chuckle to himself. The boys spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the common room, Kurt finally leaving when he absolutely had to in order to make it back by dark. He hadn't expected for everything between him and Blaine to happen but he was happy with himself for it. It connected them on a whole new level and while he was still nowhere near ready for intercourse, they were taking the steps in the right direction and he knew that when it did happen, it would perfect.

The day before New Year's Eve, Kurt and Sebastian decided to spend some quality time together. It was rare for them to hang out without the others around and it was nice being able to spend some time alone. After a short discussion, they decided to watch a White Collar marathon, both equally prepared to swoon over Matt Bomer. Kurt set the popcorn down on the coffee table before taking his place on the opposite side of the couch. As soon as he sat, he stretched his legs out towards Sebastian. Sebastian turned his body slightly, stretching his own legs and intertwining them with Kurt's. Once they were settled, Kurt grabbed the popcorn bowl and set it in the middle between Sebastian and himself.

"Are you ready for some Neal Caffrey perfection?" Kurt asked, his finger hovering over the play button. "So ready." Sebastian replied with a wicked grin. "Oh the things I would do to that man."

Kurt giggled and pressed play. "You and me both."

For the next few hours, Kurt and Sebastian lost themselves in the White Collar world. They laughed at Peter's jokes, they plotted alongside Mozzie, and swooned anytime Neal was on screen, all the while their legs securely intertwined. At one point, Sebastian rested his hand on Kurt's leg just above the knee and subconsciously rubbed small circles. From the outsider's perspective, it would look as though Kurt and Sebastian could be a couple. The level of comfort and trust between them allowed them to be close without ever feeling awkward and they often found themselves in questionable positions because of it.

As Neal put the finishing touches on a painting, Sebastian noticed just how intimate their current position was. He thought back to how Beatz accused him of trying to seduce Kurt away from Blaine. He thought back to how everyone seemed to keep a closer eye on him as his friendship with Kurt blossomed. He thought about Thad and how he sent him questioning glances in the recent weeks. He couldn't blame his friends for jumping to the wrong conclusions. He understood their initial worry. Just because he

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understood, however, didn't mean it didn't bother him. It did bother him, quite a bit actually, and it wasn't until that moment that he realized why.

It wasn't because the Warblers thought the worst nor was it because they were so quick to prosecute him. It was because it affected his friendship with Kurt. Had things gone differently, had Kurt believed that his intentions weren't genuine, he could've lost someone he truly cared for. Sebastian treasured his friendship with Kurt. Other than Thad, Kurt was the only friend that he allowed himself to be truly open with. In a lot of ways, he loved Kurt. He considered himself lucky to have someone like Kurt in his life and the thought that he could've lost him made him cherish their current moment of closeness.

"You know, Blaine would look really good dressed like Neal." Kurt commented, breaking Sebastian's reverie.

"I didn't know you had a role-playing kink, Hummel. I'll be sure to pass that on to Blaine." Sebastian teased, hoping that Kurt wouldn't notice his demeanor.

Kurt turned to glare at Sebastian but stopped when he saw the slightly sullen look on his face. Kurt nudged Sebastian with his foot and sat up a little straighter. "What's wrong with you?"

Sebastian glanced at Kurt for only a moment before shaking his head. "Nothing's wrong." "Bullshit, Bastian." Kurt replied, clearly unconvinced. "Seriously, what's wrong?"

Sebastian looked over at Kurt, a small almost shy smile playing at his lips, and sighed. "It's nothing. I'm just really glad we're friends."

Kurt matched Sebastian's smile before unwrapping their legs and moving over. He settled himself right next to Sebastian and kissed him on the cheek before cuddling against his chest. "I'm really glad we're friends too." Sebastian smiled widely, draping his arm around Kurt's back before kissing the top of Kurt's head. "Now, back to what I was saying. I need to buy Blaine one of those hats. He would look so hot." Sebastian chuckled and nodded in agreement before settling down for another couple of hours with his best friend.

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Happy New Year

It was New Year's Eve night and Kurt couldn't be more excited. It wasn't just the end of the year for him but the beginning of a brighter future. A future at Dalton, a future with his Warbler brothers, and a future with Blaine. With the exception of the last few months, his year had been filled with distress and fear and he was more than determined not to let his demons possess him this time around. As he got ready for Nick's party, he thought back on his year, reflecting on how unhappy he was, how terrified he felt, how hopeless he became. He thought about how sure he had been that his life was over and he felt like he'd never be happy again.

He then thought back to when he first arrived at Dalton and how different it was from the rest of his world. He thought about how quickly the boys and staff accepted him and how Dalton had instantly become his safe haven. He recalled how it was Blaine's smile and sincerity that initially broke through his walls and how worried he had been when he started to allow himself to feel safe again. He thought about how easy it had been to open up to Beatz and how he never made him feel like he was an idiot for being scared. He thought about his first breakdown and how Blaine had been so unbelievably caring throughout the entire ordeal, despite only knowing each other for such a short amount of time. He thought back to his first panic attack his first day of classes and how David asked no questions, but simply held Kurt's hands comfortingly and sang the memory away.

He laughed to himself as he remembered all the food fights he and Jeff had in the house kitchen to then hide from an angry Wes. He thought about his conversations with Sebastian and how grateful he was for the older boy's advice. He had so many good memories and happy occurrences during his few months at Dalton that they easily out-weighed the years of bad ones. In more ways than one, the Warblers had saved him. Hell, they were still saving him and he couldn't think of a better way to bring in the New Year than to share it with his brothers; except maybe sharing it with his New Directions family. He was so grateful to Nick for inviting them to his party and he felt like the luckiest guy in the world having them both in his life.

He dressed in his best outfit from the new clothes he had bought, counting on the fact that Blaine wouldn't be able to keep his eyes (or hands for that matter) off of him. He styled his hair to perfection, he packed his overnight bag with all the necessities, including his new set of skin creams, and he left any and all worries behind as they set out for Nick's house. He was going to start his New Year off right and nothing was going to stop him. Not his fears (which were still there underneath it all), not his doubts, and not Karofsky. This New Year was his year and he was going to make sure that he didn't falter again.

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"Dude, are you sure we're in the right place?" Finn asked him as the pulled up to Nick's massive mansion.

"Um...I think so." Kurt said unsurely.

Kurt knew that Nick's parents were extremely wealthy, both from their jobs and from old money, but he hadn't expected the enormity of their home. Finn parked the car in the long driveway and together they sat for a moment as they took in the vastness of the estate.

"There's gotta be like...100 rooms in there." Finn said in awe. "What do his parents do again?" "They're lawyers." Kurt answered as he unbuckled his seatbelt.

"For who? The mob?" Finn asked jokingly, although Kurt could tell that he may actually believe it. "Yeah, probably." Kurt said seriously, to then laugh when Finn's eyes bugged out.

"Ha, ha. Very funny." Finn replied rolling his eyes.

They grabbed their bags, got out of the truck, and walked to the front door together. Kurt rang the bell and after a few minutes, a bored looking butler opened the door for them. "Yes?" The butler said to them.

"Hi, we're friends of Nick Duval." Kurt told him, half expecting the man to tell them that they were at the wrong house.

"Follow me, please." The butler replied robotically as he stepped aside to let them in.

They followed the butler into the house, going deeper and deeper in as the passed up several hallways. Kurt tried not to gape at the house, not wanting to be rude, but couldn't help it as they passed up the beautiful paintings on the wall and several antique vases. It looked more like a museum then it did a home. The butler led them to a set of double doors, pushed a buzzer on the side, and then turned his attention back to Kurt and Finn.

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"Please wait here for Master Duval." The butler told them and walked away just as the doorbell rang again. The double doors opened almost immediately after the butler left, revealing Nick and an already buzzed Beatz.

"KURT!" Beatz said overly-excited as he wrapped his arms around Kurt's waist to lift him off the floor. "I missed you so much!"

"Put me down you ape!" Kurt snapped at him as Beatz swung him around.

"But you're so light! You're like a feather!" Beatz replied as he bounced slightly.

"I swear to God if you don't put me down I'm going to buy you a real mogwai!" Kurt threatened.

Beatz instantly set him down and backed away cautiously, much like a child who had been scolded. "I'm sorry. I was just happy to see you. Please don't buy me a monster."

"Fine, but only if you're good." Kurt said firmly, pointing his index finger at him.

"I will, I promise!" Beatz said quickly before turning around running off.

"Hey, Kurt. Hey Finn. Welcome to Casa de Duval." Nick said smiling. "Most of the Warblers are already here and a few of your New Directions are here too. If you follow me, I'll give you a quick tour of the place."

Finn and Kurt followed Nick in to a massive entertainment room filled with several arcade machines, a huge stereo system, several couches and loungers, a pool table, the biggest TV either boy had ever seen, a stage, and a fully stocked bar where Blaine and David were laughing as they mixed drinks for a few girls.

"Holy crap." Finn said in a daze. "This place is so cool!"

"Thanks, Finn. It's my parents attempt to show they love me." Nick shrugged.

"Where are your parents?" Kurt asked him curiously as he continued to glance over at Blaine who had yet to notice that he arrived.

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"On the opposite side of the house having their own party. My dad will make an appearance once everyone arrives." Nick told him. "Now, the bathrooms are that way and the rooms are on the hallway to the right. Let me take your things to the closet."

"Thanks, Nick." Kurt told him smiling as he took his coat off and handed it to him.

He walked over to the bar as Finn walked over to where Mike, Tina, Artie, Puck, and Rachel were huddled together. Just as he reached the bar, Blaine looked up at him and smiled broadly at the sight of his boyfriend. Blaine handed David the drink he had mixing and quickly walked over to Kurt.

"Hey!" Blaine said excitedly as he pulled Kurt in for a hug.

"Hey, yourself." Kurt replied happily. "You look amazing." He said appreciatively as he took in Blaine's outfit. He was wearing fitting black slacks and a button up black shirt, making him look both incredibly sexy and a little dangerous.

"Thanks. You look...really sexy." Blaine replied as his eyes hungrily took in Kurt's body. In contrast to Blaine's black ensemble, Kurt was wearing white super skinny jeans, a fitting white button up shirt with silver chains, and a pair of white calf high boots.

"Well, thank you." Kurt replied cheekily before leaning over to kiss him.

"Mm." Blaine moaned softly into the kiss, instantly placing his hands just above Kurt's ass. "Leave it for the room boys!" Beatz yelled out to them.

"Mogwai, Beatz!" Kurt yelled back, making Beatz shut up immediately.

"You know about that?" Blaine asked him laughing.

"Yeah, he told me. Best blackmail ever." Kurt replied laughing.

Within the next ten minutes, the rest of the guests arrived, prompting Nick to call his dad. As they were waiting, Puck, Santana, and Mercedes approached Kurt and Blaine who were sitting cuddled up on one of

the lounges.

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"Hey guys." Kurt greeted them smiling.

"Hey, boo. We need to have a word with Blaine. Well, they do. I'm just here so they don't kill him." Mercedes said laughing.

"Um...ok..." Blaine said with a nervous chuckle as he unwrapped himself from Kurt's grasp.

"Be nice." Kurt told them shaking his head as they walked away with Blaine.

He knew they were giving him the" If you break Kurt's heart we'll break your skull" speech and he couldn't help but smile fondly at how protective they were being. He knew they still felt bad for not coming to his rescue at McKinley and while at the time he hated it, he was glad for it now. Had things not gotten as bad as they did, he never would've transferred to Dalton and that was his silver lining.

"Hey." Sebastian said as he sat next to Kurt. "You know your friends are interrogating Blaine right?" "Yeah, I know." Kurt said with a small laugh. "What's up?" he asked, nodding over at Thad.

"Right now, nothing. Between the alcohol that gets consumed tonight and Beatz' big mouth, I'm sure that will change." Sebastian told him shrugging as he took a sip from his drink.

"Are you going to be ok?" Kurt asked him curiously.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. It's time it gets all out in the open anyway." Sebastian replied.

"I agree." Kurt nodded laughing just as Blaine came back.

"Oh, please, please don't leave me alone with Santana again!" Blaine said as he squeezed in between Sebastian and his boyfriend. "She scares me."

"Santana, stop scaring my boyfriend!" Kurt called out to her. "Man up, hobbit!" Santana called back out.

"What did she say to you?" Kurt asked him curiously.

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"It's not so much what she said as it is how she said it." Blaine told him seriously. "She's uh...she's scary." "Yes, she is." Kurt said laughing.

"Listen up everyone." Nick yelled out from the front of the room. "My dad would like to set some ground rules so pay attention."

Nick's father walked over from the door to stand next to Nick, looking both bored and slightly intoxicated, as he laid out the rules for the party.

"Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Duval home. I'm sure my son appreciates you all for coming. As Nickolas has just told you, there are some rules that must be followed. If they are broken, we will call your parents and send you home. Rule number 1: No fighting. Rule number 2: No drugs. Rule number 3: Stay inside the house. That's basically it. We are well aware that you will be drinking and we'd rather you do it safely here then get in trouble somewhere else. Don't make us regret this decision. Have fun and be safe. Oh and girls, try not to get pregnant." With that, Mr. Duval turned around and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.

"Nick's dad is uh...interesting." Kurt commented quietly.

"That's one way to put it." Sebastian snorted as he got up to get himself another drink.

Blaine scooted over slightly and immediately started kissing Kurt's neck gently. "Do you want a drink?" he asked in between kisses.

"Sure. Nothing too strong please." Kurt replied, sighing contently.

"Coming right up." Blaine replied smiling before getting up to walk over to the bar.

By the time Blaine got back to Kurt, the room livened up significantly. The music was playing loudly, everyone had started to drink, and the TV was on with the local New Year's Eve program. While at first the New Directions and The Warblers kept their distance from each other, once the alcohol started to flow, the groups began blending together. There were a few Warbler boys playing pool against Finn and Puck, Artie was playing an arcade game with Trent, Sebastian (who was no longer sober) was openly flirting with Thad who was flirting back, Rachel was singing along to the song currently playing as she danced on the stage, Mike and Brittany were having a dance off with two Warbler boys, Jeff and Nick were taking turns

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doing body shots off of Quinn, a group of Warblers were playing strip poker with their girlfriends, and everyone else was either talking in groups or dancing along to the music.

Blaine and Kurt stayed sitting on the lounger for a while, slowly drinking so they didn't get wasted, and watched their friends make fools of themselves. At one point, Single Ladies came on so Tina and Brittany tore Kurt away from Blaine so they could do the dance together. Finn, Puck, and Mike ended up joining in the dance, making the room laugh as they attempted to be sexy. By the time the song ended, Blaine had joined in, laughing hysterically as Kurt tried showing him the dance moves. Kurt had a carefree smile plastered on his face as he continued to dance with the girls and Blaine was thrilled to see his boyfriend having such a good time.

As the night went on and the drunkenness increased, Beatz suggested that they played spin-the-bottle which most of everybody agreed to. They sat in the circle, spinning the empty beer bottle, and sharing kisses with whomever it landed on, not caring about who it was. When it was Sebastian turn, Beatz broke out into laughter and prayed that it would land on Thad. Sure enough it had but instead of Sebastian being worried, he was elated. He was drunk enough not to care but not so drunk that he wouldn't remember what happened that next day. Thad became extremely shy as he crawled across the circle to meet Sebastian, especially since Sebastian was looking at him like he wanted to eat him alive. As soon as they kissed, the Warbler boys hooted and hollered, making both boys blush from the sudden attention.

When Thad pulled away, he quickly retreated to his spot to spin the bottle again, which landed on Nick. His kiss with Nick was a short peck and as soon as it was done, he got from the group and walked away, looking back at Sebastian as if to call to him. Sebastian took the hint and followed him instantly. Nick ended kissing Jeff, who kissed Quinn, who then kissed Rachel. Finn sat there in awe as his current girlfriend and ex-girlfriend made out briefly, both turned on and weirded out by it. Once they were done playing spin-the-bottle, many of them returned to dancing or laughing together in small groups. Sebastian and Thad had disappeared, along with Jeff and Quinn, Trent and a fellow Warbler Danny, Nick and his girlfriend Harmony, and Finn and Rachel. Santana and Brittany took to making out on the couch which resulted in several of the boys watching them while Beatz recorded everything with his phone.

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Before they knew it, it was barely minutes to midnight and with the exception of Kurt, Blaine, and a few others, the rest of the group was completely wasted. As the clock ticked closer to midnight, everyone started to pair off for their New Year's kiss.

"10, 9, 8, 7, 6." The group started to count. Blaine and Kurt were already facing each other, smiling lovingly as their friends continued counting. "5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Happy New Year!" Kurt and Blaine kissed passionately, putting all of their love, hope, and desires into it.

The room erupted into pure chaos as they wished each other a Happy New Year. Blaine grabbed Kurt's hand and pulled him away from the crowd towards the bedrooms. He had specifically asked Nick to use the last bedroom that had the bay window, knowing that the sun would rise on that side. They heard Beatz, David, Santana, and Puck holler out profanities at them as they walked away, laughing along with those who heard them. As they walked over to the room, the sound of music and laughter began to die down. Kurt was certain that he heard the moans of Jeff and Quinn in one of the rooms and Blaine was certain that he heard the same from Sebastian and Thad.

"We have some very bad friends." Kurt said laughing as they reached their door.

"We have some very drunk friends." Blaine corrected as he opened the door.

"Oh my." Kurt said in awe as he walked into the room.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" Blaine asked as he wrapped his arms around Kurt's waist. "I was hoping we could stay on the rest of the night and leave those crazies to their nonsense."

"I think that sounds like a great idea." Kurt replied as he leaned forward to kiss Blaine chastely.

They spent the next ten minutes getting ready for bed, neither one mentioning their nerves. They weren't exactly planning on doing anything other than cuddling but with their relationships most recent development, they weren't entirely sure if they would simply cuddle or not. Once they were dressed in the pajamas and completely ready for bed, they laid down together, facing each other, and instantly began to kiss tenderly.

"God, I love you." Blaine whispered against Kurt's lips.

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"I love you too." Kurt whispered back as they parted. "You haven't told me your New Year's resolution yet."

"It's to be happy, healthy, and not let my inner demons win. It's the same every year." Blaine told him as he lightly caressed Kurt's arm. "What about yours?"

"It's to not be afraid anymore." Kurt replied softly. "I'll go ahead and add being happy and healthy to that too."

"Are you still afraid?" Blaine asked him curiously.

"Yes and no. I mean, a part of me is still terrified of seeing Karofsky again but I think it's more of a physical fear as opposed to a sexual fear, you know? Like, I'm not scared of him sexually assaulting me because I don't think he'll ever have the opportunity to, but he could always beat the shit out of me if we cross paths." Kurt told him quietly.

"He won't hurt you again, I promise." Blaine told him seriously.

"Thanks." Kurt replied with a small smile. "Can we not spend the rest of the night talking about this and go back to kissing?"

"Absolutely." Blaine replied before leaning forward to kiss him.

Their kisses started of slow, sweet, and tender, but quickly intensified as the need for more kicked in. Kurt was the first to make a move. He slowly slid his hand through the elastic of Blaine's pants and wrapped his fingers around Blaine's half-hard.

"Mm, Kurt." Blaine moaned into the kiss. "We don't have to do this if you don't want to."

"Shh." Kurt replied as he started to lightly suck on Blaine's neck. "I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't want to, ok?"

Blaine nodded slowly as he allowed Kurt to push him on his back. Kurt stroked Blaine's now hard cock diligently, relishing in the sounds that were escaping Blaine. He had never been more turned on in his entire life and suddenly the thought of Blaine's cock in his mouth was too good to pass up. Admittedly, he was a little scared to do it, especially since he had done it so many times to Karofsky. But this was Blaine,

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and Blaine deserved to feel as good as he made Kurt feel just a few days before. He began to lower his body but stopped when Blaine grabbed his arm.

"Wait." Blaine said breathily. "You don't have to do this. You don't owe me anything."

"Blaine, I'm not doing this because I owe you. I'm doing this because I love you and I want to make you feel good. You're everything to me, please let me." Kurt said softly.

Blaine knew that it would be hard for Kurt to do this and he was worried that it would be too much too fast, but he also knew that it was something Kurt needed to do himself in order to move forward. "If you can't do it or you need to stop-"

"I know." Kurt said nodding before continuing his way down.

Kurt pulled Blaine's pants and boxers and took a good look at Blaine's throbbing erection. Yes, he was scared and yes, he was worried, but that didn't stop him from taking Blaine's entire length into his mouth.

"Oh Kurt!" Blaine moaned, throwing his head back and griping the sheets.

Kurt bobbed up and down fervently, enjoying the way that Blaine was writhing beneath him. This was nothing compared to what he had experienced with Karofsky. He had the power here and it was absolutely exhilarating. He hummed as he quickened his pace, wanting nothing more than to taste Blaine. That bit terrified him but he refused to let the fear win. He needed to do this. He needed to taste Blaine in order to wipe the bad memory away.

"Shit! Kurt!" Blaine groaned as he forced his hips not to buck forward. Kurt continued sucking Blaine off, hollowing his cheeks and running his tongue on the underside of Blaine's cock. "Kurt, close." Blaine warned him.

Kurt closed his eyes tight as he prepared for what was to come. He wanted to stop, he wanted to back away and let Blaine come in his hands; he needed to stay though so he did. A few more bobs and Blaine was coming hard into Kurt's mouth. Kurt winced in that first instant as the memory of Karofsky danced at the edge of his mind, but then he tasted Blaine and Blaine tasted extraordinary. He didn't gag and he didn't get nauseas. He did, however, swallow every single drop of Blaine, proud of himself that he had actually done it. He released Blaine's cock as it became flaccid, scooted himself back up, and attached his lips to Blaine's. Blaine could taste himself in Kurt's mouth, finding it oddly erotic, and pulled Kurt closer to him as

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they kissed passionately. Blaine felt Kurt's erection, realizing that Kurt had yet to release himself. Without any warning, he pushed Kurt to lie back and pulled Kurt's cock out his pajama pants.

"Blaine." Kurt moaned unashamedly.

Blaine only stroked a few times before lowering himself to blow Kurt. It didn't take long for Kurt to come since he had already been so close and unlike the first time, Blaine was ready to swallow Kurt's juices as he came. Just like Kurt had done, Blaine quickly attached his lips to Kurt's and stuck his tongue in so that Kurt could taste himself.

"Mm." Kurt moaned into the kiss.

They spent the next hour or so making out heavily, both too exhilarated to stop. There was nothing as pure and as beautiful as the love they had for each other; this was something they had both needed. They needed to love and be loved, they needed to experience what true passion was, and they needed each other. They were each other's strength and each other's rock and as the year progresses, they would be needing each other more than ever.

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CHAPTER NINETEEN

Big Brother

When Blaine woke up just before dawn, he couldn't control the smile on his face. It was the first New Year's Day in years that he had no worries, no sadness, and no regrets. Instead he was happy, safe, proud, and completely in love. Every New Year needs to start off like this. He nuzzled his nose into the back of Kurt's neck, breathing deeply, and smiling contently as his boyfriend's scent filled his lungs. Kurt was nothing but absolute perfection to him. Whatever flaws Kurt had meant nothing to him. He loved Kurt with his everything and nothing would be able to keep him away.

"Kurt." Blaine said softly. "Baby, wake up."

"Why." Kurt mumbled.

"It's almost dawn." Blaine informed him as he made his way to get up. "No, stay." Kurt replied, strengthening his hold on Blaine's arm. "Kurt, you promised." Blaine said with a small chuckle.

Kurt sighed in defeat as he loosened his hold on Blaine's arm. Blaine quickly got up, walked over to the bay window, and opened the blinds before the sun rose. He ran back to the bed just as Kurt was sitting up and snuggled in-between Kurt's legs.

"I really do love how romantic you are, but I am so tired." Kurt said as he yawned.

"We can go back to sleep after, I promise." Blaine replied with a goofy smile.

Within the next few minutes, the sun began to rise over the horizon. The window had a clear view of the backyard, which was covered in snow, and even though he was sleepy, Kurt couldn't deny that the scene was indeed very beautiful. Blaine snuggled closer to Kurt as Kurt wrapped one arm tightly around him, running his fingers through Blaine's curls with his other hand. They sat their quietly as the sun rose, both reveling in pure happiness.

"Happy New Year's, Blaine." Kurt whispered against Blaine's temple before kissing it lightly. - 207 -

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"Happy New Year's, Kurt." Blaine replied, sighing contently.

"Can we go back to sleep now?" Kurt asked with a yawn.

"Yeah, yeah." Blaine said smirking as he untangled himself from Kurt's hold.

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Blaine walked back over to the window, closed the drapes, yawned as he walked back to the bed, and laid down facing Kurt. They both leaned in at the same time and kissed softly for a few minutes before settling back down to go to sleep, this time Blaine being the little spoon. It was usually Blaine who held Kurt both lovingly and protectively, but every once in a while, when Kurt's love for Blaine grew tenfold within a moment, Kurt liked to be the one to hold him. It amazed Kurt sometimes how his love for Blaine continued to grow with each passing moment but he wouldn't have it any other way.

Blaine and Kurt slept soundly for the next few hours, only waking up again because Blaine's cell phone rang. He had no idea who would be calling him so early considering all of his friends were there at Nick's, and he couldn't help but worry a little when he saw that it was his grandmother.

"Morning, Grams." Blaine said when he answered the phone. "Happy New Year." He told her, ignoring the tense bubble in the pit of his stomach.

"Morning, Blainey. Happy New Year." She said softly and Blaine could tell that something was off. "I'm sorry for calling you so early."

"It's ok, Grams. Is everything alright?" he asked her curiously as he sat up in the bed.

"Yes, everything's fine. Listen, I know you had plans on heading back to Dalton, but could you come home for the remainder of the holiday?" she asked him hopefully. That was one of the many things Blaine loved about his grandmother. She never told him what he needed to but simply asked him to do it. It was a trait his father did not possess.

"Sure, Grams. I can come home." He told her, glancing at Kurt who was looking at him curiously. "Are you sure everything's ok?"

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"Yes, honey, I'm sure. We-I just need you to come home for the week, that's all." She told him quietly. Blaine didn't miss the slip-up but didn't question her. Part of him feared that father was there but another part knew that his grandmother would never subject him to any kind of abuse.

"Ok. I'll be over in a little while." Blaine told her a little reluctantly before hanging up the phone. "Is everything ok?" Kurt asked him with concern.

"Um, I think so?" Blaine said unsurely. "She wants me to go home for the week."

"How come?" Kurt wondered. He could tell that Blaine wasn't exactly thrilled about it but didn't know why. From what he knew, Blaine had a good relationship with his grandmother so he didn't understand the reluctance.

"I don't know. She just said she needed me." Blaine shrugged. "I'm sure everything's fine." He said with a small smile, although he didn't exactly believe it.

"Ok. If you need me, I'm here. I know it's always you taking care of me but I can take care of you too, you know." Kurt told him as he wrapped his arms around Blaine's waist.

"I know." Blaine replied adoringly before kissing Kurt softly on the cheek.

Blaine and Kurt got dressed for the day and gathered their things before leaving the comfort of the room. As they walked down the hallway, Jeff and Quinn walked out of one of the rooms, Jeff's arm around Quinn's shoulder while she held his waist tightly. Jeff smiled both proudly and mischievously at Blaine while Quinn blushed slightly under Kurt's questioning gaze.

"Good morning." Kurt said to them smirking.

"Great morning." Jeff replied, glancing sideways at Quinn.

"You're never going to let me live that down are you?" Quinn asked him scowling. "Nope." Jeff replied laughing.

"Jerk." Quinn replied rolling her eyes as she unraveled herself from him and made her way down the hall. - 209 -

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"That's not what you said last night." Jeff called out to her. "Or this morning for that matter."

Quinn stopped abruptly, turned around quickly, and walked back over to Jeff. She then grabbed him by the collar, pulled him towards her roughly, and kissed him hard in front of Blaine and Kurt. Kurt and Blaine glanced at each other in shock as Quinn continued her attack on Jeff.

"Let's not forget who the boss is, Jeffery. " She said seductively right as she parted. "Yes, ma'am." Jeff replied in a slight daze.

"Good." She replied as she let go of his collar and walked off.

"What the hell was that?" Kurt asked both amused and bemused.

"That was the best night of my life." Jeff replied, sighing contently as he watched Quinn walk away.

"I don't want to know." Kurt said shaking his head and walked off.

When they entered the main room, most of the Warblers and New Directions were still passed out in various places on the floor while the few that were awake were surrounding the bar as Nick and Harmony served them coffee. Blaine opted out of a cup, too anxious for caffeine, kissed Kurt goodbye, and left for his grandmother's. Kurt, who was still trying to wake up fully, didn't notice the sullen Sebastian until he was halfway through his cup of coffee. He walked over to where he was sitting and nudged his leg to get his attention.

"Hey." Sebastian said, glancing up at Kurt for only a moment before staring at his coffee cup again.

"Hey. What's wrong?" Kurt asked him softly. Sebastian merely shrugged in response. "Bastian, what is it?" Kurt glanced around for a minute and noticed that Thad was nowhere in sight. "Where's Thad."

"He left." Sebastian said quietly before taking a sip from his coffee. "Did something happen?" Kurt asked him with concern.

"Oh, a lot of something's happened." Sebastian replied matter-of-factly. "And then he woke up, freaked out,

and left."

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"Oh, Bastian." Kurt said comfortingly.

"Forget it. I'm going home." Sebastian said in frustration before setting his cup down and stormed off.

Kurt sighed sadly as Sebastian left, feeling bad that his night had not been a good one. He knew how much he cared for Thad and he hoped that they would be able to worth through whatever it was that happened between them. He conversed with those who were awake as he finished his coffee, noticing that Quinn and Jeff were practically joined at the hip. Once he finished his coffee and felt fully functional, he walked over to where Finn and Rachel were sleeping, and woke them up, informing Finn that they needed to get home. After a short struggle and some bribing, he finally got Finn to wake up. They said their goodbye's to their friends, thanked Nick for having them, and headed home.

Blaine was a ball of nerves the entire drive home. He blasted his car radio, singing along loudly to every song that came on as he tried to keep himself calm. He found himself fidgeting with the seam of his shirt anytime he was a stop light and chastised every time he did it. It was the first sign of his emotions getting the better of him. Just breath, everything's fine. There's no need to panic. So what if she said we. That doesn't mean he's there. Even if he is, Gram's won't let him hurt me. She wouldn't. Why would he be there anyway? It's not like he's been around for the past two years. I'm freaking out over nothing. Everything's fine. God, I miss Kurt. I wish he was here. He has no idea how much his presence calms me down. Get it together, Anderson. Everything's going to be fine. As Blaine turned onto his street, his heartbeat increased. Despite knowing that his grandmother wouldn't let his father hurt him, verbally or physically, it made him sick to his stomach even thinking that he might see him. His throat constricted slightly as his grandmother's house came into view. He prayed to whoever was listening that his father wasn't there.

When he pulled into the driveway, he noticed an unfamiliar car. It was too flashy for either of his parents to drive and he highly doubted that his grandmother traded up her old one. He parked behind the black corvette, turned off his car, and sat there for a moment. He contemplated calling Kurt but he knew that he would be able to sense that something was wrong and he didn't want to worry him. He opted for a quick text instead.

Hey beautiful. I just wanted to tell you that I love you and I miss you. xoxo – Blaine

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Blaine waited patiently for a reply, eager to have some kind of presence of Kurt before going inside. After a few minutes, his phone buzzed in his hands.

Hey handsome. I love you and I miss you too. Are you home already? xoxo – Kurt

Yeah, I just got here. I'm still sitting in my car. – Blaine

As soon as Blaine sent the message, he regretted it. He knew Kurt would figure out that there was something wrong and the last thing he wanted was to worry him. Sure enough, his phone rang not but a minute later.

"Hey!" Blaine said a little too cheerily.

"Blaine? What's wrong?" Kurt asked concern evident in his voice. "Nothing." Blaine replied quickly.

"Then why are you still sitting in your car?" Kurt asked him curiously.

"I just...someone's here. I don't know who but there's a car in the driveway I don't recognize and I guess...I guess I'm just anxious." Blaine admitted quietly as he once again began fidgeting with the seam of his shirt. "I'm just being silly, don't mind me."

"Blaine, you are not being silly." Kurt said firmly. "What's really going on? You know you can tell me." Blaine stammered for a moment, unsure of what he was supposed to say. He was supposed to be the strong one for Kurt, not the other way around. He was supposed to be the one that comforted and consoled his boyfriend. He was supposed to be doing better. He shouldn't be feeling this way. "Blaine, please. Tell me what's wrong?"

"...what if it's my dad?" Blaine finally said just above a whisper.

"Then...then tell him to fuck off." Kurt said seriously. "If it's him and he starts any crap with you then tell him to fuck off and you drive straight here. Don't let him get to you. You're stronger than that." Blaine couldn't help but smile fondly at Kurt's advice. It warmed his heart that Kurt believed in him.

"Ok." Blaine replied sighing. "I better get in there and see what's going on." - 212 -

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"Call me when you can and let me know that you're ok." Kurt said firmly.

"I will. Thanks for talking to me. I love you." Blaine said as he reached over to the passenger side to grab his bag.

"Of course, that's why I'm here. I love you, too." Kurt replied softly.

Blaine hung up with Kurt, took a deep breath, and got out of his car. He walked up the walkway cautiously, noticing that his grandmother was waiting for him by the door. She didn't have the hatred expression she usually wore when it came to his father, but he could tell that she was still apprehensive.

"Hey, Grams." Blaine greeted as she opened the door to let him in.

"Hey, Blainey." She replied softly as closed the front door, then turning around to hug him. "How was the drive? The roads weren't too bad were they?"

"Naw. The drive was fine." Blaine replied as he backed away from the hug. "Whose car is that is outside?" Might as well get straight to the point. His grandmother shifted slightly as she glanced behind him. Blaine turned around to see who was there, his jaw dropping in shock when he saw that it was his brother. "Cooper?"

"Hey, baby bro." Cooper replied cautiously. "Long time no see."

Blaine stood there for a moment longer as the initial shock of seeing his brother for the first time in seven years. Cooper had spent those last seven years of his life in Egypt with an archeology team digging up old paintings. He was a journalist by trade but traveled with the group for research for his book. The last time Blaine had spoken to him was right before he came out to him parents and had never had the chance to talk to him again.

Cooper didn't know anything. He didn't know that Blaine was gay (at least, not officially), he didn't know about the bullying, he didn't know about what their parents did, and he didn't know about the cutting. All he knew was what their grandmother had told him which was that Blaine was no longer accepted in his home and that he now lived with her. Blaine crossed the space between them and threw his arms around Cooper's neck, not even attempting to stop the tears that rolled down his cheeks.

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"Hey, it's ok. I'm here now. There's no need to cry." Cooper comforted. Blaine's only response was to hug him tighter. Cooper glanced up at their grandmother, his heart breaking as his little brother continued to cry on his shoulder.

"I'll let you two talk." She said quietly before disappearing into the kitchen. She hadn't told Cooper the details of what happened, knowing that Blaine would want to do it. She also knew that Cooper would accept Blaine for who he was, no matter what. Her only fear was that Cooper would try and confront their father.

"I can't believe you're here. I missed you so much." Blaine said quietly as he parted from the embrace.

"I missed you too, Blaine. More than you know." Cooper replied softly as he wiped Blaine's tears. "Here you are, practically a grown man and I'm still wiping your tears away." He joked, trying to lighten the mood.

Blaine laughed lightly as he playfully shoved Cooper. "I guess some things never change."

"And some things do." Cooper said sadly. "Come on, we have a lot to talk about."

Blaine and Cooper sat in the living room quietly for a few minutes, neither one knowing where to start. Cooper took the opportunity to get a good look at Blaine, noticing the scars on his wrists. He didn't say anything about it but his blood boiled at the thought of what could've possibly driven his intelligent, strong little brother to such drastic measures.

"So, tell me what's been going on. How have you been?" Cooper asked him curiously.

"I've been...I've been good actually. Things have been really great for a while now." Blaine replied honestly.

"Yeah? Good. You've grown up to be one good looking man. You got yourself a girlfriend?" Cooper asked him casually.

"Uh...no. No, girlfriend." Blaine replied, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "Boyfriend then?" Cooper asked with a small smile.

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"Y-yeah." Blaine replied, surprised by Cooper's question. "How...how did you know that I'm gay?"

"Are you kidding me? I've known since you were five when you married Batman and Robin." Cooper teased.

"I can't believe you remember that." Blaine said with a small chuckle. "So, what's his name? Tell me about him." Cooper replied smiling.

"Well, his name is Kurt and he's...amazing, absolutely amazing. I'm...completely in love with him." Blaine said fondly.

"Awe, Blaine's in love." Cooper said, nudging Blain playfully. "I'm going to have to meet this amazing Kurt."

"I'd really love that." Blaine replied with a small smile. Blaine never really doubted that Cooper would accept him but the uncertainty had always been there. The fact that Cooper wanted to meet Kurt sent Blaine's heart soaring. He couldn't help but think about how his parents would never be as accepting though and it ripped his heart apart. He suddenly let out a pained sob, prompting Cooper to embrace him. "It was horrible, Cooper. They...they completely cut me out of their lives. Mom wouldn't even look at me and when she did you could just see the disgust in her eyes. And Dad..." Blaine began crying harder, unable to find the words.

"Shh. It's ok. You're ok." Cooper shushed him comfortingly, waiting patiently for Blaine to keep going.

"T-the th-things, h-he said t-to me...I-I've n-never felt so ashamed a-at myself." Blaine said brokenly.

"Oh, Blaine." Cooper cooed. "You listen to me right now. Nothing he said is true. Do you hear me? There is nothing wrong with you. Don't you ever be anything but proud of whom you are." He said firmly. He knew that he parents could be stubborn and old-fashioned but he couldn't fathom how they could treat Blaine so badly.

"It was so hard, Cooper. I kept thinking that I should just kill myself a-and save them the hassle o-of having a f-faggot son." Blaine admitted guiltily.

Cooper backed away from the embrace abruptly and looked at Blaine intently. "Don't ever think like that. Not ever. You are too incredible to even contemplate doing that. God! I can't believe they did this to you."

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he said angrily. "You know what, it doesn't matter. I'm here now and I am not leaving anytime soon. Whatever you need, I'm here for you; so is Grams. You are not alone in this Blaine, not anymore."

"I know." Blaine nodded as he tried to calm himself down. "I never actually tried to kill myself, I just thought about it."

"Yeah, well even just thinking about it is wrong." Cooper replied firmly. "And you may not have tried but you sure hell hurt yourself." He said as he gingerly grabbed Blaine's wrists. "Listen, we have plenty of time to catch up, we don't need to delve into this right now. Why don't you go take a shower, we'll have some breakfast, and then we can talk about whatever it is that you want. I'm not going anywhere, ok?"

Blaine nodded and wiped his tears away. "Thanks, Cooper." He said sniffling.

"No need to thank me. I'm your big brother. It's my job to look out for you." Cooper replied sincerely. "Now go shower. You reek of alcohol." He said teasingly.

Blaine chuckled softly and nodded as he got up from the couch. He started walking out of the living room only to turn around quickly and walk back to Cooper. He threw his arms around Cooper's neck and hugged him tightly. "I'm glad you're back, Cooper. I really missed you."

"I missed you too, baby bro. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere." Cooper replied as he hugged Blaine back tightly. Blaine let out a sigh of relief as he let go of the embrace, smiled fondly at his brother, and walked towards the stairs.

Cooper waited until Blaine was at least halfway up the stairs before standing up and walking over to the kitchen. He walked directly past his grandmother and out the back door, not caring how cold it was without his coat. He paced the back patio angrily for only a few minutes before their grandmother walked out to him.

"Cooper?" she called out quietly.

"How could they do that? How could treat him like that?" he snapped at her. "I don't know." She replied sadly.

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"He thought about killing himself, Grams! He cut for Christ's sake! What the hell happened when I was gone? How could they just treat him like he's worthless? He's their son!" Cooper nearly shouted.

"I know, Cooper. Trust me, I know." She replied, tears welling up in her eyes as she recalled the day she found Blaine cutting.

"They are so lucky that they're in Europe right now." Cooper said through gritted teeth.

"Come on, come inside. It's freezing out here and you can't be there for your brother if you catch

pneumonia and die." The old woman replied with a small smile.

Copper chuckled softly for only a moment before starting to cry. Their grandmother walked over to him, pulled him into a hug, and shushed him comfortingly just like he had done with Blaine not but a few minutes before. "I should've been here for him. I should've known how they would react when he eventually came out."

"No one could've truly known how bad it really got, sweetheart. The important thing is that you're here now." Their grandmother said softly. "Come on. I'll put some coffee on and you can help me with breakfast." Cooper nodded and wiped his tears away as he followed her back into the house.

Once Blaine was upstairs in his room, he pulled his cell phone out and text Kurt that he was fine. He told him that his brother was back in town so he would most likely be busy the rest of the week but to not worry about him because he was in good hands. He then took a quick shower, dressed himself in his Dalton sweats, and walked back downstairs to spend time with Cooper and their grandmother. He still felt anxious and nervous despite the fact that Cooper accepted him. He knew he would have to tell Cooper everything. He knew he would have to lay it completely out there for him, detail by detail and he couldn't help but dread it. He hadn't told the full story to anyone but their grandmother and he knew he would be in for an emotional day.

He ended up telling Cooper the short story for the time being, not wanting to open up too many wounds too quickly. He told him how he came out when he was 12 and how it instantly changed everything with his parents. He told him that he had started cutting just a few months after coming out because he didn't know how to deal with all the hatred in his life. Between getting the crap beat out of him at school and

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their father's words, he became completely and hopelessly lost. He told him how it was their grandmother that found him crying, huddled in a corner, his arms covered in blood. Their grandmother then told him how within a week, she got Blaine moved in with her and got him transferred to Dalton where he was able to heal.

Blaine then talked about the school and the Warblers and how they helped him come back to himself. He lastly told him about Kurt and their relationship, informing him that all the while he was helping Kurt, Kurt was inadvertently helping him. The day was filled with tears, laughter, and support and by the end of the night, Blaine was absolutely exhausted. He fell asleep almost instantly only to be woken up abruptly in the middle of the night because of a nightmare. He hadn't had any nightmares in a really long time but opening up to Cooper had been too much for his mind to handle. Just like when they were younger, Blaine crawled into bed with Cooper when he couldn't go back to sleep. Just like when they were kids and he had a nightmare about some monster, Cooper sang him to sleep, promising him that he would do everything in his power to make his monsters disappear.

That final week of break had been a stressful one for Kurt. He was worried about Blaine and he missed his friends terribly. He hadn't talked to Blaine much throughout that week since he was busy with Cooper but Kurt knew Blaine needed him. He could hear it in his voice anytime they spoke on the phone. He didn't know much about Cooper since Blaine rarely spoke of him so he really wasn't sure how he was supposed to react to his return. Blaine had assured him that he was ok but he couldn't help but worry. Needless to say, he was more than ready that Saturday before school started to head back to Dalton.

Kurt got there relatively early, wanting to make sure that he was there before Blaine arrived. It was just after lunch time when his dad pulled into the school. He said his goodbye to his dad, grabbed his things, including Pavarotti, and quickly entered the building. He knew Blaine wasn't there yet but he needed to be sure so he ran straight to their dorm without stopping anywhere else. The room of course had been empty so he set Pavarotti's cage down, put the things he brought away, and walked over to the common room where Sebastian, Nick, and Jeff were talking in hushed voiced.

"Hey, guys." Kurt greeted as he took a seat.

"Hey, Kurt. Welcome back." Jeff replied smiling brightly.

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"Thanks." Kurt replied sighing. "Hey, you ok?" he asked Sebastian who barely acknowledged his presence.

"I'm fine." Sebastian replied flatly before getting up and walking off.

"What's wrong with him?" Kurt asked Jeff and Nick.

"Thad won't talk to him." Nick said rolling his eyes. "Bastian's tried to call him all week but Thad just keeps ignoring him."

"What? Why?" Kurt asked curiously.

"Because he's freaking out about what happened on New Year's. He seems to think that Bastian's going to hate him or something. I keep telling him that it's going to be fine but he won't believe me." Nick said with a heavy sigh. "He gets back tomorrow so we'll see how that works out."

"Poor Bastian. He probably thinks that Thad hates him too." Kurt said sadly.

"He does. He also thinks that Thad is disgusted in what happened between them which really isn't the case. They just need to get locked in a room together and talk all their shit out." Jeff said seriously.

"They are roommates, they'll talk eventually." Nick said shrugging.

"Hey, speaking of New Year's, you want to tell me what all that with Quinn was about." Kurt said to Jeff,

quirking an eyebrow.

"Oh, Quinn. My beautiful, amazing, perfect Quinn." Jeff said sighing contently.

"Your Quinn? Are you guys dating now?" Kurt asked surprised.

"Not yet, but we are well on our way. She was over at my house every day this week and let's just say that we had a really good time." Jeff said mischievously.

"You're kidding?" Kurt asked, his eyes wide.

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"Yeah, I'm kidding." Jeff said laughing. "Well, I'm kind of kidding. We're not sleeping together, but we are fooling around. We've also talked quite a bit too. That girl is just...she's perfect and I will gladly wait for to be ready for a boyfriend."

"Wow. Ok, then." Kurt replied laughing.

Kurt spent most of his afternoon with Jeff and Nick in the common room as he waited for Blaine to show up. When Blaine text him that he was there, the three of them walked to the front to meet him; Kurt eager to see him while Jeff and Nick were curious about Cooper. Just as they rounded the corner, Blaine and Cooper walked through the doors. Blaine immediately noticed Kurt, quickly walking over to him, and ignoring the laugh that came from Cooper. Neither Blaine nor Kurt said anything when they embraced each other. The simply held each other tightly, both inhaling each other's scent. After a few minutes, Kurt finally backed away from the hug.

"Hey. Someone sure did miss me." He said teasingly.

"You have no idea." Blaine replied chuckling before leaning in and kissing him tenderly. Cooper cleared his throat to get Blaine's attention, smirking at how smitten Blaine was.

"Are you going to keep sucking face or are you going to introduce us, Blaine." Cooper said laughing.

"Sorry." Blaine said blushing. "Cooper, this is my boyfriend Kurt, and this is Jeff and Nick, two of my friends and fellow Warblers. Guys, this is my older brother, Cooper."

"It's nice to meet you guys. Blaine's spoken very highly of you. It's nice to put faces to names." Cooper said charmingly as he shook the boys' hands, stopping at Kurt. "And you, you are already my favorite person in the world simply for making him happy."

"Cooper." Blaine whined rolling his eyes.

"What? I'm being serious." Cooper said a little defensively. "It's nice meeting you too, Cooper." Kurt replied politely.

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"Now that the intros are out of the way, who wants to go have dinner? My treat. We were going to eat before I dropped him off but I couldn't handle his pouting anymore so I brought him here first." Cooper said teasingly.

"I was not pouting. All I said was that excited about seeing Kurt and you turned us around." Blaine said pointedly.

"You were pouting like adorable puppy and you know it!" Cooper said as he playfully shoved Blaine. "As I was saying, dinner?"

"Yeah, we're down." Jeff said nodding along with Nick.

"Kurt?" Cooper said curiously.

"Sure, yeah. I'd love to go to go dinner." Kurt replied smiling.

"Great, let's head out." Cooper said happily before turning around towards the door.

Kurt quickly realized that he really Cooper. He was a lot like Blaine in the sense of how funny and charming he was, but he was also undeniably mature. While he teased Blaine quite a bit, he was also very respectful and Kurt could tell that he really cared about Blaine. Despite the teasing, Blaine couldn't help but laugh along with friends as they drove to the restaurant. He loved how great Kurt and Cooper were getting along and he loved how easy it was to include him in his life with his friends. It was amazing having such a strong, supportive male influence in his life. An influence he hadn't realized he missed so much and an influence he would take over his father without question. They talked a lot during that week and while they still had more to talk about, it was comforting to know that Cooper was there to stay.

They had decided to eat at Breadstix despite the long drive because it was Cooper's favorite place to eat when he was younger. He immediately joked about how the place hadn't changed and loved the fact that his favorite waitress from his college years was still there. Once they were seated in her section and their food was ordered, they chatted idly for a little while before everything shifted. Just as the waitress brought them their appetizer, Karofsky and Quinn walked into the restaurant. Kurt was the first to notice them. Once the initial shock of seeing them together subsided, fear took over and without realizing it, he began to shake slightly in his seat.

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"Kurt, what's wrong?" Blaine asked him. He followed Kurt's line of sight, tensing when he saw that Karofsky was watching them.

"What is it?" Jeff asked as he turned around, confusion and anger quickly seeping through his pores when he saw Quinn and Karofsky.

"Excuse me." Kurt said quickly as he got up from his seat and headed towards the restrooms. "Kurt, wait." Blaine called out as he followed him.

"What the hell is she doing here with him?" Jeff asked more to himself than to Nick and Cooper. "Who are they?" Cooper asked curiously.

"That's Quinn, Kurt's friend and Jeff's...kind of girlfriend, and that's Karofsky." Nick told him quietly, aware of the fact that Jeff was fuming.

"Karofsky? As in the reason Kurt's at Dalton?" Cooper asked curiously. During one of their many talks, Blaine had mentioned the problems with Karofsky. He hadn't gone into detail, but he told Cooper enough to let him know that he was not a good guy and that he should never be anywhere near Kurt.

"Yeah, that's him." Jeff said through gritted teeth.

"Alright then, we're leaving." Cooper said as he called the waitress over.

Blaine was singing softly to Kurt in the bathroom in attempts to calm him down. He was trying his best not to panic but the fact that Karofsky was just a few yards away was freaking him out big time. On top of that, the fact that Quinn was there with him both confused and angered him. She knew that Karofsky abused him. She knew that Kurt was terrified of him, yet there she was on an obvious date. He couldn't believe it and had he not seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn't have believed it. Blaine got a text from Cooper saying that they were leaving back to Dalton and ordering pizza instead so they quickly exited the bathroom and made their way to the front. Kurt was too afraid to feel bad for making everyone leave. If anything he was grateful that he could go back to the safety of Dalton.

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Jeff, who was waiting at the front door for them, told them that he needed to talk to Quinn and would be back in a few minutes. He waited until they were gone before walking over to where Quinn and Karofsky were sitting.

"I need to talk to you." he told her firmly.

"Get lost, homo! Can't you see I'm on a date?" Karofsky said irritably.

Jeff ignored Karofsky completely and kept his gaze on Quinn. "I need to talk to you, now."

Quinn sat frozen in place underneath Jeff's intense glare. Sure she wasn't really dating Karofsky but Jeff didn't know that and she truly cared about what Jeff thought. In the short amount of time they had spent together, Jeff had proven to her that not all men were dogs. He had shown her true compassion when she told him the truth about Beth, and while they hadn't had sex, he most certainly knew how to please her in ways that none of the other guys she had been with could. She liked Jeff a lot and now she was worried that she would lose him before she ever really had him.

"Are you deaf? I said get lost!" Karofsky snarled as he went to grab Jeff's arm. Jeff quickly grabbed Karofsky's hand, twisting it painfully before slamming it on the table.

"I was not talking you, asswipe." Jeff said angrily.

"Jeff." Quinn said softly in order to get his attention.

Jeff glanced at her for only a moment before releasing his hold on Karofsky's hand and walking away, Quinn close behind. Jeff walked towards the restrooms, entered the women's, making sure that it was empty before locking the door behind Quinn once she was inside.

"What the hell are you doing here with him?" he asked her angrily. "You are aware of who that is, right?" "Of course I know who it is." Quinn said quickly. "It's not what it looks like, I swear."

"No? So you aren't on a date with the same guy who molested Kurt?" He asked her sarcastically.

"No. I mean, yes. I mean-"

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"What? What do you mean? Why the hell are you on a fucking date with him, Quinn? Why?" Jeff asked her again.

"I-I can't tell you." Quinn said quietly.

"You can't tell me? Are you serious?" Jeff asked in disbelief. He swiftly closed the gap between him and Quinn, pinning her against the wall before talking again. "Does he know about us?" he asked her in a low voice. "Did you tell him about how good I make you feel? Does he touch you? Do you let him touch you like you let me touch you?" he asked her as he slipped his hand in-between her legs, loving the fact that he could make her wet so quickly, even though he was so angry with her. "Do you moan for him the way you do for me?" Before she could answer, he leaned in and kissed her roughly as his fingers rubbed her crotch. "Answer my question, Quinn." He said when they parted. "Do you let him touch you?"

"No! God, no! Of course not!" Quinn answered in a whine as Jeff removed his hand. "How could you even think that?"

"I don't know what to think. You're here on a date with him so you tell me. What the hell is going on?" he asked her seriously.

"I just...I can't tell you but I promise you that it isn't what you think." Quinn told him pleadingly.

"Fine. Don't tell me. Don't call me until you're ready to talk." Jeff said angrily before unlocking the door

and storming out.

"Jeff, wait!" Quinn called out but he was already gone. "Shit!" she said angrily as she kicked the bathroom stall. How was she supposed to get Jeff to believe her without telling him the entire truth? How was she going to tell him the truth without it getting back to Kurt?

"Oh, this is bad. This is so bad!" she mumbled to herself as she walked out of the bathroom.

She had no idea what she was going to do but she would have to figure it out. There was no way that she was letting someone as incredible as Jeff slip through her fingers because of their crazy plan. She walked back over to her table, ignoring the questioning looks from Karofsky and slammed her head on the table. The last thing she wanted to do was be there, but since Artie and Mike were once again sneaking into Karofsky's house, she had no choice. She would have to figure something out and soon. She was not about to lose Jeff.

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Later that night, Kurt and Blaine were lying down facing each other talking before heading off to sleep. They had tried to talk to Jeff about what had happened with Quinn but Jeff refused to tell them, only concerning them both more. What Quinn could possibly be doing with Karofsky was beyond their comprehension and they felt really bad for Jeff who had locked himself away in his room as soon as they returned.

"First Bastian and now Jeff? What the hell is going on with our friends?" Kurt asked sullenly as Blaine caressed his cheek.

"I don't know but whatever it is, it can't be good." Blaine replied sighing. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm ok. I have you after all and you did promise not to let him near me." Kurt said with small smile.

"I did and I intend to keep that promise." Blaine said seriously.

"I know." Kurt said softly.

"I'm glad to be back in school. I missed this." Blaine said sweetly as he kissed Kurt's fingers.

"Me too. I'm ready for classes to start. I need the distraction." Kurt said quietly.

"Yeah, me too." Blaine admitted.

"Are you sure you're ok?" Kurt asked him for probably the tenth time that day.

"Yeah, I am. Having Cooper back has just brought back a lot of old memories I wish stayed forgotten. But I'm ok." Blaine assured him.

"You know you can talk to me." Kurt replied softly as he reached over to play with Blaine's curls.

"I know. Trust me, just being here with you helps me." Blaine replied as he yawned. "Can we go to bed? I'm exhausted."

"Yeah, let's go to sleep." Kurt said as he own yawn escaped his lips. - 225 -

"Can I be the little spoon?" Blaine asked with a goofy grin.

"Sounds perfect to me." Kurt replied as he got adjusted.

Blaine hadn't told him the reason he wanted to be the little spoon was because of his nightmares. He was just glad that he had Kurt there with him. He hoped they slept soundly that night. He already hated that Cooper was worrying about him and he didn't want Kurt to worry too. He was stronger than this, he knew he was. As long as he was in the arms of the boy he loved then he would be safe. Or at least, he hoped he would.

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CHAPTER TWENTY

Cracks In The Wall

Blaine's running down the dark, empty corridor, desperation taking over as he tries to escape. He can't see who's after him but he hears their voice loud and clear as they taunt him.

"Blaine." The deep, distorted, menacing voice calls out, elongating his name. "Blaine."

Blaine turns a sharp corner, breathing heavily from exhaustion. He's been running for hours, never stopping to catch his breath in fear of the monster getting him. He can feel his legs warning to give out but he ignores it and keeps running, picking up his pace once more.

"Pathetic." The voice booms out. "Disgusting. Unworthy. Burden. Appalling. Pitiful. Repulsive. Condemned. WEAK!"

Blaine turns another corner, falling over his feet as his body gives out. He looks around quickly, noticing the faintest of lights in the distance. He attempts to stand up, only to fall once more. The voice laughs manically as it gets louder, closer.

"Blaine." It says again, amusement and victory evident.

"NO!" Blaine screams out as he crawls towards the light. "Get away!" The voice laughs once more as a heavy

shadow looms over Blaine. "No! NO!" Blaine screams out as he cowers in fetal position. "GET AWAY!"

Kurt was sound asleep with Blaine wrapped in his arms when Blaine began to thrash around. It took Kurt a minute to wake up and realize what was going on and when he finally did, his stomach clenched in worry. Blaine's face was scrunched in absolute fear as tears rolled down his cheeks. Kurt said his name a few times in attempts to wake Blaine up but all Blaine did was thrash more.

"NO!" Blaine yelled out. "Get away!"

"Blaine, wake up." Kurt said again but louder. "No! NO! GET AWAY!"

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"Blaine!" Kurt said loudly with a hint of desperation as he as he roughly shook Blaine's shoulder. "Baby, wake up. You're having a nightmare."

Kurt shook him a few times before Blaine suddenly shot up in the bed, gasping for air. Blaine looked around the room in a panic as Kurt sat up with him. Realizing he was at Dalton, Blaine let out a small chuckle of relief before a pained sob escaped his mouth.

"Hey, you're ok. Everything's fine. It was only a dream." Kurt said comfortingly as he pulled Blaine into an embrace. Blaine clung onto Kurt's shirt, inhaling deeply, taking comfort in Kurt's scent before nuzzling his head into Kurt's chest.

"Just a dream. Just a dream." Blaine mumbled to himself.

"It's ok, baby. I'm here, you're ok." Kurt said softly as he massaged comforting circles on Blaine's lower back.

They stayed like that for a good thirty minutes as Blaine tried to calm down. Kurt began to rock back and forth as he sang "Not Alone" to Blaine, knowing that the meaning of the song meant so much more to the both of them. Blaine started to sing along almost instantly, his grip still firmly on Kurt. When the song ended, Blaine took a few shaky breaths before releasing his hold on Kurt.

"Thank you." Blaine said just above a whisper.

"Of course, baby." Kurt said sincerely. "Are you ok?" he asked with concern.

"Y-yeah. Yeah, I'm ok." Blaine said nodding his head quickly, trying to convince himself more than trying to convince Kurt.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Kurt asked as he ran his fingers through Blaine's hair.

Despite Blaine shaking his head no, the words fell out of his mouth on their own. "Dark, too dark. Running, lots and lots of running. Couldn't get away. Couldn't get away." Tears fell down his cheek while he started to mumble to himself again as he recalled the dream.

"Hey, no, no. You're ok, everything's ok." Kurt said comfortingly as he wiped Blaine's tears away. "What do

you need me to do? Whatever it is, I'll do it."

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"Just...sing, please." Blaine replied desperately, breaking Kurt's heart. "Cooper j-just sings to me."

Kurt nodded as he leaned forward to kiss Blaine on the forehead. They laid back down, Kurt holding him tightly as his free hand ran through Blaine's curls, and sang softly as Blaine slowly drifted back to sleep. Only when Blaine was completely comfortable, only when he felt truly safe again did he fall asleep. Kurt stayed awake for a while longer, simply humming softly as he watched the sleeping boy in front of him. He may not have known the details of what happened to Blaine but he didn't need to. He would be there for Blaine the same way Blaine had been there for him. He was scared and worried for his beautiful boyfriend and he refused to let anything happen to him again, be it a dream or real life. He would be there till the end.

Blaine woke up around 10 that morning with Kurt's arm still tightly wrapped around his waist. His thoughts went instantly to the nightmare he had that night and he felt extremely guilty for waking Kurt up. He carefully turned his body so that he was face to face with Kurt, sighing softly as he gently caressed Kurt's cheek. I didn't want to worry him. Why did I have to have that damn nightmare? How am I supposed to be strong for him if I can't even get ahold of myself? Blaine lightly kissed Kurt on the cheek before getting out of bed. I'll let him sleep. He's probably exhausted from staying up with me. He walked over to the bathroom, freshened up, and walked out to find Kurt still sound asleep. Not wanting to make any more noise, he walked out of the room quietly, still dressed in his pajamas. He walked over to the common room where several of the Warblers were huddled together and talking in hushed but frantic whispers.

"Hey guys, what's going on?" Blaine asked the curiously.

"We're trying to figure out the best way to get Bastian and Thad talking." Nick told him.

"Still nothing, huh?" Blaine asked furrowing his eyebrows.

"Nope. Bastian won't leave the room and Thad won't leave his car." Beatz told him shaking his head. "Thad's in his car?" Blaine asked bemused.

"Yeah, he texted me a few minutes ago that he was here but he's refusing to leave his car." David told him.

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"Who's refusing to leave their car?" Blaine and the rest of the Warbler turned around to see a sleepy, bed- head Kurt walking over to them. Blaine couldn't help but smile at Kurt's disheveled appearance; it was his favorite.

"Thad is and Bastian won't leave the room." Beatz told him.

"Seriously?" Kurt asked slightly annoyed as he walked up behind Blaine to wrap his arms around his

waist. "What is wrong with those two?"

"They're idiots. That's what's wrong with them. How are we going to fix this?" Jeff asked the guys.

While the guys began to plot once more, Kurt nuzzled his nose in the crook of Blaine's neck before kissing him lightly. "Why didn't you wake me? I missed you this morning."

"You had a long night. I didn't want to disturb you." Blaine replied sweetly. "Your night was longer." Kurt said worriedly. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm ok." Blaine assured him with a loving smile. Kurt nodded in acceptance but made a mental note to talk to Blaine more about it later.

"Alright, here's what we're going to do. We're going to kidnap them both and then lock them up in the closet. The lack of space will force them to talk." Beatz said confidently.

"Yeah, if they don't suffocate first." Kurt quipped. "How about I go talk to Bastian, Blaine and Nick go talk to Thad, and then we lock them in their room until they talk it out. We can get a chair to hold the door." Kurt said.

"Sure, if you want to do it the easy way." Beatz said rolling his eyes.

"Don't bring Thad to the room until I text you." Kurt told Blaine. "Beatz, get that chair ready."

While Beatz went on a hunt for the perfect chair, Blaine and Nick grabbed their coats before heading outside and Kurt walked over to Sebastian's room.

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"Bastian?" Kurt called out as he knocked on the door. "Bastian, open up." After a few minutes of silence, Kurt tried again. "Open this damn door, Smythe!" He said in his diva voice as he pounded on the door.

"What, Hummel!" Sebastian snapped angrily as he opened the door abruptly. Kurt pushed passed Sebastian and walked into the room. "By all means, come in." Sebastian said sarcastically as he closed and locked the door behind him.

"Cut the crap, Bastian. What's going on with you and Thad?" Kurt asked straight to the point.

"I already told you. He freaked out and now he won't talk to me. Nothing's changed." Sebastian replied irritably as he sat on his bed.

"Well then, change it." Kurt told him firmly, granting him a glare from Sebastian. "I'm serious. Get your ass up, go wash up and make yourself pretty, and when Thad comes in here, talk to him. Simple as that."

"It's not that simple!" Sebastian snapped. "Don't you think I've tried talking to him?"

"Try harder. Tell him how you feel, how you really feel. Don't bullshit with him. He likes you too, you know. He's just scared that you don't feel the same way." Kurt told him. Sebastian looked at him questionably but said nothing. "Come on, I'm serious. Get your ass in that bathroom and I'll pick out an outfit for you." Sebastian rolled his eyes but got off the bed nonetheless.

While Sebastian washed up quickly, Kurt went through Sebastian's closet. Kurt picked out an outfit he knew would accentuate all of Sebastian's best assets before pulling his phone out to text Blaine.

How's it going with Thad? – Kurt

It's going. We've convinced him to come inside but he's still nervous about talking to Bastian. How're things up there? – Blaine

Things are good. Give me a few more minutes then bring him up. – Kurt

Kurt pocketed his phone just as Sebastian walked out of the bathroom. "Thad's coming up in a few minutes. Do you know what you're going to tell him?"

"Relatively." Sebastian replied flatly.

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"Don't worry, you'll be fine." Kurt assured him before walking towards the door. "Hey, Kurt?" Sebastian called out before Kurt opened the door.

"Hm?"

"Thanks." Sebastian said with a small smile.

"Thank me after you two make out." Kurt replied slyly as he opened the door. "Don't you mean make up?" Sebastian asked smirking.

"I meant what I said." Kurt said with a wink and walked out.

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Kurt waited around the corner with David and Beatz while Blaine and Nick came back up with Thad. They had told him that he wouldn't have to worry about talking to Sebastian right away because he wasn't in the room so when he opened the door to see Sebastian waiting for him, he instantly began to back away in panic. Beatz and David quickly shoved him back in the room before trapping them in with the chair.

"David! Open this door!" Thad said in his councilmen voice.

"No!" David shouted back. "Talk yo shit out!"

"For crying out loud." Thad mumbled to himself before turning around to look at Sebastian. He tried his best not to blush but couldn't help it as the memories of New Year's came rushing back. It didn't help that Sebastian was wearing fitting black jeans and a tight green polo shirt that did amazing things to his form. "So, how was your last week of vacation?" Thad asked quietly, avoiding Sebastian's gaze.

"Honestly? It was pretty shitty." Sebastian replied irritably. "You see, I had an amazing time with my best friend at Nick's house and then he decided to ignore my phone calls all week."

"I'm sorry, Bastian." Thad said meekly. "I just..."

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"You just what, Thad?" Sebastian asked as he took a step forward. "Do you have any idea how many times I called? How many voicemails I left? How many texts I sent? Why the hell didn't you reply? If it hadn't been for the guys telling me that you text them back I would've thought that you were lying in a damn ditch somewhere!"

"I'm sorry!" Thad nearly shouted. "I'm sorry for ignoring you!"

"Why the hell did you ignore me? Tell me the truth!" Sebastian said angrily.

"I freaked out, ok?! After what we did...I-I panicked! I didn't know what to do so I left and then I felt stupid for leaving so I ignored you! It was a mistake, ok? I'm sorry!" Thad replied with a hint of desperation.

"What was a mistake? Leaving and ignoring me or the fact that we had sex?" Sebastian asked him seriously.

"I-I...um..." Thad stammered for a minute, not knowing how to answer the question. "D-do you think what we did was a mistake?" he asked looking down, his voice as small as a mouse.

"No." Sebastian answered resolutely. "I don't think what we did was a mistake and I don't regret it either."

"Oh." Thad said surprised.

"Do you?" Sebastian asked quietly as he stepped closer once more. Thad didn't trust himself to speak so he shook his head slowly. "Then why did you leave? Why did you ignore me?"

"I was scared." Thad replied just above a whisper. "I-I thought that you'd regret it and I-I didn't think I could handle you telling me that..."

"Telling you what?" Sebastian asked curiously.

"That you didn't like me. That it was just because we were drunk and that it didn't mean anything." Thad said quietly, his eyes still downcast.

Sebastian closed the space between them, raised his hand to Thad's cheek, and gingerly lifted Thad's face so that they were looking at each other. "What we did meant the world to me, Thad." He said softly. "And

you're right, I don't like you. I love you."

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"You do?" Thad asked in shock.

"Yeah, I do. I have for a long time. I'm surprised you didn't figure it out." Sebastian said with a small smile.

"I thought about it, a few times. I thought that maybe you had feelings for me but I...I kept thinking that it was all in my head." Thad said truthfully.

"It wasn't." Sebastian said, his eyes locked with Thad's. "I...I love you too. Just so you know." Thad said blushing.

"Good. I was hoping you did." Sebastian replied before leaning forward and capturing Thad's lips in a soft kiss.

"You don't always have to be so gentle with me." Thad said as they parted. "I'm sorry?" Sebastian asked bemused.

"I've always wondered what it'd be like to be with you and I uh, I always thought that you'd be...rougher, like you were with all the guys. I never anticipated you to be so sweet." Thad replied bashfully.

"I'm sweet with you because I'm in love with you. The other guys never mattered." Sebastian said as he stroked Thad's cheek. "But if you want me to be rougher, I'll happily oblige." He said mischievously as he pressed his body against Thad's.

"How's it going in there?" Kurt asked Beatz who was sitting on the chair against the door.

"I don't know. They were fighting for a little bit but it got really quiet a few minutes ago." Beatz told him. Do you think we should-" Beatz was abruptly interrupted by a loud behind him. He quickly stood up from the chair, pulled it out, and leaned into the door. "Are you two ok in there?"

The door opened quickly, revealing an already disheveled Sebastian. "Unless you want to stay for the show, I suggest you get the hell away from our door." He said seriously before slamming the door and locking it.

"Well, then. I think they've made up." Beatz said as he straightened himself out. - 234 -

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"Yes, obviously." Kurt said laughing as they walked away from the door.

Beatz and Kurt walked back over to the common room where the guys were talking excitedly about their upcoming Warbler rehearsal where they would be discussing their plans for Regionals. Kurt noticed that Blaine wasn't amongst them so he went back to their room to see if he was there. He walked into the room just as Blaine pulled his shirt off over his head. Kurt stood there for a moment, his eyes roaming Blaine's bare back hungrily. Blaine turned around as Kurt continued to stare, smirking mischievously as Kurt bit his lower lip at the sight.

"See something you like?" Blaine asked him, raising his eyebrow.

Kurt titled his head to the side as he walked over to Blaine. He placed his hands on Blaine's hips, hooking his index fingers in the elastic of Blaine's pajama bottoms, and leaned in ever so slightly so that his lips barely brushed against Blaine's.

"Maybe." Kurt replied coyly before kissing him.

Blaine placed his hands on Kurt's lower back, letting a few fingers graze the skin, while Kurt kept one hand on Blaine's hip and the other trailed up Blaine's chest. Kurt would usually be more careful about the amount of skin on skin contact between him and Blaine but the week away had been torture. He needed to feel Blaine's skin. He needed to revel in the beauty of his boyfriend. Blaine let Kurt have the control over what they did for the next few minutes, shivering at the way Kurt's fingers felt on his chest. He didn't want to push Kurt or scare him away but the thought of Kurt's bare chest against his made him tug on the back of Kurt's shirt roughly. Kurt broke away from the kiss for a moment, his own lust filled eyes locked on Blaine's, almost pleading at him to do it. Blaine let his fingers graze the bottom of Kurt's back for only a moment before grabbing the shirt and pulling it off. They stood a few inches apart for a minute, both of their eyes roaming the others body.

Kurt closed his eyes, breathing deeply as Blaine's hand gingerly trailed his chest. "You're so beautiful." Blaine whispered.

Kurt opened his eyes before wrapping his arms around Blaine's neck and stepping forward so their bodies were pressed together. A small, involuntary moan escaped Blaine's mouth while Kurt gasped in surprise

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at how amazing something as simple as skin felt. Kurt attached his lips to Blaine, kissing him passionately as they walked over to the bed. When the back of Blaine's knees touched the edge of the bed, he slowly sat down, bringing Kurt with him. Before either could truly realize what was happening, Kurt was straddling Blaine on the bed, kissing fervently as their hands roamed each other's body. Blaine's hand slowly traveled down Kurt's back, sending a shiver of pleasure up Kurt's spine.

Kurt subconsciously grinded his hips down against Blaine's erection, making boys moan in to the kiss. Kurt backed away slightly, his eyes locking with Blaine's, searching for doubt but finding nothing but love and lust. He smirked devilishly at Blaine before experimentally grinding down again to then be rewarded with the most delicious sound he'd ever heard come from Blaine. He tightened his thighs on either side of Blaine and began grinding slowly as he left light, feathery kisses on Blaine's jaw.

"Kurt, y-you g-gotta stop doing that." Blaine said in-between moans.

"What if I don't want to?" Kurt whispered seductively in Blaine's ear. Kurt was challenging him and he knew it. Blaine let his hands cup around Kurt's ass, squeezing hard just as Kurt grinded down once more.

"Blaine!" Kurt moaned in pleasure and surprise. Blaine chuckled softly against Kurt's neck before doing it again. "Shit!"

Kurt kissed Blaine hard as his body started to grind harder, faster. Blaine wrapped his arms tightly around Kurt's waist before flipping them on the bed, Kurt securely pinned underneath him. Kurt looked at Blaine intently, letting him know that yes, he was ok. Kurt had always been in charge when it came to their relationship, be it physical or emotional; he was the one that got to decide how fast and how far. This time around, Kurt laid there wanting nothing more than to have Blaine take control; he wanted Blaine to claim him even. He would not push Blaine off nor would he tell him to stop. He wanted, he needed Blaine to decide the next step. Blaine took in Kurt's trusting eyes, smiling lovingly at the fact that Kurt had come so far. He leaned forward, capturing Kurt's lips in a passionate kiss before grinding his erection against Kurt's.

Kurt moaned unashamedly as his fingers wrapped themselves around Blaine's curls. Blaine moved his lips from Kurt's mouth and down his jaw, nipping lightly in between kisses. As Blaine continued to grind hard against Kurt, Kurt moaned loudly at all the sensations going through his body. At one point amongst the grinding, kissing, and panting, the front of their pajama bottoms lowered on their bodies and the heads of their cocks rubbed against each other, skin on skin. Blaine mewled at the new contact and grinded down

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harder, desperate for the contact again. After a few more thrusts, Blaine lowered his hand and in one swift motion, he pulled his pajama bottoms down enough to let his throbbing cock free. He then pulled Kurt's pants down before placing his cock right against Kurt's and grinding down.

"Holy shit!" Kurt moaned as he threw his head back. "Blaine!" he said as his hands reached for Blaine's ass. He squeezed roughly, forcing Blaine to grind down harder against him.

"Kurt! Fuck!" Blaine growled before attaching his lips to Kurt's neck.

Blaine continued to suck on Kurt's neck with ferocity as they grinded against each other in a fast rhythm. Blaine felt the familiar coil in his abdomen indicating he was close so he stopped his attack on Kurt's neck and leaned into his ear.

"Come, Kurt. Come for me." Blaine said in a low, demanding voice, sending Kurt's senses overdrive.

Kurt mewled as he came hard against Blaine's stomach, sending Blaine over the edge in the process. Blaine continued grinding as they came, slowing their pace down and loosening his grip on Kurt's thigh. They laid there panting for a few minutes, both trying to come down from their pleasure high. Blaine finally peeled his sweaty, sticky body off Kurt, walked over to the bathroom to grab a wash cloth, and cleaned both himself and Kurt off. Kurt sat up in the bed, leaned up the wall, and opened his legs and arms so that Blaine could sit in-between. Blaine snuggled into Kurt's body, sighing contently as Kurt stroked his arm. Kurt didn't want to ruin the moment between them but he still had to talk to Blaine so he took the opportunity to do so. He hoped their actives had relaxed Blaine enough to let him in.

"Blaine, can we talk?" Kurt asked him softly.

"Of course. What about?" Blaine replied sleepily.

"It's about last night." Kurt said cautiously.

Blaine stiffened slightly but didn't move. "What about last night?" "Blaine." Kurt said firmly, prompting Blaine to look up at him.

Blaine saw the concern and seriousness behind Kurt's eyes and sighed as he sat up straighter. "What do

you want to know?"

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"I just...I want to make sure you're ok." Kurt said quietly.

"I'm fine, Kurt. I promise." Blaine tried to assure him but he wasn't convinced. "Baby, I'm serious. I'm ok." "You keep telling me that but..."

"But what?"

"But I know that you haven't had any nightmares for a long time. I was really worried about you last night." Kurt said softly. "I want you to talk to me the way I've talked to you. I want to be here for you but I can't help you if you don't let me in."

Blaine looked at Kurt lovingly, knowing that he was right. He really didn't want to worry Kurt but he knew that Kurt wouldn't let it go. "Ok. Yes, things are little hard right now but it's just because Cooper's back. Telling him everything and opening up all those wounds...it messed with my head a little. But I promise you that I'm ok. I have you and the guys to keep me mellow. As long as you keep singing to me, I'll be fine."

"Are you absolutely sure?" Kurt asked him seriously. "I don't need to call Cooper or your grandmother or anything?"

"Yes, I'm sure. There's no need to call them. As long as I have you, I'm fine." Blaine assured him. "Alright." Kurt said a little reluctantly with a shrug. "You'll tell me if something's wrong though, right?"

"Yes, if something is wrong, I will tell you." Blaine told him before turning his body so that he could wrap his arms around Kurt's waist. "I love you. Thank you being here and caring so much for me."

"I will always be here for you, always." Kurt said seriously as he tightened his grip on Blaine. "I love you too."

That first week back had been a quick one. The teachers were eager to get the year started off right, many of them assigning tons of homework their first day back. Throughout the week, Kurt watched Blaine, waiting to see if the falling pieces were going to show. It surprised him how collected and carefree Blaine was during the day when at night he was waking up to horrible nightmares. Blaine had a nightmare every single night that week but he continued to tell Kurt that he was fine. From what Kurt understood, his nightmares were relatively the same thing; he'd be running for hours, running away from the monster to

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then eventually fall and wake up right before the shadow got him. Kurt wondered who the shadow was but never asked. He had the feeling that it was Blaine's father though. He was worried, really worried, but Blaine insisted that he was ok. Instead of questioning Blaine, Kurt decided to simply be there and watch closely in case something went wrong.

Come Friday afternoon, Kurt and Blaine, along with all the Warblers, were thrilled to have their first rehearsal of the New Year. Despite the constant arguing over song choices and the grueling hours, it was still their favorite part of the week. This Warbler rehearsal was no different than any other; the boys would come in, fool around until Wes commanded their attention, they would do their warm-ups, sing a few songs, and then listen to the council talk about what was needed.

"Good job tonight, boys. That was a great first rehearsal." Wes said proudly. "We have a few announcements concerning Regionals and then you can be on your way."

"Warbler Blaine brought us an idea that we all agree would be our best bet for winning. Instead of having two solos, we will have one solo and one duet." David informed them, the room instantly breaking out in excited chatter.

"Order!" Wes yelled out banging his gavel. "You may continue Warbler David."

"The solo will go to Blaine since he was unanimously chosen at the beginning of the school year. The duet however, is up for grabs. We will be hold auditions the next two weeks. No favoritism will be shown. Everyone will have a fair shot. Instead of us, the council members choosing, we will be putting it up to a vote after the final audition. How does that sound?" David asked the group smiling.

The Warblers hooted and cheered in agreement and excitement, many of them already planning an audition in their heads. Wes dismissed them for the night and while most went back up to their dorms, a few went to their cars to head home. Among those few was Jeff.

Quinn pulled up to Jeff's house late that Saturday night. She hadn't planned on telling him anything, but after a week of zero contact with him, she couldn't help it. She still wasn't sure what she was going to tell him but she needed to see him. The fact that Jeff had somehow snuck his way into her heart so quickly

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scared the hell out of her. It scared her that she felt so strongly about him and it scared her that she was so willing to break the rules for him. The thought of losing him however, scared her more. She sat in her car for a few minutes, trying to convince herself that it was bad idea and to just go home. She couldn't though. She couldn't turn her car back on and she couldn't drive away. She needed to see Jeff, even if it meant telling him the truth. She finally got out of her car and walked over to the front door, hoping that it was Jeff who answered and not his parents. After a few knocks, a sleepy Jeff opened the door for her.

"Quinn?" he said bemused.

"Hey." She said, he voice small and shy. "Can we talk?" Jeff eyed her for a moment before nodding and letting her in.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

Overheard

Quinn followed Jeff up the stairs and towards his room silently. She had planned out their conversation in her head that entire week but now that she was actually there, she had no clue where she was going to start. Jeff stood by his bedroom door as Quinn entered the room. He closed the door behind her, locked it, and then leaned up against it as Quinn walked over to his window. He knew that she wouldn't be there unless she wanted to talk and he needed to hear what she had to say, be it good or bad. He also knew that he needed to keep his distance from her. He had quickly learned that she was like a drug to him and he couldn't risk falling into her grasp before she told him what was going on. After a few minutes of awkward silence, Quinn finally spoke up.

"You know, when I was younger, all I wanted was to be popular. I would see all the pretty girls talking to their friends and their boyfriends and I hated them because I wanted to be them so badly. When my own awkwardness passed and we moved here, I became that girl. I became the girl that everyone loved to hate; cheerleading captain, dating the quarterback, tormenting people like Rachel and Kurt. I became someone I never truly was."

Jeff stayed put as Quinn continued talking. He couldn't figure out where she was going with the conversation but he could tell that it wasn't a conversation she wanted to have.

"When I got pregnant with Beth...none of that popularity meant anything. Just as quickly as I climbed the totem pole, that's how quickly I fell back down. Faster even. I had forgotten how it felt like to be a loser until Karofsky and his cavemen slushied me." She said bitterly.

"Then why the hell are you dating him?" Jeff asked irritably.

"Because it's what I needed to do." Quinn replied simply. "When the school turned its back on me, it was the Glee club that took me in. It didn't matter that I tortured most of them. They accepted me. Kurt was very sweet to me throughout the whole thing and I don't think I'll ever truly make it up to him. Once the baby was born and I got back on the Cheerios...I lost sight of what's really important. I knew something was wrong with him. I knew that Karofsky was torturing him more than usual but...I was too self-involved to really see what was going on."

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Jeff stepped away from his door and started slowly walking over to Quinn, eager to hear more. "I still don't understand why you're dating him. How does this all fit in, Quinn?"

Quinn took a deep breath before continuing, aware of the fact that Jeff was just a foot or so away, and ignoring the way her heart raced. "I feel terrible about what happened to him." She said quietly, her voice wavering. "I hate myself for caring so much about what everyone else thought and I hate myself for ignoring the signs that were there. We all do. That's why we're getting Karofsky back."

"What do you mean you're getting him back?" Jeff asked curiously.

"I can't tell you the details, Jeff, please don't make me. But...that's why I'm dating Karofsky. It's my cover in our plan. Trust me, I hate that I have to pretend to be with him but I was the best choice. I'm the one who lost it all when I got pregnant. I'm the only one who's enough of a bitch to date someone like him for status quo." She told him shaking her head.

Jeff walked right up to Quinn, placed his hands on her hips, and nuzzled his face into the back of her head, inhaling her scent, making her quiver slightly. "Does he know you're using him for popularity?" he asked her lowly.

"Yeah, he knows. Hell, he's using me too. As far as he knows, I'm only dating him to increase my popularity and he only agreed to date me so it could stop the gay rumors about him. Not that there were ever really any rumors. Puckerman's just really good at fooling people." Quinn said chuckling.

"So then tell me, Quinn." Jeff said quietly into Quinn's ear. "Tell me this great plan that involves you dating that jackass."

"I-I can't. I-I shouldn't even b-be telling you that there is one." Quinn stammered. It was getting harder for her to think with Jeff's breath on her neck. "Just k-know that when it's all d-done and said, he'll be outed and destroyed. I'll f-finish him off by telling everyone that h-he refused to touch me o-or be with me sexually."

"I see." Jeff said before planting delicate kisses on her neck. "And what if this plan doesn't work? Then what?"

"It will." Quinn replied breathlessly.

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The way Quinn responded was all Jeff needed to turn her around. He planned on getting more answers from her still but he needed to be with her. She was too intoxicating to ignore any longer. He looked at her intently, trying to remind himself that he was still angry with her but he couldn't resist. He pulled her hips roughly, pressing their bodies together as the hard in his pajama bottoms grew, and kissed her passionately. Quinn instantly melted into the kiss, wrapping one arm around his neck while the other gripped at his shirt.

After New Year's night and the week straight they spent together, not seeing each other or talking at all for that entire next week was torture on both of them. Jeff made Quinn feel like she was the only thing that mattered in the world. In turn, Quinn made Jeff feel invincible. There was something strong between them that neither understood but both were desperate for it. After a short while of kissing fervently, Jeff guided Quinn to his bed, wanting nothing more than to show her how much he had missed her.

An hour or so later, Quinn and Jeff lay naked on Jeff's bed; Quinn's arm wrapped Jeff's torso, her head resting on his chest with Jeff's arm around her body. The comfortableness between them was something they both truly adored and both knew that the day they actually had sex would be a day that they wouldn't forget. Jeff wanted to lay there for the rest of the night enjoying the way Quinn's body felt against his but they still needed to finish talking.

"Baby-doll, are you awake?" he asked her softly.

"Mhm." She replied with a content sigh.

"Quinn...I need to tell Kurt." Jeff told her cautiously.

"What?!" Quinn replied in a panic as she sat up quickly. "You can't! He can't know!" "Baby-doll, I have to." Jeff said softly as he sat up with her.

"Why? Why can't you just keep this between us?" Quinn asked him a little angrily. "Because he's my friend! He deserves to know!" Jeff replied defensively.

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Contents "Jeff, please! Please don't tell him! If he finds out then he's going to try and stop us and this is something we need to do. Karofsky deserves everything we're going to do to him and more! Please, please don't tell

Kurt!" Quinn begged.

"What if your plan doesn't work? What if you fail and he decides to come after Kurt? Then what?" Jeff asked her seriously.

"The plan is going to work, trust me. He won't be able to come after Kurt. Once it's done, his life will be completely ruined here. I wouldn't be surprised if his dad moves them away. Just...please don't tell Kurt! It's not just that he'll try and stop us. If he knows what we're doing, he's going to freak out big time. We don't want him to panic or start cutting again because of our stupidity. And yes I know, what we're doing is stupid but it's a stupid decision we've made and there's no choice other than to keep going with the plan. Kurt can't know. Please, Jeff!" Quinn replied desperately.

Jeff sat there quietly for a moment as he weighed the pros of cons of not telling Kurt; the biggest con being that Kurt would be furious with him if he ever found out that he knew about it. He knew Quinn was right though. While he doubted that Kurt would start cutting again, simply because it's hard to do something so drastic in the walls of Dalton without getting caught, he knew that Kurt would indeed panic. He would panic a lot and he would probably start having nightmares again and that was something Jeff couldn't risk.

"How long?" Jeff asked her sighing.

"Until everything happens?" Quinn asked him.

"Until everything happens." He confirmed. "Better yet, how long do I have lie to one of my closest friends for you?"

Quinn cringed at the anger behind his question. She knew she was asking a lot from him but she couldn't let Kurt find out. "It's happening right after Regionals."

"That's like 2 months away!" Jeff nearly shouted. "You want me to lie to Kurt for two months? Are you crazy? Have you seen angry Kurt?"

"I know, I know. Just...please." Quinn said softly.

Jeff sighed loudly as he ran his fingers through his hair. "Fine." - 244 -

"Really?" Quinn asked relieved.

"Yes, really. But I'm not happy about this at all." Jeff said firmly.

"I know, I'm sorry. Thank you." Quinn said sincerely.

"Don't thank me. You're just lucky I like you so damn much." Jeff teased. "Come lay back down." "Actually, I should be getting home. I don't want my parents to worry." She replied sadly.

Truthfully, it wasn't that she didn't want her parents to worry; it was the fact that she was afraid of staying the night with him. They had talked about if and when they had sex, it would be Quinn who initiated it because of everything that happened with Puckerman and Beth. But she knew that at the end of the day, she wasn't the boss, Jeff was. If Jeff wanted more, if he pushed ever so slightly, she would fall apart for him and that scared her. She didn't think that he would actually make that move but that didn't stop her nervousness.

"No, don't!" Jeff said quickly. "Stay with me. My parents are gone this weekend so it'll just be us and the kids tomorrow. I'll make us all breakfast and we can hang out."

"I don't know, Jeff." Quinn said biting her lip.

"I'll be good, I promise. No funny business." He assured her. "Didn't we just do that?" Quinn asked teasingly.

"Ok, yeah, but no more. We'll get dressed and just cuddle until we fall asleep." Jeff said smiling. "Come on, baby-doll. I was going crazy not talking to you all week and now that you're here I don't want to let go. Please stay with me."

Quinn wanted to say no, she really did, but with Jeff pouting at her like an adorable puppy, she couldn't say no. "Alright, fine. I'll stay."

"Yes!" Jeff said excitedly before leaning forward to kiss her, letting his hand trial up her thigh.

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"You're right, I'm sorry. I'll be good and get dressed right now." Jeff said seriously before attempting to get out of his bed.

"Hey, no, no. Don't get up." Quinn said stopping him. "Maybe a little more funny business won't be so bad." She said mischievously.

"Whatever you say. You're the boss." Jeff replied before attaching his lips to her neck and making her giggle. They ended up not fooling around anymore after that but they did talk more and Jeff took every opportunity to make her laugh. He decided to enjoy his night and weekend as much as he could because come Monday, he would see Kurt and he would have to keep his mouth shut. At least, he hoped he could keep his mouth shut.

During those next two weeks, things at Dalton became routine again. Their days were filled with school, three nights a week they had Warbler rehearsal, and their weekends consisted of tons of homework. Jeff had somehow managed to keep Quinn's secret away from Kurt but that didn't mean that it was easy. He often avoided hanging out with Kurt alone for fear of spilling his guts but Kurt hadn't noticed. His mind was too wrapped up in Blaine. As the days went by and school took over, Blaine's nightmares stopped. He only had a few that second week and had been fortunate enough not have any that next week. Kurt still watched him closely though, never once revealing to Blaine his worries. He was glad that Blaine had stopped dreaming but he couldn't help but feel like it was only the beginning of it all.

Blaine, who admittedly was feeling better since the dreams had stopped, had somehow convinced Kurt to sing a duet with him for Regionals. They were the last couple to audition and come Friday afternoon, Kurt was in total panic.

"I can't do this." Kurt mumbled to himself while they waited for the council to call them in. "Yes, you can." Blaine assured him. "You are amazing in this song."

"You're biased, your opinion doesn't count." Kurt quipped.

"Oh, come on! We're going to be great. You are going to be great." Blaine said excitedly.

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"And what if we get chosen? Hm? What if everyone decides that we were so great that we're the ones who get to sing the duet at Regionals?" Kurt asked in a panic.

"That's kind of the point, Kurt." Blaine said smirking.

"Ok, yes, I know but that means I have to sing by myself in front of the audience! What if I fall? What if I forget the words? What if I open my mouth and nothing comes out? What if-"

"Baby, relax." Blaine said sincerely. "None of those things is going to happen."

"How do you know?" Kurt asked crossing his arms. "Are you some kind of psychic now?"

Blaine chuckled and shook his head as he took Kurt in his arms. "I know because I have faith in you. What happened to not being scared anymore?"

"Well, I-"

"What happened to going to Broadway and becoming a huge star?"

"Yeah but-"

"You can't be on Broadway if you're too afraid to be on stage." Blaine pointed out sighing. "I'm not afraid!" Kurt snapped. "I just..."

"Do you trust me?" Blaine asked him seriously.

"You know I do." Kurt said sighing.

"Well then, trust me. When we win the guys over and they chose us to sing the duet, we will blow the competition out of the water. You will go up there like a true performer and you will make the audience fall in love with you and we will win." Blaine said confidently.

"Are you sure about this?" Kurt asked softly.

"I'm positive." Blaine assured him before leaning in for a chaste kiss. - 247 -

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"Ok." Kurt nodded as he took a deep breath.

A few minutes later, David opened the doors and let them know that they were ready for their performance. Blaine gave Kurt a comforting hug before they walked into the room together. Blaine had been planning this performance since the first time he heard Kurt sing "Perfect". There was so much emotion behind the words when Kurt sang them that he couldn't help but feel overwhelmed whenever he watched Kurt sing the song. He knew it would be the same for everyone else. They had planned their performance out to the detail. They weren't just singing, they were telling a story. Kurt sang out to the boys, letting his emotions drip in the words. While he sang to the boys, Blaine sang to him.

Kurt never turned his attention to Blaine. His job was to win the audience over by singing directly to them. Blaine's job was to sing to Kurt as if he was the voice in the back of Kurt's mind. When Blaine rapped, he sang the words to the boys the same way Kurt had. Kurt simply swayed off to the side, bopping his head to the beat as if he was listening to the song through head phones. They finished the song strong, both putting all their emotion into the lyrics. When the song ended, the room erupted in applause. Both boys bowed and thanked their friends before sitting down on one of the couches.

"That was outstanding! Great job, guys!" Wes said proudly. "Talk amongst yourselves for a few minutes and get ready to vote for who you feel should perform at Regionals." he told the rest of the boys.

In those next few minutes, the council members joined in the chitchat as they too decided who they would be voting for. There were several duets that could be great for the competition but they needed to pick the one that would help them win. Wes called order and within the next ten minutes, the Warblers wrote their vote on a sheet of paper for counting. Once the voting was complete, the council members walked out of the room to tally the results.

During the wait, Cooper had called Blaine to let him know that he was in the parking lot waiting for him. Wes had demanded earlier in the week that everyone who could visit their family that weekend to do so. Once their decision on songs was officially made, no Warbler would be allowed to go home unless it was an emergency because they would be rehearsing non-stop for the next four weeks. That meant five days straight of rehearsal, Tuesday through Saturday, Saturday's rehearsal being an all day one.

A short while later, Wes, David, and Thad walked back in the room with smiles plastered on their face. They were happy about the results and the excitement for Regionals was starting to set in. Wes announced that by merely a few votes, Kurt and Blaine would the ones to sing at Regionals. They then

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decided that Blaine would sing "Raise Your Glass" as his solo, saying that the song fit perfectly with the idea of singing to the audience instead of at them like most show choirs do. Once they were dismissed, most of them quickly grabbed their things from their dorms and headed out of the building to go home.

"We better enjoy this weekend. It'll be the last one our families see us alive." Blaine said jokingly as he and Kurt walked out of the building and towards the parking lot.

"I know." Kurt replied laughing. "How many of the guys do you think will fake in sick for Saturday's rehearsal?"

"None if they're smart. Wes is a Nazi when it comes to competition. We have a better chance at surviving his ridiculous schedule if we just go along with it. If we try and get out of it for a non-emergency reason, he will...I don't even know but he gets scary." Blaine said shaking his head.

"We just need to take the gavel away." Kurt said seriously just as they entered the parking lot. Waiting for them and talking amongst themselves was Cooper and Burt.

"Evening, boys. How was rehearsal?" Cooper asked as he gave them both a quick greeting hug. "It was fantastic!" Blaine said excitedly. "Kurt and I got the duet for Regionals."

"You're singing a duet for Regionals?" Burt asked Kurt in surprise. "You never told me that."

"I didn't want to say anything until we knew for sure." Kurt shrugged.

"Well, I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do up there. I'm proud of you, kiddo." Burt said as he attempted to ruffle up Kurt's hair.

"Dad! Not the hair!" Kurt said irritably as he ducked away from Burt, making him, Cooper and Blaine laugh.

"We should get going, Blaine." Cooper told his little brother. "It was great meeting you, Burt. We'll have that chat real soon." He said as he shook Burt's hand.

"Looking forward to it, Cooper." Burt said nodding before turning to walk to the driver's side of his car. - 249 -

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"I'll see you Sunday." Blaine said sadly to Kurt.

"See you Sunday." Kurt sighed with a pout. They kissed each other lovingly for a moment, both ignoring the snickering from Cooper and the loud sigh from Burt. A lingering hug and a goodbye later, they were on the road headed home.

Finn was gone that entire weekend of Kurt being home. Burt and Carole told him that he was staying at Puck's because they too were working hard on songs for Regionals. While Kurt was saddened by the fact that he wouldn't have the chance to hang out with Finn, he was also relieved. He didn't want to accidentally tell him that he was singing a duet with Blaine. He wanted it to be a surprise. He spent that Saturday hanging at out at the shop with his dad, talking about school, his friends, and Blaine. At one point Kurt remembered Cooper and his dad talking about having a chat together and he had yet to ask him what it was about.

"Hey, Dad, what were you and Cooper talking about?" Kurt asked him curiously as he flipped through a magazine.

"What do you mean?" Burt asked from underneath the hood of a car.

"Cooper said something to you about chatting real soon. What's he talking about?" Kurt asked as he set the magazine down.

"Oh, that." Burt replied with a chuckle. "We're going to talk about summer plans."

"Summer plans?" Kurt said bemused.

"Yeah. We both agree that you and Blaine are better when you're together so we're going to sit down and plan the summer out. That way you two will be with each other but still around family." Burt replied smiling, glancing sideways at Kurt.

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"Seriously? That'd be great!" Kurt exclaimed. An entire summer with Blaine? Yeah, I like that idea a lot! "Don't get too excited. They have vacation plans just like we do but we're going to try out best to make

sure you two are together. Ok?" Burt said seriously.

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"Yes, ok! That's totally fine! Plan away my dear father, plan away." Kurt replied happily before returning to his Vogue.

Saturday came and left quickly and before Kurt could realize it, it was Sunday afternoon. He was walking down the stairs to wait for Jeff who was going to pick him up when he overheard Finn talking in his room. He's home? He didn't even come say hi to me. Kurt reached for the doorknob to open the door but stopped when he heard what Finn was talking about.

"Yeah, man, I just saw the finished video. It's perfect. It starts off right as he does that line and it cuts off just as they get naked." What the hell is he talking about? "The party's the weekend after Regionals. Karofsky's not going to know what hit him!" Wait, what?! Kurt quickly opened the door, startling Finn in the process.

"Kurt? When did you get here?" Finn asked confused.

"Friday night." Kurt replied as he crossed his arms. "You would've known that if you actually stayed home this weekend."

"I'm sorry, dude. I was Puck's rehearsing-"

"Rehearsing or plotting against Karofsky?" Kurt cut in, his eyes blazing with anger.

"Wh-what do you mean?" Finn asked dumbly, his face several shades paler.

"Don't play stupid, Finn!" Kurt snapped. "I just heard you talking about some video, a party, and Karofsky. Don't lie to me! You guys are plotting against him after you promised not to, aren't you?"

"Um..."

"Damn it, Finn! You promised!" Kurt shouted.

"Dude, I'm sorry!" Finn said pleadingly. "We couldn't let him get away with-"

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"He already did! He already got away with it, Finn! What do you think's going to happen after this disastrous plan of yours fails? Huh? He's going to come after me! That's what going to happen! I can't believe you guys!" Kurt screamed before storming out of the room.

"Puck, I gotta go!" Finn said quickly before hanging up the phone. "Kurt, wait!" Finn ran after Kurt down the stairs, grabbing him by the shoulder to get his attention. "Wait! Would you just listen to me, please?!"

"Why?! Why should I? You didn't listen to me so why in the hell should I listen to you?" Kurt asked angrily. "Dude, I know but this plan is foolproof!" Finn said, trying to reason with him.

"No plan is foolproof! Especially with you guys! I can't believe you went behind my back! I trusted you!" Kurt yelled, his eyes filling up with tears.

"Kurt-"

Finn was interrupted by the doorbell and Kurt couldn't be more thrilled. The last thing he wanted to do was listen to more lies from Finn. He stormed over to the door, opening it abruptly and walking out before Jeff could even say hello.

"Jeff, get in the car now!" Kurt yelled as he opened the passenger side door of Jeff's canary yellow Mustang.

Jeff cringed at the shrill in Kurt's voice and quickly got back in his car. He turned the engine on before going to ask Kurt what was wrong but stopped when Kurt immediately put the radio on. Kurt messed with the dial for a few minutes, looking for a station he could listen to as Jeff pulled out of the driveway. When he found the one he wanted, he put it on full blast before staring out the window angrily. Jeff decided to wait until Kurt cooled off a bit before asking him what's wrong, partly because he didn't want to push Kurt but mostly because he was afraid of getting yelled at.

About an hour into the drive, Kurt was no longer scowling out the window, but biting the inside of his cheek anxiously. Jeff could tell that Kurt was no longer on the verge of murder so he turned the radio down to talk to him.

"So, you want to tell me what's wrong?" Jeff said cautiously. - 252 -

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Kurt sat there quietly for a moment before answering. "The New Directions are going to get revenge on Karofsky after they promised me they wouldn't." he said shakily.

"How'd you find that out?" Jeff asked, shifting in his seat.

"I overheard Finn talking to Puck about it right before you picked me up." Kurt replied, looking down at his hands. "Don't they see how bad this is going to turn out? Don't they understand that he'll come looking for me afterwards? "

Jeff looked at Kurt worriedly for a moment, contemplating whether or not he should say something. After a few minutes of silence, he couldn't take it anymore. "Kurt, I need to tell you something."

Kurt looked over at Jeff curiously, noticing the guilty look in his eyes. "What?"

"Quinn told me about the plan a couple of weeks ago." Jeff admitted quietly.

"You knew and you didn't tell me?!" Kurt screeched.

"I know, I know! I'm so sorry! I wanted to tell you but I couldn't!" Jeff said quickly.

"Why the hell not! We're friends, Jeff! Why the hell would you keep this from me?" Kurt asked him, more hurt than angry.

"Because I worried that if you found out you'd start having nightmares again." Jeff said softly. "And not that I agree with their plan or anything, but they didn't want you to find out because they thought you'd start cutting again."

"Damn it, Jeff!" Kurt said as he kicked the glove compartment.

"I'm really, really sorry, Kurt. I wasn't trying to betray you, I swear. I just didn't want you to freak out." Jeff said sadly.

"Yeah, that worked out marvelously didn't it." Kurt replied sarcastically.

They sat there quietly for another few minutes before Jeff spoke up again. "Are you mad at me?"

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Kurt glared at him for a moment, wanting Jeff to think that yes, he was mad at him even though he really wasn't. "No, I'm not mad at you." he finally said looking away. "I'm a little hurt that you didn't tell me but I guess I understand. I am furious with them though. Be sure to tell Quinn just how pissed off I am next time you talk to her." He said through gritted teeth.

"Will do." Jeff said simply, not wanting to set Kurt off again. They didn't talk the rest of the way back to Dalton.

Blaine had a fairly good weekend with his brother and grandmother. He spent most of his time doing his homework while Cooper typed away at his laptop. It was nice to just be around his brother again. It made him feel safe. When they weren't working, they talked about life. They talked about Blaine's dreams and goals, they talked about their future plans, and they talked about Kurt. Listening to Blaine talk about Kurt was Cooper's favorite. He loved the way that Blaine's eyes lit up at the mention of his boyfriend. It didn't matter that they had been separated for so many years. Their relationship was stronger than ever and Cooper promised himself always be there for Blaine, no matter what happened.

Late Sunday afternoon, Blaine had everything he needed for school packed away in his car. He would miss Cooper and Grams the next four weeks but he was glad to be getting back. He missed Kurt more. He walked over to the study to tell Cooper goodbye when he overheard him and their grandmother talking about their father.

"Are you sure it's a good idea?" Grams asked cautiously.

"No, probably not." Cooper replied honestly. "But I need to talk to him. What he did to Blaine, what they did to him, was completely unacceptable."

"I agree but you don't want to fight with him, Cooper. I know my son. When he sets his mind to something, there's no changing it." Grams said.

"I know that. I know how he is. He may be your son but he's my father. I can't let him get away with what he did. I can't let them think that everything's ok when clearly it's not." Cooper said angrily.

"When are you going to talk to him?" Grams asked in defeat. - 254 -

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"Probably this week. The sooner the better." Cooper told her.

Contents He's going to talk to dad this week? H-he can't do that! No! No, he can't! "Don't do it!" Blaine said

loudly just as he walked into the room. "Please, don't talk to him."

"Blainey-"

"No, Coop! Please!" Blaine said desperately.

"Blaine, I have to." Cooper told him in his big brother voice.

"But...I...just..." Blaine started to panic as the thought of Cooper and their dad talking about what happened started to sink in.

"Hey, everything's going to be ok. You'll be at Dalton. Nothing's going to happen to you." Cooper said comfortingly as he pulled Blaine in for a hug.

"Just...don't do it this week. Valentine's Day is coming up and I really want to do something special for Kurt and I can't do that if I'm too worried about Dad and you don't even know the full story! You can't talk to him without knowing everything!" Blaine said in one breath.

Cooper backed away from the hug to look at Blaine, instantly hating the obvious fear in his eyes. "Ok, I won't talk to him yet but I do need to talk to him. And you need to tell everything at one point."

"I know and I will!" Blaine replied quickly. "Just...give me until after Regionals. We'll talk about everything and then...then you can talk to Dad."

"Alright, deal." Cooper said nodding.

"I uh, I need to get back to school." Blaine replied as he fidgeted with the seam of his shirt. "Ok. Drive safe. Call me when you get there." Cooper said, hugging him one more time.

"Yeah, I will." Blaine replied, hugging him back tightly. He said goodbye to his grandmother, gave Cooper one last small smile, and quickly headed out the door to his car. He needed to get back to Dalton ASAP. He

needed to see Kurt.

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Blaine was anxious the entire drive back to Dalton. He blasted his radio, ignored the fact that he kept fidgeting with his shirt, and drove a little too fast. He didn't care though. He needed to see Kurt and he needed to see him now. He had barely parked the car fully before turning off the engine. He grabbed his things and bolted into the building. He first walked into their room, disappointed that Kurt wasn't in there. He set his things down and walked over to the common room, hoping that Kurt was there. The common room was mostly empty so he panicked a little more when he didn't immediately see Kurt. Just as he was going to walk back out, he noticed Kurt sitting by himself in the corner.

"Kurt." Blaine called out.

The instant their eyes met, both boys lost it. Kurt quickly got up from where he was sitting and ran over to Blaine. Blaine embraced Kurt tightly as a few tears fell from his face. They both held on to each other tightly, taking comfort from one another.

"I don't ever want to be away from you that long again." Blaine mumbled into Kurt's shoulder. "It was only a couple of days, Blaine." Kurt replied teasingly, even though he felt the same way. "Don't care. Too long." Blaine said, gripping on to Kurt tighter.

"Baby, what's wrong? Did something happen?" Kurt asked him.

"I overheard Cooper telling Grams that he's going to talk to our father and I just...I'm not ready for that." Blaine told him shakily. "I knew that he would eventually talk to my parents but actually hearing him say it just...I'm not ready to confront him, Kurt. I'm just not."

"You don't have to do anything you aren't ready for, Blaine. I'm sure if you tell Cooper that he'll understand." Kurt said softly as he rubbed Blaine's back.

"I know. He promised me he'd wait but...I'm still anxious about it." Blaine replied, finally loosening his grip on Kurt. "Tell me about your weekend. Distract me, please."

"The New Directions are trying to get revenge on Karofsky." Kurt told him quietly. - 256 -

"What?" Blaine said quickly, backing away from the hug so that he could look at Kurt.

"Yeah. I overheard Finn talking to Puck about it." Kurt said sullenly. "I'm so pissed off at them! They

promised me that would leave it alone but no, they had to go behind my back."

Blaine sighed heavily as he pulled Kurt into another hug. "I'm sorry, Kurt. They should've listened to you."

"Yeah well, I can't say I'm too surprised." Kurt replied sadly. "Can we just go lie down and cuddle and never get back up?"

"I think that's a brilliant idea." Blaine replied with a small chuckle.

They spent the rest of the evening calming each other down. They took turns talking about their worries, each one comforting the other when they panicked. They talked about Regionals and how excited they were and they talked about how they both hoped to be too busy during the upcoming weeks to worry about anything. When they settled down to go to sleep for the night, they both stayed awake for as long as they could. They were both fearful of the possible nightmare they would have when sleep finally came and both hoped that they would be able to have a few peaceful weeks before everything inevitably erupted.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

Happy Valentine's Day

The next two weeks proved difficult for Kurt and Blaine. While they were busy with school and Warbler rehearsal during the day, they had to continuously switch comforting each other at night. Blaine's dreams intensified, making it harder for Kurt to wake him up. The harder he tried to fight the shadow off, the more difficult it became for him to differentiate dream from reality. Kurt's dreams changed from the usual memories to him constantly running from Karofsky. Karofsky would eventually catch him but instead of sexually assaulting him, he'd beat him to a pulp. The last thing Kurt witnessed before waking up would be Karofsky laughing manically over him. They had few nights where neither dreamt but most nights resulted in one waking up from their nightmare, being comforted, and falling back to sleep only to be woken up by the other's dream.

Come Valentine's Day weekend, they were more than ready for a break. Between the nightmares, the workload from classes, and the pressure for Regional's, they were on edge and Blaine wasn't sure how much more they could take.

"Wes, please. We need a break. Everyone does." Blaine told his fellow Warbler the Wednesday before Valentine's Day.

"We're already skipping rehearsal Saturday for the dance, Blaine." Wes told him.

"One day of rest is not enough, Wes!" Blaine snapped, granting him a shocked look from Wes. Blaine never got angry with him. Not ever. "Look, I know we have Regional's in just a few weeks but...Kurt and I...things are hard for us right now and it's not because of school or rehearsal. We need a break. We...we need to clear our minds, even if it's just for a few days. I don't...I don't know how much more stress we can handle right now." He said a little brokenly.

"Is everything alright?" Wes asked him with concern.

"No. Yes. I don't know." Blaine said as he rubbed the back of his neck. "We just need a break. It's Valentine's Day weekend, have a heart."

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Wes watched Blaine curiously for a moment, wondering what it was that was stressing his two friends so much. Neither boy had said anything to anybody about something being wrong but he and several of the Warblers had noticed that the two of them seemed to be clinging on to each other more so than usual.

"Ok, you're right. It is Valentine's Day this Saturday and everyone could use the break. We'll resume rehearsals on Tuesday." Wes said with a small smile.

"Thank you!" Blaine said in relief.

"Of course." Wes nodded. "Are you ok, Blaine? You and Kurt? Are you guys doing alright?"

"Yeah, we're ok. We're just...that last weekend we went home wasn't the best for us. But we're handling it." Blaine told him.

"Ok. If you need to talk, either of you, I'm here. So are the other Warblers. You know you don't have to deal with everything on your own." Wes said as he placed a comforting hand on his should.

"We know." Blaine replied sighing. "And thank you, really."

"Anytime."

Both boys had been more than grateful for the small break. Being able to not stress for Regional's for those few days was exactly what they needed. They both had nightmares that Wednesday but none Thursday or Friday. They realized that the more they stressed, be it school or something else, the more intense their nightmares would be. They were going to have to figure out how to keep their stress levels down when rehearsals started back up.

Valentine's Day morning started what would be an amazing day. When they woke up cuddled in each other's arms, they simply laid there for the first couple hours kissing. They had been too stressed and too worried about everything to spend any real time together in those passing weeks and after two nights of peaceful sleeping, they were relaxed enough to enjoy each other.

"My lips are going to fall off if we don't take a break." Kurt had told Blaine with a light laugh. Both of their lips were swollen and cherry red from their two hour make-out session.

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"Now that my dear, would be a tragedy." Blaine replied before attaching his lips back on Kurt's. After kissing for a short while longer, they finally pulled away from each other in a daze. "I love you." Blaine sighed.

"I love you." Kurt replied dreamily. They leaned in to kiss once more but stopped when Blaine's stomach growled. "We should probably get up and eat." Kurt said laughing.

"Yeah, ok." Blaine replied pouting, reluctantly unwrapping himself from his boyfriend's arms. "Let's exchange gifts first."

Kurt nodded in agreement and got out of the bed to get Blaine's gift. They had promised each other that since it was their first Valentine's Day together they wouldn't go overboard on the gifts. They sat on the bed together, gave each other their presents, and opened them.

"Blaine! This is adorable!" Kurt exclaimed when he opened his box. Blaine had bought him a stuffed white kitten with piercing blue eyes that had the words "You're Puuuurfect to me" stitched on its belly.

"Yes and you would know all about adorable wouldn't you?" Blaine replied teasingly as he pulled his gift out of the box. Kurt had bought Blaine a stuffed brown puppy with big, dopey eyes that had the words "I Wuff You" stitched on its belly.

"We're such saps." Kurt said laughing.

"That we are." Blaine said smiling as he sat his puppy on his lap. "Kurtie, would you like some breakfast?" he asked the puppy in a baby voice.

"Kurtie? Really, Blaine?" Kurt asked in disbelief.

Blaine pouted and brought the puppy up to his face, talking in a different baby voice. "Don't you like my name?"

"That is so not fair." Kurt replied, scowling playfully. Even though he bought the puppy because it reminded him of Blaine, he didn't realize that the cuteness of the two together would be so intense.

"But I wuff you." Blaine said in the puppy voice.

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"Ok, ok. Kurtie it is." Kurt replied in defeat. "Come on, Blainey-Boo, let's go get breakfast before Blaine and Kurtie kill us with their adorableness." Kurt said to his kitten, granting him a stammer from Blaine. "It's only fitting to name him after you since you named your puppy after me." He said matter-of-factly.

"You, Kurt Hummel, are unbelievable." Blaine said shaking his head. Kurt merely shrugged as he settled Blainey-Boo in his arms.

Blaine chuckled softly before leaning in for a chaste kiss. They washed up quickly in the restroom before walking down to the house kitchen with Blainey-Boo and Kurtie, both knowing that their friends would tease them but neither one caring.

Later that day, Kurt and Blaine went out to dinner before the dance at Dalton. Kurt was dressed in a slim, elegant black tux while Blaine was dressed in a fitted, maroon tux and for the first time in weeks, they felt truly at ease. They went to a French restaurant not too far from Dalton which was known not only for their incredible cuisine but for their welcoming nature. Neither boy was surprised to see the restaurant mostly occupied by Dalton and Crawford Country Day students. It was the one place they all knew would be ok with gay couples.

The restaurant was dimly lit, adding to the romantic feel, and there were bouquets of red roses everywhere. There was soft music playing in the background, the staff was all dressed in different shades of red and pink, and there was a special menu set out specifically for the holiday. Kurt couldn't remember the last time he had been so comfortable in a public setting. It was incredible being able to hold hands with Blaine across the table without the fear of bigotry.

"This is nice. We should come here more often." Kurt commented halfway through his meal.

"I agree." Blaine replied with a bright smile. His most important goal those days was to make and keep Kurt happy. If that meant returning to that restaurant then they would most certainly be back.

Just as they finished their meal, Kurt noticed the staff setting up five microphone stands on a small stage he hadn't noticed before.

"Is there a performance?" Kurt asked Blaine curiously. Blaine shrugged in response but Kurt didn't miss the mischievous glint in his eyes. "Blaine, what's going on?"

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Before Blaine could respond, the owner of the restaurant stepped on the stage. "Hello, everyone." The middle aged man said politely. "We have a special treat for you tonight. Please welcome a few Dalton Academy Warblers."

Blaine, along with Wes, David, Nick, and Jeff, got up from their seats and headed to the stage.

"Blaine!?" Kurt hissed at him. Blaine turned around, winked at Kurt, and continued his way up to the stage.

What in the world are they up to?

It dawned on Kurt that if Jeff was there, so was Quinn. He hadn't talked to any of his friends since he found out about their plan (although they all tried) and even though his anger subsided, he was still extremely disappointed in them. He glanced around the restaurant quickly, noticing Quinn sitting on the opposite side of the restaurant. He kept his eyes locked on her until she turned her head in his direction. They held each other's gaze for a moment, Quinn being the first to move. She smiled sadly at him and waved, unsure of how he was going to react. Kurt returned her sad smile and waved back before turning his attention back on Blaine.

"Good evening, everyone. Happy Valentine's Day." Blaine greeted charmingly. "We hope you don't mind the impromptu performance. We dedicate this song to the ones we love the most." He said, sending Kurt a wink.

Kurt blushed slightly at the attention but smiled brightly at his boyfriend. Wes nodded at one of the employees to start the song which Kurt recognized almost instantly.

"Oh, dear Lord." He mumbled to himself while several of the girls, including Quinn, giggled at the boys' corniness.

Blaine locked eyes with Kurt as he began to sing the song.

Can this be true?

Tell me, can this be real?

How can I put into words what I feel? My life was complete

I thought I was whole

Why do I feel like I'm losing control?

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I never thought that love could feel like this

and you've changed my world with just one kiss. How can it be that right here with me

there's an angel?

It's a miracle.

Kurt was sure that his face was redder then the roses that decorated the restaurant. How one boy could be so perfect was beyond him. Wes, David, Jeff, and Nick joined in the chorus, imitating the dance moves from the concert footage they watched online.

Your love is like a river Peaceful and deep

Your soul is like a secret That I never could keep When I look into your eyes I know that it's true

God must have spent,

A little more time

On you.

(A little more time, yes he did baby)

The boys switched places on stage, Jeff taking lead vocals and focusing solely on Quinn.

In all of creation

All things great and small

You are the one that surpasses them all More precious than

Any diamond or pearl

They broke the mold

When you came in this world

And I'm trying hard to figure out

Just how I ever did without

The warmth of your smile

The heart of a child

That's deep inside

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Leaves me purified.

Kurt couldn't stop himself from glancing over at Quinn while Jeff sang to her. She was wearing an adoring smile on her face that Kurt had never seen before and despite being upset with her, he couldn't help but be happy that she had someone as amazing as Jeff in her life.

Your love is like a river

Peaceful and deep (and deep)

Your soul is like a secret

That I never could keep

When I look into your eyes

I know that it's true

God must have spent...

A little more time

On you...

(on you, on you, on you, you...on you, on you, on you, you..) ohhh... (on you, on you, on you, you...on you, on you, on you, you..) yeah...

Watching Blaine and his friends sing as a boy band was by far one of the best things Kurt had ever witnessed. He was never going to let them live it down. As the bridge started, Nick took the lead, singing directly to Harmony.

Never thought that love could feel like this and you changed my world with just one kiss. How can it be that right here with me There's an angel?

It's a miracle.

The boys turned their attention away from their significant others and sang the ending to the rest of the patrons.

Your love is like a river

Peaceful and deep (peaceful and deep) Your soul is like a secret

That I never could keep

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When I look into your eyes I know that it's true

God must have spent...

A little more time

On you...

(on you, on you, on you, you..)

God must have spent...

A little more time

on you

(on you, on you..you...you..oooh..yeah) A little more time

on you...ohhh

The restaurant broke in applause as the boys bowed. Kurt glanced back at Quinn just as she glanced over at him. They both shook their heads and laughed at their boyfriend's silliness and for a moment, there was no negativity between them. There was simply love and understanding and Quinn hoped that Kurt would forgive them for what they were going to do.

Blaine walked back over to their table, smiling goofily while Kurt glared playfully at him. "So, what did you think?" he asked as he sat down.

Kurt reached over the table and grabbed Blaine's hands to hold before talking. "I think that you are the sappiest, corniest, most amazing, incredible boyfriend on the face of the planet."

Blaine smiled broadly as he leaned over to table to kiss Kurt chastely. "I try." He replied as they parted. "Dessert?"

"Yes, please." Kurt said, smiling lovingly at his boyfriend. Blaine ordered them a slice of red velvet cake, which they fed to each other, and left back to Dalton afterwards for the Dalton/Crawford dance.

When Kurt and Blaine walked into the hall, they didn't waste any time. They walked directly to the dance floor and danced happily alongside their friends. Dancing with a boy in public was something that Kurt never thought he'd have the chance to experience and it was something he knew he would never forget.

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He added that fact to his list of "Why I love Dalton so much." At one point, David and Sebastian got into a dance off, splitting the room in half. Sebastian had won the dance off by applause, which David pouted at, and then started a conga line. Kurt had refused to join the line so he stood off to the side and watched his friends make fools of themselves. Quinn, who was originally in the conga line, saw that Kurt was alone so she took the opportunity to talk to him.

"Hey, Kurt." Quinn said cautiously when she approached him.

Kurt turned to look at her, immediately noticing the apprehension in her eyes. "Hey, Quinn." He said softly.

"How are you?" she asked him.

"I'm good. How are you?" he asked, glancing over at Blaine just in time to see him laugh at whatever Jeff was telling him.

"I'm good." She replied. "How's, you know, everything?"

"You mean am I cutting?" he asked flatly.

"Yeah...I guess I am." She said, shuffling uncomfortably.

"No. I don't do that anymore." He told her sighing.

"Good. I'm really glad to hear that." She said with a small smile. Kurt nodded but said nothing, his eyes back on Blaine who was attempting some weird dance move. "Kurt?"

"Hm?"

"I'm-We're all really sorry." She told him.

"Sorry for what? Going behind my back or letting me find out?" Kurt quipped. Quinn looked down at the floor shamefaced and said nothing so Kurt continued talking. "Look, I get it. This is you guys' way of making up for not being there when it happened but nothing you do is going to change what he did to me."

"We know but-"

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"Let me finish." He said firmly. "I'm scared, Quinn, terrified! What if he comes after me?"

"He won't." Quinn said quickly.

"You can't be sure of that." Kurt said seriously. "I don't think you guys truly understand. He has an obsession with me. No matter what you guys do to him, he's going to blame me and come find me. It's what he does. He...he raped me, Quinn. He took my most precious possession and I'm petrified that he's going to come after me again."

"He...oh my, God, Kurt!" Quinn said in shock as she threw her arms around him. "I can't believe he did that! I am so, so sorry!"

Kurt hugged her back tightly. Even if he was upset with her, he knew she meant well. "I know you are. Just...can you not go through with this plan? Please."

"We can't." she said apologetically as she pulled away. "Everything's done. We just have to wait for it to happen."

Kurt sighed heavily and nodded. He figured as much. "When...when does it happen?" "The weekend after Regional's." Quinn told him.

"After...wow...ok. That's soon." Kurt said gulping.

"Kurt, I know that you're scared, and you have every right to be, but I promise we won't let him near you. I know my word doesn't count for much right now since we promised we'd leave it alone and didn't but...I swear to you, he won't touch you again." Quinn said firmly.

"Well...as much as I appreciate that, you're right, your word doesn't count for much right now." Kurt replied flatly.

"Is there anything I can do that will prove to you how sorry I am?" she asked softly.

"No, there isn't." Kurt said honestly. Quinn nodded in understanding as she wiped a single tear away. "I don't hate you or the rest of the Glee club, just so you know."

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"You don't?" she asked surprised.

"No, I don't. I think you're all idiots and I can't wait to kick your asses at Regional's but I don't hate you." he said with a small smile. "Just...be careful. You don't know what he's capable of."

"Oh, we have an idea." Quinn said without thinking. Kurt didn't know about his drug use and she hoped that he didn't ask her what she meant by that.

Fortunately for her, he didn't ask. "Yes, well, either way. Be careful."

"We will." Quinn assured him. "Everyone really misses you. They really want to talk to you."

"I know." Kurt said sadly. He missed his friends too, despite being upset with them; especially Finn. "I'll call them soon." Quinn nodded and sighed but said nothing else. "Do you want to dance with me?" he asked her smirking.

"I'd be honored." she replied smiling and let him lead her to the dance floor.

Late that night, after the dance was over and everyone had gone home, Kurt and Blaine were walking outside to the court yard where Blaine first asked Kurt out. They walked over to the bench, brushed the last bit of February's snow off, and cuddled underneath the stars for a while.

"I saw you and Quinn talking." Blaine commented as he caressed Kurt's arm.

"Yeah. We talked about their stupid plan and she kept apologizing." Kurt said quietly as he placed his head on Blaine's shoulder.

"They mean well, you know." Blaine said softly.

"I know." Kurt replied sighing. "I told her what really happened with Karofsky. I'm sure the New Directions already know by now. They're terrible gossipers."

"Maybe she won't tell them?" Blaine said.

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"She will. I didn't make her promise not to so I'm sure she will." Kurt said yawning. "Are you ok with them knowing?" Blaine asked curiously.

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"I guess. I mean, they're getting revenge on my behalf so they might as well know the whole truth." Kurt shrugged.

"You know I won't let anything happen to you, right? I won't let him come anywhere near you again." Blaine said seriously.

Kurt lifted his head to look at Blaine who was watching him. "I know you won't. I love you, Blaine, with all my whole heart and soul."

Blaine smiled softly at him before kissing him gently. "I love you, Kurt, with all my heart and soul."

Kurt smiled back at Blaine, kissing him once more before placing his head back on Blaine's shoulder. They stayed out there for a little while longer, enjoying the crisp air and clear night. Through everything, the stress, the worries, the fear, they had each other and at the end of the day, that's all that mattered.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

Shattered

The Sunday after Valentine's Day, Blaine and Kurt had been cornered by their closest friends, forcing them to talk about what was going on with them. Wes had informed Nick, David, Jeff, Beatz, and Sebastian about his talk with Blaine and they refused to let the boys go another day without telling them what was going on. They were reluctant at first, neither one wanting to worry their friends but they eventually gave in. They took turns explaining to the guys why they had been so on edge as of late, comforting each other in the process.

The Warblers understood that the dreams were the beginning signs of trouble brewing and together they made a pact to keep extra eyes on both boys in case something stirred the pot. They also did their best to help Blaine and Kurt with whatever schoolwork they had in hopes that it would lessen their stress. Both boys had been extremely grateful for it. Having the guys there, aware of their worries, had indeed calmed them down. The next two weeks had gone by without a single nightmare and they finally felt like things were getting back to normal.

Thanks to their friends helping to keep them level-headed and the nightmares momentarily at bay, they were more than ready for their upcoming Regional's competition. Everyone was confident that they would be blowing their competitors out of the water. So confidant, in fact, that they cancelled their last few rehearsals in order to give them all vocal rest. Come the weekend of Regional's, Blaine and Kurt had basically forgotten their problems and were over the moon to perform.

"Warblers, listen up!" Wes called out from the front of the school bus. They had just arrived at the school that was hosting Regional's and he wanted to get one final pep talk in before they entered the building. "I want you guys to relax and keep your heads on straight in there. I know I've worked you all to death these past few weeks-"

"That's putting it lightly!" Beatz called out.

Wes ignored his comment and the snickers from the boys as he continued his speech. "As I was saying, I know I got a little carried away but-"

"A little?" Jeff chimed in.

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Wes rolled his eyes and continued. "But I truly feel that my craziness paid off. We are going to bring nothing but pride to Dalton today, whether we win or lose. With that said, don't think about winning and don't think about the possibility for Nationals. Just enjoy yourselves up on that stage. I'm proud of each and every one of you for all the hard work and dedication you put in and I'm proud to call you my brothers."

"Awe, Wes, you softy." David said smiling.

"That was beautiful, man. I think I'm going to cry." Beatz said sniffling as he wiped a non-existent tear away.

Wes shook his head at his friends but didn't stop the smirk that appeared on his face. "Remember boys, be on your best behavior. Let's go."

The Warblers walked off the bus excitedly, ready to show their competition up. After weeks of hard rehearsals, they were itching to get on stage. When Kurt stepped off, he walked over to Wes who was doing a quick headcount.

"Hey, Wes, I know that we have to do vocal warm-ups but...do you think...could I maybe go see the New Directions first?" Kurt asked him quietly.

"Sure, Kurt." Wes replied smiling. "Take someone with you, I don't want you to go alone. Don't take too long either. I want you and Blaine to go over your harmonies one last time."

Kurt smiled slightly before leaning forward to leave a light peck on Wes' cheek. "Thanks, Wes." Wes nodded and smiled before returning to his head count.

Kurt walked over to where Jeff, Blaine, and Beatz were chatting and pulled Jeff off to the side. "Wanna come with me to see the New Directions?"

"Hell yeah!" Jeff exclaimed. "I'll take any excuse to see my girl."

Kurt informed Blaine that he was going to see his friends with Jeff, assuring him that he was fine, and walked off backstage to find them. He had spoken to Quinn a few times since Valentine's Day but

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continued to ignore the others. Now that they were all in the same place, he knew there would be no avoiding them. He figured he might as well talk to them as a group and wish them luck. After a few minutes of searching, he saw Artie's wheelchair entering the room he assumed was theirs.

"Knock, knock." Kurt said quietly from the doorway.

"Kurt!" Finn said loudly as he quickly walked over to him.

"Hey, baby-doll." Jeff said to Quinn smiling.

"Hey, rock-star." Quinn all but purred as she walked over to him. She immediately wrapped her arms his neck and pulled him in for a deep kiss, not caring that all her friends were there watching.

"How are you doing, man?" Finn asked Kurt as Kurt walked further into the room. "Fine I guess." Kurt shrugged.

"Kurt?" Brittany said softly. "Do you hate me?"

"No, Britt, I could never hate you." Kurt told her quietly.

"Then why have you ignored my calls?" she asked sadly.

"Because I was upset." He told her. "I still am." He told the rest of New Directions. "I just came over here to wish you good luck."

"Kurt-"

"Don't Mercedes, please." Kurt stopped her. "I know all the reasons why you went behind my back. That doesn't change the fact that you still did it."

"Listen, Kurt, I'm not going to apologize for what we're doing because that jackass deserves it." Santana said firmly. "I'm only sorry that you found out. I didn't want you to freak out over nothing."

"It's not over nothing, Santana." Kurt said irritably.

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"You're right, it's not. That doesn't change the fact that we're still going through with it." Santana said crossing her arms.

"And I'm not asking you to stop because I know you won't listen." Kurt quipped. "Look, I didn't come over here to argue with you guys. I just came to say good luck so, good luck." Kurt turned to walk away but was stopped by Finn's grip on his shoulder.

"Dude, wait. Just...hear us out." Finn said pleadingly.

"I'll hear you out after your disastrous plan fails." Kurt told him.

"But...I miss you man. We all do." Finn said softly.

"I miss you too." Kurt admitted quietly. "But I'm still upset. You lied to me, you went behind my back, and now I'm terrified that he's going to come find me."

"He wo-"

"No more empty promises, Noah." Kurt said quickly. "Just...no more. Now, Jeff and I need to get back so I wish you all the best of luck. You're going to need it." He said smirking.

"I wouldn't be so sure of that, Hummel." Santana replied.

Jeff and Kurt exchanged glances but said nothing. "Trust me, you're going to need it." Kurt said confidently.

"Is that so?" Rachel asked unconvinced.

"Yes it is." Jeff told her. "You guys may be talented as shit, but you don't have our secret weapon." He said, sending Kurt a wink.

"I'll have you know that we wrote-" Santana stopped Rachel from speaking anymore by covering her mouth with her hand.

"Bring it on, preppy boy." Santana challenged.

Jeff merely chuckled at her before giving Quinn a quick kiss. "Let's go, Kurt." - 273 -

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"Later, New Directions. I'll let you look at our trophy after we win." Kurt said in a sing song voice before walking out of the room with Jeff.

"There's no way they're going to beat us. There's just no way." Rachel said shaking her head.

"I don't care if we win." Brittany said quietly. "I just want my dolphin back."

"We'll get him back, Britt, don't worry." Santana assured her. "He'll thank us in the end."

"I don't want him to thank us." Mercedes said sadly. "Britt's right. I just want my best friend back."

"And we'll get him back." Santana said firmly. "After what Quinn told us what happened, there's no way I'm going to back down now. Karofsky's got to pay, simple as that."

"But what if he does go after Kurt?" Tina asked seriously.

"He won't because we won't let him. If that means stalking his every move so be it. I'm not letting him anywhere near Kurt again." Santana told them.

"Santana's right. We're going through with this and we'll stalk him if we have to. Ain't no way he's touching Kurt again." Puck said nodding.

"I hope you're right." Mercedes said shrugging.

"New Directions! Are you ready to blow the roof off this place?!" Mr. Schue said excitedly when he walked in. "What's wrong?" he asked, noticing the sour expressions.

"Nothing, Mr. Schue. We're ready." Rachel confirmed. "Alright, then! Let's take our seats."

The Warblers were back stage waiting to be announced when Kurt got the sudden nerves. He had been confident for days but now that they were minutes away from performing, he was starting to panic. The first choir, Aural Intensity, had done a mediocre job at performing so Kurt was sure they'd beat them. The

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New Directions, who performed next, sang original songs which Kurt was not expecting. How the hell are we supposed to compete with that?

"Kurt, are you ok?" Blaine asked him with concern.

"Yes?" Kurt said unsurely.

"Nervous?" Blaine asked with a small smile.

"Yes." Kurt replied instantly. "They did original songs, Blaine! How are we supposed to beat that?"

"We are going to beat that with your flawless vocals and our moving performance." Blaine said sweetly. "They may have written their songs, but they don't have the passion or depth of our performance and most importantly, they don't have you."

"You really think we can beat them?" Kurt asked him.

"I'm positive that we will. If we don't it's because the judges are idiots." Blaine said seriously.

"They look like idiots." Kurt replied, glancing through the curtains at them.

"Trust me, we're going to blow them away." Blaine whispered before kissing his cheek lightly. "Let's get in position."

Kurt closed his eyes and took a deep breath before letting Blaine walk him to their places. Remember, sing to them. Lose yourself in the song. Let them feel your pain. You can do this. You. Can. Do. This.

"Please welcome the Dalton Academy Warblers!" the announcer said.

Kurt kept his gaze down as the curtains rolled up. He placed himself in the mind set of sharing his pain with the world. He glanced over at Wes, who gave him a quick nod, and stepped forward to sing.

Made a wrong turn, once or twice Dug my way out, blood and fire

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Bad decisions, that's alright Welcome to my silly life

The Warblers hummed softly behind Kurt as while signing the words to the audience. None of the New Direction members hid their surprise at Kurt stepping forward to sing nor did they miss the pain in his voice just from the first few lyrics. Kurt sang those first few lyrics glancing at his hands. He then looked up at the judges and audience members, anguish and pain written all over his face.

Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood

Miss knowing it's all good, it didn't slow me down Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated Look, I'm still around

The Warblers joined the chorus, half of them signing the lyrics while the other surrounded Kurt as a force field.

Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel

Like you're less than, less than perfect

Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you're nothing You are perfect to me!

The Warblers fell back, letting Kurt and Blaine take center stage. Just like before, Kurt sang to the audience while Blaine sang to him.

You're so mean, (you're so mean) when you talk (when you talk) about yourself, you were wrong Change the voices (change the voices) in your head, (in your head) make them like you instead So complicated, look happy, you'll make it!

Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game

It's enough! I've done all I can think of

Chased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same (Ooh-ooh)

The audience was captivated by the way the Warblers performed. Not only was there raw emotion in Kurt's voice, but the way the Warblers acted like his rock blew them away. Burt and Carole both were teary eyed as Kurt left all of his emotions on stage.- 276 -

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Oh, pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel

Like you're less than, less than perfect

Pretty, pretty please if you ever, ever feel like you're nothing You are perfect to me

Kurt stepped off to one side of the stage, covering his ears as if he had headphones on, and Blaine stepped to the center, putting forth his own pain into the lyrics.

The whole world's scared so I swallow the fear

The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer So cool in line, and we try try try

But we try too hard and it's a waste of my time

Done looking for the critics, 'cause they're everywhere They don't like my jeans, they don't get my hair Exchange ourselves, and we do it all the time

Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

Why do I do that?

(Yeeeah)

Kurt and Blaine took their positions back with the Warblers as they danced around the stage. The choreography was simple but effective. Every Warbler had a partner; one attempted to run as if running from their fears and problems while the other held them back, begging them to stay and face their demons.

Yeah, oh, oh baby, pretty please!

Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel Like you're less than, less than perfect Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel Like you're nothing, you are perfect to me

You're perfect, you're perfect!

Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel

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Like you're nothing, you are perfect to me.

The audience erupted in applause when the song ended, many of them wiping their tears away. As soon as the clapping started to die down, the Warblers began to perform "Raise Your Glass." The judges were easily impressed at how well their transition of songs was and they loved how the boys put their emotions into the song. It would no doubt be a close call.

When the announcer proclaimed the winners, Kurt was sure that he blacked out for a moment. While the audience erupted in applause, he stood there frozen, not even hearing the winner's name. It wasn't until he felt Blaine pick him up and spin him around that it hit him. They had won. The Warblers had actually beaten The New Directions and they were going to go Nationals in New York.

"Oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD!" Kurt exclaimed as Blaine spun him.

"We did it! We won, baby! We won!" Blaine replied excitedly.

Before any of the New Directions could cross the stage to congratulate the Warblers on their win, the boys were already heading backstage. Many of the Dalton staff and most of their family members would be waiting for them by the bus and they wanted to share their excitement with them.

"Come on, let's meet them by their bus. I need to talk to Kurt." Finn told his friends as he quickly exited the stage.

Over by the Warblers bus, friends, staff members, and family alike were chanting "Warblers" as the boys made their way out. It had been a long time since the Warblers had made it to Nationals and they were all excited to have been able to witness such an inspiring moment. When Kurt saw his dad standing there, he let go of Blaine's hand and ran over to the man. Burt chuckled as his son threw his arms around him, pride swelling in his heart.

"You were incredible, Kurt. I am so proud of you." Burt said thickly.

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"Oh stop. Can't a man tell his son that he's proud of him without him crying?" Burt asked smiling, tears welling up in his eyes.

"I don't know, Dad. You tell me." Kurt teased. Burt laughed as he wiped a few tears away and embraced Kurt one more time.

"Leave some of that for me." Carole said smirking. Kurt let go of his embrace with his dad and hugged Carole tightly. "That was beautiful, Kurt. You did amazing." She said warmly.

"Thanks, Carole." Kurt replied smiling.

The New Directions reached the Warbler bus just in time to hear that they would be celebrating their win at the pizza place around the corner. While they were saddened that they hadn't won, they were also undeniably proud of Kurt. They had never seen Kurt perform so flawlessly before and they knew that the pain he used for the song was because of what Karofsky did to him. Seeing Kurt's pain fueled their desire to get Karofsky back. It also made them realize just how much they missed their friend.

"Kurt!" Finn called out.

Kurt turned away from his dad to see the entire Glee club waiting for him. He sighed heavily as he walked over to them, only to get tackled halfway by Brittany. Kurt smiled warmly as the blond hugged him tightly. After a moment, he realized that Brittany was quietly crying on him.

"Britt, why are you crying?" he asked her softly.

"Because you're so beautiful." She answered. "I'm sorry for going behind your back. Please don't be mad at me anymore."

Kurt tightened his grip on Brittany as the rest of the Glee club approached them. "I'm not mad at you, Britt. Please stop crying. You're too pretty to cry."

"Lord Tubbington told me that when I cry unicorns die." She said as they parted.

"He's absolutely right." Kurt told her endearingly as he wiped her tears away. "You guys were amazing out there. Those songs were really spectacular." He told his old friends.

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"We were." Rachel said as she stepped forward. "But you...I've never been so moved Kurt. You guys deserved to win."

"Man-hands is right. That performance was really something else." Santana said softly.

"Kurt, we don't want to fight anymore." Finn told him quietly. "We really miss you and watching you sing

like that...we're just really sorry."

"I know you are, Finn." Kurt replied with a small smile. "I understand why you're doing what you're doing

and I understand that nothing I say will stop your plan. I'm just...I'm scared."

"We know that, boo." Mercedes said sadly. "But we swear nothing's going to happen to you again."

"Yeah, dude. We got this handled." Puck assured him.

Kurt sighed and nodded but said nothing. As worried as he was, he couldn't stay mad at his friends anymore. They were a big part of him and even though he was a Warbler, they were his family too.

"Hey, everything ok over here?" Blaine asked as he walked up to the group.

"Yeah, everything's ok." Kurt assured him.

"We're heading out. Do you guys want to join us?" Blaine asked the New Directions.

"Sure...if it's ok with Kurt." Finn said, glancing cautiously at his step-brother.

"Sure." Kurt said with a slight nod.

"Cool." Finn replied with his signature goofy grin. Kurt had forgotten how much he loved that grin until that moment.

"We'll get Mr. Schue to take us and we'll meet you there." Rachel said. Blaine and Kurt nodded before walking back towards the bus.

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The celebratory pizza party quickly turned into a food fight despite the adults present. There was something about Puck's presence that turned many of the Warblers into rambunctious teenage boys. Cooper had paid the restaurant extra to cover the mess the boys left and had somehow convinced the other adults to let them have their fun. When Kurt asked Blaine how Cooper did it, Blaine simply laughed and told him that it was part of Cooper's charm.

"You know how the guys call me Dapper Mr. Anderson?" Blaine had asked Kurt who nodded in response. "Where do you think I learned it from?" Kurt had then glanced over to Cooper who had all the adults, including his father and Mr. Schue, completely captivated by whatever he was telling him.

Once back at Dalton, Wes gave the Warblers a stern talking to about proper public etiquette. While some looked away shamefaced, the others immediately blamed Puck for egging them on. Wes didn't care who was at fault, he only care that they made fools of themselves while wearing Dalton colors. With the exception of a few boys who hadn't participated in the nonsense, Wes punished the others by making them clean every nook and cranny of the house to teach them a lesson.

"Maybe now you'll understand what those poor people had to suffer through after we left that place completely destroyed." Wes had told them firmly, granting him several glares from the guys.

Kurt and Blaine spent that Sunday hanging out with the guys in the common room. They were wrapped up in each other's arms while the Warblers talked about Nationals and what they would be doing in New York on their free day there. Blaine had been content on sitting there with Kurt for the rest of the afternoon but Kurt had other plans. He made sure to trail his fingers over Blaine's extra sensitive areas whenever no one was paying attention. Blaine did his best to ignore him, especially since Cooper was planning on stopping by to take them to dinner but when he felt a single finger dip into his pants and slightly down his butt crack, he could no longer ignore his boyfriend's attempts at attention.

"Kurt, what are you doing?" Blaine asked him seriously.

Kurt leaned in to Blaine, letting his lips brush against Blaine's ear before whispering. "I feel naughty."

Blaine's mouth became suddenly dry as Kurt backed away slowly. Blaine looked into Kurt's eyes, surprised at how dark they had gotten. "Kurt." Blaine said breathily.

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Kurt winked at him before unwrapping himself from Blaine's grip and seductively walking over to their dorm, Blaine's eyes not once leaving his boyfriend's body.

"Should we stay away from your room?" David asked him smirking, bringing his attention back to the group.

"Yeah, good idea." Blaine replied quickly before following Kurt out, ignoring the catcalls from Sebastian and Thad.

When Blaine entered the room, Kurt was standing there waiting for him with his back turned to the door. Blaine walked up to Kurt, wrapped his arms around Kurt's waist, and attached his lips onto Kurt's neck. Kurt hummed in contentment before turning around to look at Blaine. They immediately started to kiss fervently, Blaine's hands tugging at the back of Kurt's shirt while Kurt's hand tugged at his collar.

"Cooper's going to be here soon." Blaine mumbled against Kurt's lips.

"Well then we better hurry." Kurt replied, backing away just enough to pull his shirt off. Blaine followed suit before attaching his lips unto Kurt's collar bone.

Both boys were too entranced in each other to hear their door open. Mr. Anderson walked into his son's room, shocked and disgusted by the sight in front of him. It only took him a moment to react and when he did, he was fueled by pure rage. He took two swift steps forward, grabbed Blaine by his hair, and pulled him back roughly.

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!" Mr. Anderson yelled as he shook Blaine vigorously. "YOU DISGUSTING FAGGOT!"

Kurt jumped back in fear and shock at the looming presence of Blaine's father. Blaine managed to get out of his father's grip, instantly walking in front of Kurt to keep his as far away from his father as possible.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Blaine asked shakily.

"DON'T YOU DARE USE THAT LANGUAGE WITH ME! I'M YOU'RE FATHER! I DEMAND RESPECT!" Mr.

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Anderson bellowed.

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"Respect?" Blaine said incredulously. "The last thing you deserve from me is respect!" he spat at his father weakly.

"HOW DARE YOU?!" Mr. Anderson yelled as he took a step towards his son. Blaine took a step back, shielding Kurt away, who was holding onto Blaine's shoulders tightly. "HOW DARE YOU LET THAT DISGUSTING PIECE OF FILTH TOUCH YOU IN FRONT OF ME?!"

"Don't talk about him like that!" Blaine said angrily. Mr. Anderson reached over, grabbed Blaine by the hair once more, and pulled him away from Kurt's grasp.

"Blaine!" Kurt said desperately.

Mr. Anderson growled at Kurt before pushing him away. "STAY AWAY FROM MY SON YOU FILTHY QUEER!"

"Kurt." Blaine said brokenly, wincing in pain. "Cooper." He mouthed silently. Kurt instantly understood, running past Mr. Anderson and Blaine, grabbing his shirt of the floor in one swift motion and then out the door.

"Kurt, what's going on?" Sebastian asked him worriedly. Mr. Anderson's yells could be heard through the entire house, sending the Warbler boys into panic.

"Blaine's dad is in there! I need to get Cooper!" Kurt said desperately. Sebastian immediately took out his cell and handed to Kurt to call while he rounded up the Warblers.

"Hello?" Cooper answered unsurely at the unknown number.

"Your dad's here!" Kurt said quickly.

"Kurt?"

"Yes! Your dad! He's here and he's in the room with Blaine and he's got Blaine by the hair and-" "I'm right around the corner." Cooper said before hanging up.

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Mr. Anderson had let go of his hold on Blaine but continued his verbal attack. "I THOUGHT YOU'D CHANGE! I THOUGHT YOU GREW OUT OF THIS REPULSIVE PHASE! I CAN'T BELIEVE I LET YOUR MOTHER CONVINCE ME TO LET YOU TO COME HOME!" Blaine cowered away from his father, unaware of the tears that were streaming down his face. "LOOK AT YOU! CRYING LIKE A BITCH! HOW MUCH MORE PATHETIC CAN YOU GET?! YOU'RE NOT EVEN A MAN!" Mr. Anderson moved his hands to his waist and began to unbuckle his belt.

"N-no! Don't! Please!" Blaine begged. His father had never hit him before but he had also never seen his father so angry.

"YOU CAN'T EVEN STAND UP FOR YOURSELF! THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DECIDE TO BE A FAGGOT!" Mr. Anderson yelled as he pulled his belt off.

"Please, Dad!" Blaine begged again.

"If you want to cry like a bitch, I'll give a damn reason to!" Mr. Anderson said through gritted teeth before striking Blaine across his bare chest. Blaine fell to the floor sobbing as his father whipped him with the belt, feeling as hopeless and as lost as he had when he first arrived at Dalton.

"I have to get in there!" Kurt said desperately as he tried to re-enter the room.

"Kurt, you can't!" Beatz stopped him.

"But Blaine! I can't leave him!" Kurt yelled at his friend.

"You can't help him! You'll only get hurt too!" Wes said thickly. He wanted to burst through the room just as much as Kurt but he knew that it would dangerous.

"We can't leave him!" Kurt cried out just as Cooper ran into the hall. "Cooper!" Kurt screamed.

Cooper ran straight past him and into the room just in time to see his father strike Blaine once more. He ran over to his father, grabbed him by the collar, and pulled his away from Blaine.

"Wha-Cooper?" Mr. Anderson said in surprise. Cooper ignored him and knelt down next to Blaine. - 284 -

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"It's ok, I'm here." He whispered to Blaine who had his head buried in his arms.

"Don't coddle him!" Mr. Anderson said angrily to his oldest, momentarily ignoring the fact that it was the first time he'd seen his son in years. "All that's doing is telling him that it's ok to be a faggot!"

"How dare you speak about him like that?!" Cooper said snapped. "How dare you touch him?!"

"I'm teaching him to be a man! Something my mother has obviously neglected to do!" Mr. Anderson yelled back. "And what the hell are you doing here? You were in Cairo the last time I checked."

"I came back! And thank God I did! How can you treat your son like this?!" Cooper asked, taking a step forward.

"I'm treating him like the disgusting, pathetic, queer that he is!" Mr. Anderson retorted.

"You are seriously fucked up in the head!" Cooper screamed.

"I am your father and you will respect me!" Mr. Anderson said angrily as he stepped forward. There was a time when he would've been able to intimidate Cooper with his intense glare. There was a time when Cooper would've never talked back to his father like he had out of respect. Those times were over the second he found out about what was going on with Blaine.

"I will do no such thing! Respect is earned, not freely given!" Cooper snapped back. "And you are not my father! Not anymore!"

"HOW DARE YOU!"

"GET OUT! GET OUT BEFORE I CALL THE COPS!" Cooper screamed in his father's face just as campus security reached the room.

"This is not over!" Mr. Anderson said with finality and stormed out of the room.

As soon as Mr. Anderson walked out, Kurt, Sebastian, Trent, Wes, David, Jeff, Nick, Thad, and Beatz rushed into the room. "Blaine!" Kurt cried out. At the sound of Kurt's voice, Blaine looked up from his arms to the

boy he loved.

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Kurt fell to his knees in front of Blaine, pulling him into an embrace. Blaine gripped onto Kurt's shirt in desperation, sobbing into Kurt's chest in shame. Kurt swayed them back and forth, instantly singing in an attempt to soothe his boyfriend.

"Can any of you tell me how the hell my father got in here?" Cooper asked the other boys, all whom shook their heads no. "Where's the Dean's office?"

"I'll take you." Wes volunteered.

Cooper nodded before turning his attention back to Blaine and Kurt. He kneeled down next to them, wrapping protective arms around them both before talking. "Nothing he said was true, Blaine. You've done nothing wrong. Do you understand me?" Blaine nodded although he didn't believe his brother's words. "I'll be back." He said before kissing both boys on the forehead and letting Wes lead him to the Dean's office.

Sebastian, Thad, Trent, David, Nick, Beatz, and Jeff all huddled around Kurt and Blaine, singing along softly with Kurt who was crying right along with Blaine. What they had just experienced was the first for them and no one knew what to do. All they knew was that Blaine needed them so they stayed and watched all of Blaine's walls come crashing down.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

The Darkness In Us

Cooper and Dean Morrison sat quietly in her office for long while, the dean processing the information Cooper just shared with her and Cooper still trying to wrap his mind around it all. It had been years since anything so intense had happened in her school and it hurt her heart that her students were going through such turmoil. She knew what needed to be done, she knew what the next step was, but she herself was on edge about it. She hasn't had to dwell in her own demons in a long time and now she would have to tell her story in order to help her boys.

"Dean Morrison-"

"Please, call me Heather." She said tiredly.

"Heather, what are we going to do now?" Cooper asked her seriously. "I can't leave my brother like this. I can't let him feel like this is his fault when it's not but I don't know what to do. I've never seen my father like that. I don't...I don't know how to fix this." He said desperately.

"I'm sorry to say that you can't really fix this. Time will make it better, but this will always be a part of him." Heather said sadly.

"So then what now?" Cooper asked in frustration.

"Now, we talk." She said simply as she opened her top drawer. She pulled out an old metal key and gestured at Cooper to follow her.

By the time Wes made it back to Kurt band Blaine's room, the boys had stopped crying but were still holding on to each other tightly. Kurt was still singing softly as they swayed back and forth, Blaine clutching on to him as he tried to even out his breathing. Wes said nothing as he squeezed in between David and Beatz. He pulled his knees up to his chest, holding himself with his arms, and settling his head on his knees before swaying gently himself. Wes thrived on control and the fact that he had absolutely no control over what was happening was making him edgy. All the guys were.

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David crawled into his shell of silence he usually only used with his family, Beatz' anger was roaring on the inside despite the calm exterior, Nick, Jeff, and Trent were huddled up together, much like puppies in need of comfort, and Sebastian was playing with a piece of string intently while Thad held on to him from behind, staring off into space. The Warblers were so connected with each other that when something happened to one of them, it affected them all. Some might say the friendship and closeness of the boys was not normal but no one cared. That's what Dalton was about. That's why Dalton was built. It was never just a school but a place to heal, a place to be free, and a place to grow.

"Where's Cooper?" Blaine asked quietly, his voice completely void of emotion.

"He's speaking with the dean. I tried staying but they told me to come back." Wes replied sullenly.

Blaine nodded in response but said nothing. They sat there for a little while longer in silence, no one knowing what to say or wanting to fill the air with meaningless conversation. Everything seemed so trivial. Even to Kurt, Sebastian, and Trent who all had darker pasts then the rest. None of them felt like their own tribulations could even begin to compare to Blaine's. While yes, they each had their share of demons, seeing Blaine's breakdown gave them a new perspective. They at least had parents who supported their sexuality. They couldn't understand how someone could be so horrible to their child and they knew that they had been lucky to have loving parents in their lives.

There was a soft knock on the door, grabbing the attention of the boys. They all turned as the door opened, revealing a lost looking Cooper, followed by a sad Heather.

"Hello, boys." Heather said softly.

Hello, Dean Morrison." They all mumbled in unison.

Heather took a seat on Blaine's bed while Cooper stood by the door. "I'm sorry about your father, Blaine." Heather said quietly. "It's never easy having a parent who doesn't love and support you." A few tears silently fell from Blaine's eyes but he said nothing. "I know this is hard, believe me, I know. But we need to talk, all of us." The boys glanced at each in confusion and waited for the dean to continue speaking. "Whenever something truly horrific happens here, we have a full disclosure night in order to start the process of healing."

"Full disclosure night?" Kurt questioned.

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"Yes." Heather nodded. "Am I correct to assume that the boys got you to talk about your demons when you first arrived?" Kurt nodded slowly, unsure of how he felt about what the dean was getting at. "Well, full disclosure night is the same thing except we talk about everything. We'll share the deepest, darkest parts of our demons with each other and we'll let ourselves become completely vulnerable. Now Blaine, I would never force you to talk about your father but your brother feels like it's time and I'm in full support."

Blaine glanced over at Cooper who was watching him intently. "It's time I found out about everything, Squirt and who better to find it out with than your closest friends."

Blaine looked away from Cooper, burying his head into Kurt's shoulder once more before speaking up. "I don't...how would we do this?" he asked brokenly.

"We'll just talk. I'll share my own personal past and whoever else is willing to open up can too. This is about love and support. It's about sharing our deepest pains and letting people in when we would normally shut them out." Heather told him.

"I'll do it." Kurt said immediately.

"Baby, you don't have to." Blaine replied, lifting his head off Kurt to look at him. "I don't want you to open yourself up like that just for me."

"But I want to." Kurt said softly. "Sure, it'll be hard but I want to do this for you, for us." "Me too." Trent said. "I'll talk about everything for you too, Blaine."

"Same." Sebastian chimed in.

"You guys-"

"You won't convince us otherwise, Blaine." Sebastian said firmly.

"Bastian's right. You're not alone in this and if we have to delve into our own issues to help you then we will." Trent said softly.

Blaine glanced at his friends, all of whom were giving him encouraging smiles. Should I do this? Should I let the guys open up their own wounds just for me? ...No. I can't do that. I can't let them suffer for

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Contents me. I don't deserve for them to do this for me. Kurt could sense that Blaine was trying to talk himself out of doing it and he could see the worry in his eyes. He knew Blaine better than Blaine knew himself sometimes and he was certain that even through all the crap that just happened to him, he was more

worried about putting his friends through any kind of turmoil than he was about his own demons.

"Baby, you listen to me right now." Kurt said firmly. "Bastian, Trent, and I would not be doing this if we didn't feel like we could. We wouldn't be doing this unless we truly wanted. Don't you dare think otherwise. Don't you dare think that we're going to leave you alone in this."

"But, Kurt, I don't want you to have to open up your wounds just because of me." Blaine said softly. "I don't want you guys to suffer just because I'm suffering."

"Blaine, we're Warblers, brothers. Of course we're suffering because you're suffering. That's just the way it is." Wes said.

"Yeah, man. We love you, you know we do. Don't shut us out now when you need us the most." Jeff told him.

Blaine knew they were right. He knew that part of the reason of his hesitancy was because he wanted to hide away from it all. That's what he did. That's always what he did. He hides and cries and prays to whoever is listening that the darkness will just fade away but it doesn't. It only becomes darker and more suffocating. That's what led him up to the cutting in the first place. It was his release. When his life was filled with nothing but pain, it was the only pain he could control. It made him feel alive, even if he felt like a coward later. Even if the darkness grew tenfold once his physical body reacted to the loss of blood, the few minutes of life he felt had been worth it.

But that was then. Things were different now. He wasn't surrounded in constant fear or darkness anymore. He didn't need hurt himself in order to feel alive. All he needed was Kurt and his brothers. He needed to sing. He needed the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it was a long journey there. He couldn't let the darkness consume him anymore. He couldn't leave Kurt behind to face his own demons without him. Kurt needed him. Kurt needed him just like he needed Kurt. He glanced at his friends and his brother once more, forcing himself to open up and feel the love and support they were sending his way. He needed to do it. He needed to let those closest to him understand why he was so lost. He knew it would be hard and he knew it would be painful to relive the memories he stored away for years. But he needed to do it.

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"Ok." Blaine said softly.

"Ok?" Cooper questioned.

"Y-yeah, ok. L-let's talk." Blaine told him, his eyes already filling up with tears.

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"Alright, then. I need you boys to get back to your dorm rooms and get whatever you need to make yourself comfortable. Be it a blanket, a stuffed animal, an old shoe, whatever. Get your things and meet me in front of the gymnasium." Heather said as she stood up.

The boys nodded quickly before running off to their rooms. Heather walked out after them, heading over to her own room to get the quilt her grandmother had made for her. Cooper took a seat on Blaine's bed while Kurt and Blaine changed their clothes. They both dressed in their pajamas, knowing that the other guys probably would too. They grabbed the duvet they usually slept with off of Kurt's bed, along with Blainey-boo and Kurtie, and headed out with Cooper to the gymnasium.

The guys had been waiting for them in the hall, all dressed in their pajama's. Trent, Jeff, and Beatz were carrying their childhood stuffed animal and the others had blankets wrapped around them. Together they walked through the halls of Dalton in silence. They were in for a long evening and they all knew it. When they reached the gymnasium, they found the dean waiting for them. She had her quilt folded in her arms, a small smile on her face, and the metal key in her hand.

"Follow me." She said softly before turning around and walking into through the double doors.

They followed her in, confused as to why they were there of all places. Heather led them to the farthest door of the gym which had an old padlock on it. The boys always thought that the room was storage for equipment and were shocked to see that it was in fact a small, windowless classroom. There weren't any desks or chairs in the room but instead they found several couches and loveseats forming a circle.

"Sit wherever you like." Heather informed them as she took the only single chair. She opened up her quilt, threw it around herself, took off her shoes, and climbed into the chair. She folded her legs beneath her and pulled the quilt tightly around herself. "Cooper, could you please close the door and lock it?"

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Cooper had watched Heather as she made herself comfortable on the chair and he couldn't help but find it endearing. He had never met a woman like her and the fact that she was willing to open up her personal life to help his brother blew him away. He smiled softly at her and nodded before locking the door behind them.

The boys all settled in different couches. Jeff and Nick had chosen a loveseat and draped Nick's blanket around them. Wes and Beatz did the same with Wes' blanket on a different loveseat. Trent, Thad, and Sebastian chose one of the bigger couches to share, Sebastian sitting in the middle while Thad and Trent cuddled next to him. Kurt and Blaine chose the couch closest to the dean, their arms wrapped tightly around each other with Kurtie and Blainey-boo sitting on their laps. Cooper took the seat next Blaine and draped his arm over Blaine's shoulder.

"Is everyone settled?" Heather asked the boys. The group nodded that they were so Heather continued. "I'm sure you're all confused by this room so I'll start with a little unknown Dalton history. When this school was built, it wasn't just for the intention of education. It was built so that young men who had nowhere else to go had a safe haven. This room had been built solely for the purpose of group therapy. As time went on, the boys learned how to help each other without the need of this room so it became the emergency therapy room. This is also the room new teachers and new deans gather at during their time of need. You see, most of the Dalton teachers have had a rough past and Dalton was the place that saved them. This room is full of pain and sorrow, it's full of secrets. Whatever is stated in this room stays in this room. Understood?"

The boys nodded fervently, curiosity growing as Heather started her story. "I was 9 years old the first time I was left alone in the house. My father had lost his job and was off drinking at the bar and my mother was picking up extra shifts at the hospital to pay the bills. That was also the first night my father hit me." Heather's gaze fell to floor as she shared her past with the boys. "I remember being so hungry and I remember thinking that my parents wouldn't want me not to eat so I went in the kitchen and tried cooking for myself. I ended up eating cereal because I was too afraid to turn the stove on but I made a huge mess in my attempts of trying to figure out what to eat. I cleaned it as best as I could but there were still tons of items out of place and the counters were really sticky since I spilled juice."

"My father got home really late and he was trashed, completely wasted. He saw the mess in the kitchen and blew up. I had fallen asleep sticky and dirty in their bad, only adding to his anger. He yelled for a while and I kept crying and asking him what I did wrong. I knew it was because of the kitchen but I couldn't understand why he was so angry. I kept telling him I was sorry for making the mess but I was hungry and I

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wanted to eat. After a while of him scolding me and telling me to quit making excuses, he hit me. He slapped me right across the face and yelled at me to get out of his sight. I ran to room, hid in my closet, and just cried. I had never been so scared." Heather voice was shaky, tears of her past streaming down her face, and for whatever reason, Cooper really wanted to comfort the woman. Before he could decide whether or not it would be appropriate to walk over to her, she continued.

"As the years went on, it only got worse. My mother continued her double shifts and my father continued on his downward spiral. I learned very quickly not to anger him while he was drunk. It always led to him hitting me. I even told my mom but she didn't believe me. Or she decided to ignore it. Either way, I was on my own. I avoided him as much as I could. I stayed at friend's houses and barely spoke in front of him out of fear of his backlash. It was ok for a little while. I got really good at hiding myself away from him. When I turned 15, I met my first boyfriend. We never went out because I knew my father wouldn't like it so we snuck around. I would say I was staying at a friend's house and go over to his place instead. He was a good guy. He wasn't just cute but he had a really good heart. He was one of the few people I had ever told about the problems at home and he always did his best to make me happy."

"I had gotten used to walking home or getting rides from friends since my parents were around so I had never expected my father to show up at my school. Matt and I had been kissing goodbye right as my father drove up and he was furious. He beat me that night, worse than he ever had before. Things got really bad after that. He became obsessed about knowing exactly where I was and what I was doing. He quit allowing me to go to my friend's house, always telling me that he refused to let his only daughter become a whore. The next three years were terrible. I was basically on house arrest, I became depressed, and I started buying drugs from the kids at school just so I could have an escape anytime he decided to take his anger out on me."

"He monitored everything I did. I don't know if he ever knew of the drug usage or if he just didn't care but he never brought it up. I got smart after a little while though. I even set up this alarm in the hallway that would let me know when someone was headed towards my room. By the time I was 18, the only friends I had were the ones I made online. I would sit in my closet with my laptop and talk to other kids with abusive parents. It was the only thing that kept me sane. Anytime the alarm chimed on my computer, I'd run out of my closet and sit on my bed pretending to do schoolwork. Sometimes we'd fight, sometimes we'd argue but it had mellowed out."

"In the time that I talked to people online, I kept hearing about this all boy school that saved broken girls like me. I never believed it but the rumors were there. A few nights before my graduation, my parents got

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into a major fight. My Columbia acceptance letter came in and my father refused to let me go. He told my mother that it was too expensive and I didn't deserve to go. She argued back with him but he was drunk of course so he hit her. I tried stopping it and he hit me and he went back and forth between the two of us like it was a game. He eventually left for the night and we were both a mess. I tried talking to her but she wouldn't even look at me. That's when I realized that she had known about him abusing me. She had known and never stopped him."

"That night, I took all the pills I had and curled up in the closet. No one cared about me so why live? Why bother anymore?" Heather wiped her tears away while the boys digested the fact that their dean just admitted to them her attempted suicide. "My mother found me not too long after I passed out and called 911. I woke up in the hospital a few days later. The first person I saw was an old woman in a suit. Before I could even say anything, she spoke. She told me that things would get better if I refused to be the victim and she told me that I wasn't alone in the world. She was only there for a few minutes but the oddity of her presence really stuck with me. She slipped me a card before she left, which at the time I figured was some helpline. I tossed the card on the bedside table without even looking at it."

"I spent a few days in the hospital. My mother was by my side most of the time but I was so angry with her that I ignored her. My father never showed up. When I got home, my mother had to work and he was already drunk. He immediately started yelling at me and I just didn't care. I let him yell. I didn't fight when he slapped me. I didn't fight when he punched me. I just took it. I was too tired and too lost to care. When I didn't fight back, he sent me to room and went back to his beer. He really didn't care about me and even then it surprised me just how much he didn't care. When I unpacked the bag my mother had brought me while I was in the hospital, I found the card the old woman had left me. I was sure that it was just some hotline that wouldn't be able to help me but instead, it was a school business card."

"The front of the card said 'Dalton Academy School for Boys' and on the back was a note, 'Don't ever stop fighting.' I was so confused by it but it made me think of the magical school that saved lost girls." Heather chuckled softly. "I got online and asked around about the rumored, mystery school and after a while, I found out it was the same place. I ran away that night. I packed up what I could, got on a bus, and came to Dalton. I remember standing in front of the building thinking 'What the hell am I doing here? This is the dumbest thing I've ever done!' Right as I turned around to walk away, Dean Baker stopped me. It was the same woman who visited me in the hospital."

"She brought me into this room, sat exactly where I am now, and asked me why I was there. I didn't know what to tell her so I told her everything. She took me in with no question, helped me get my college

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education, gave me a job, and here we are." Heather smiled softly at her students as she wiped the remaining tears away.

"What about your parents? What happened with them?" Cooper found himself asking.

"I spoke with my mother a few times after that, although I never told her where I was, and I never spoke to him. There was no need." Heather shrugged.

"I can't believe you tried to kill yourself, Dean." Beatz then said, still in shock from her story.

"Sometimes, the darkness in us gets so intense that it consumes us. Sometimes, it's the only escape we see fit." Heather told with a sad smile.

Beatz turned his gaze down, thoughts of Jimmy suddenly plaguing his mind. He wondered why Jimmy had done it. He knew that it was because of the bullying but he wished he knew exactly what had been going through his little brother's mind. He never understood how someone could take their own life. Even with the dean's story, he couldn't grasp being in such a bad place in life where suicide was the answer. He got a sudden wave of sadness as he thought of his parents. They weren't by any means perfect, but they did love him. He had barely spoken to him since Jimmy's death. It might be time to make amends. Or at least attempt to.

Heather looked at the boys expectantly, waiting for one of them to speak up. After a few minutes of silence, Trent spoke up.

"I've always known that I was gay." He said quietly. "It was never a question for me. It never became something that haunted me. My parents were supportive and I had a few friends that really cared about me, no matter my sexuality. Being gay was never the problem. It was being fat." Kurt made sure to listen to Trent's story. He had assumed that Trent came to Dalton because of homophobia. He had no idea it was for something else entirely. "I got bullied and teased a lot in middle school for being gay but it never bothered me. It wasn't something I could change so why let ignorance tear me down? The bullying about my weight though...that hurt. That was something I could change. They used to call me all sorts of names like fatass and porky and they...they used to through cakes and candy at me and tell me to get fatter so that they could...roll me down the hallways like the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka."

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"That's why you hate that movie." David said softly as he briefly remembered how Trent reacted the day he suggested watching it.

"Yeah. I didn't want to tell you why because I didn't want you to think that I was doing it again when I wasn't ." Trent replied to him. David was the only Warbler in the group that knew his past. Others guessed but David was the only one he ever shared the details with.

"Doing what again?" Wes asked him.

"Throwing up." Trent said shamefaced. "I used to throw up after all my meals. It started when I was 12. It started off as an experiment, just to see if it actually worked but I stopped after a few times because it always made me feel disgusting. One day, a few months into 7th grade year, I was sitting in the cafeteria before class started and they snuck up behind me and threw buckets of slop over my head. They kept chanting 'pig' over and over again; it was awful, the feel of the slop, the smell of it, everything. I ran out and went straight to the bathroom and threw up everything. Not because I was trying to throw but simply because of how gross I felt."

"After that day, I kept doing it. I barely ate and when I did, I'd throw it up almost immediately. My weight dropped drastically after only a few weeks and I remember thinking how it wasn't enough. I kept thinking that I needed to lose more and that I couldn't stop until I was as fit as the Abercrombie and Fitch models. It never...it never stopped...the name calling and the bullying. Even as I lost weight, it never got better. If anything it got worse. They started to point out how thin I was getting and they laughed about how I was probably throwing up or taking diet pills. I hated that they knew. I hated that they were right. That didn't stop me from doing it though; it only made me do it more. My parents knew something was wrong but I refused to tell them anything. I was really good at not getting caught doing it and I even started excessively working out just to give them a reason for my weight loss. "

"Right when summer started, my friend Deirdre had her birthday party and I let her convince me to eat. I wasn't really eating at this point but I didn't want to worry her so I ate. I think I had maybe two slices of pizza and a tiny piece of cake and I felt terrible. My body wasn't used to that much food anymore and all I kept thinking about was the calories and the grease and just...it was too much for me at that point. I threw up so much that night that I passed out. I woke up in the hospital a few days later. I still refused to talk to my parents. I kept saying that I was fine but they didn't believe me, not that I blame them. I wouldn't have believed me either."

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"The doctor told me that night that if I kept heading where I was going, I would end dying. I knew then that I had to stop. I knew it was time to fess up and get help or I would seriously hurt myself. I spent the next year at rehab trying to fix myself. Once I was released, I was terrified of going to a public high school because I knew it would be the same so I came here instead." Trent didn't cry while he told his friends what happened but he did have that familiar, disgusted feeling in the pit of his stomach he always got whenever he thought back on it. It had been a couple of years since he forced himself to throw up but the memories were still there and every so often his body would reject what he ate, inevitably making his body throw it up. It was a constant battle but he could proudly say it was that he was winning.

"Does Danny know about all this?" Sebastian asked him curiously. Danny and Trent weren't dating officially but they were talking and Sebastian knew this was something the fellow Warbler should know.

"No, I haven't told him yet." Trent said sighing. "I want to but I'm worried about what he's going to say." "You should tell him. He really likes you." Kurt said encouragingly.

"Yeah, he does. I catch him doodling your name in class all the time." Beatz teased.

"Shut up! He doesn't do that." Trent said rolling his eyes, his cheeks tinting a slight pink.

"Actually, he does." Sebastian told him with a laugh. "You should really tell him. If you like as much as I think you do then he deserves to know."

"I know." Trent sighed. "I will, soon."

"Good." Sebastian said approvingly. "I guess I should go next." He then said with a heavy sigh. "I was 13 when my stepmom, ex-stepmom forced herself on me. I still wasn't sure about my sexuality so when she came on to me...I don't know, I guess I convinced myself that it was ok. After the first time it happened...I felt so gross and so used. I avoided her for weeks, always making some kind of excuse not to be at home. After a little while, the initial fear I had of her assaulting me turned into a fear of her telling my dad. I kept thinking that she would say that I was the one who initiated it and that I was the one that forced myself on her. I almost never went home at that point. I always stayed at a friend's house."

"When summer started, I got busy with camp and sports so again, I wasn't around. While I was at camp, I learned that I was gay and I was so relieved. I thought that I could finally spend some time at home because I would never try anything with her and I was certain that if she tried again, I just had to tell her

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that I was gay and she would leave me alone. Boy was I wrong." Sebastian said with a bitter laugh. "My first week home was the same week that my dad had his annual conference so it was just me and her. I was sitting at my desk in my room with my headphones so I didn't hear her come in."

"I did feel her arms wrap around me though. I panicked and practically threw her off of me. I blurted out that I was gay, desperately hoping that she would take it for what it was and leave me alone. She didn't. She laughed at me and said that it was only a phase and that it was wrong and that all I needed was a good woman to steer me in the right direction." He scoffed. Just thinking about the woman made his hairs stand on end. Thad could feel the tension and placed his hand on Sebastian's knee, giving it a comforting squeeze.

"I tried fighting her off that time. I told her it was wrong and that it shouldn't have happened in the first place. She then told me that what was wrong was my denying her when she knew that she made me feel good and that I needed to be a good little boy before she told my father that I was misbehaving. That night was the second night she did it. I was so disgusted. I remember crying for hours, wanting nothing more than to erase my memory of her. That's when I started sleeping around. It started off slow, one night stands here and there but nothing major. The less she touched me, the less I went out. I barely saw either of them during freshman year since I was boarding and I stayed busy all summer so things were ok for a while. Then during Christmas break sophomore year, she did it again. I couldn't figure out why I let her, I still don't know. I never understood the power she had over me but God how I hated it." Sebastian let the tears fall, still feeling angry at himself for allowing the abuse.

"Things started to escalate that next semester. I couldn't get her out of my head. I couldn't stop feeling disgusted in myself for letting it happen. That's when I really started sleeping around. That's when everything really began. I didn't care who the guy was. I just needed to be in control. That summer...I had to stay home. My dad was away most of it for business and she had the audacity to tell him that she felt safer if I stayed home. She...she had full advantage of me. Some days she'd ignore my existence and other days she wouldn't keep her hands off me. It was like a game to her."

"She enjoyed watching me squirm and she enjoyed giving me false hope that she was done doing it. She even apologized to me and told me that what she had been doing was wrong and that she was done with it all. Then that night she...she forced me to...get on my knees..." Sebastian struggled with his words as the memory came flooding back. That night was the worst out of all them because he had been forced to eat her out. It was the first time she had ever made him do that and it was the worst experience of his life. "That was it for me. That was what really tipped the scale. When I returned to Dalton...it wasn't about

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sleeping around, it was about revenge. It was about feeling in complete control of the person, emotionally and physically."

"That's why you went after Darren." Beatz said absentmindedly as the pieces that made Sebastian who he was fell into place.

"Yeah." Sebastian said in embarrassment. "I knew I'd be able to convince him that Chris was cheating because he was already a jealous person. A part of me felt terrible for doing it but another part of me, the part I just couldn't shake off, controlled my actions. When Thad found us having sex, I was actually relieved that we got caught. I didn't care about anything at that point and I was just so tired of it all. When Chris found me that next day, I didn't fight him or try to apologize. I egged him on. I wanted him to be angry. I needed him to be. When he started hitting me, I just laughed in his face, pissing him off even more. I really was a horrible person. I always will be. I ruined Chris' life by getting him expelled and I probably ruined Darren too. If I could go back and change it all, I would. I'm lucky the Warblers stuck by me, even if they didn't trust me." Sebastian said as he wiped the tears away.

"Does your father know about what happened?" Heather asked him.

"Yes and no." Sebastian shrugged. "He knows I was raped but I never told him who. The only reason he divorced her was because when I finally came out to him and he supported me, she flipped out on him. I watched them argue for hours and enjoyed the fact that he wouldn't back down. She kept telling him it was a wrong, disgusting phase and he kept telling her that being gay wasn't a phase but just who I was."

"Well, good for him. Although I do hope that one day you will tell him the entire truth. He deserves to know." Heather said with a small smile.

Sebastian nodded silently, knowing that the dean was right. He knew that he needed to tell his father the entire truth and he would one day, but not yet. He wasn't ready to share that piece of information with his dad yet.

The Warblers, Heather, and Cooper all glanced over at Kurt and Blaine. It was their turn to share and Blaine was starting to really dread the idea. Not just because he knew he would have to tell them everything, but because Kurt would have to open up to and he didn't want his boyfriend to overwhelm himself. He and Kurt looked at each other for a moment, both giving the other encouraging smiles. Blaine squeezed Kurt's hand protectively and Kurt squeezed back in comfort before talking.

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"I was 9 when the bullying started. It was just name-calling at first, fag, queer...fairy princess." Kurt gritted his teeth. Out of all the nicknames, fairy princess was the one that bothered him the most. "They didn't really understand the severity behind the names back then, neither did I, but it still hurt. Losing my mom was so hard and the fact that I couldn't mourn her loss in public without the fear of being taunted was just...it wasn't right." Kurt wiped a few already fallen tears away before continuing. "The name-calling got more serious as we grew up and learned what the words meant. I didn't let them know it got to me. If anything I egged them on by dressing the way I did. I refused to let them win. I refused to let them know how much I hurt, no matter how bad it got."

"When we entered high school, the bullying got so much worse. Name-calling turned into pure words of hatred and then they started dumping slushies on all the losers. It wasn't too bad freshman year. It was the same as eighth grade but with slushies added. I handled it with as much dignity as I could and went about my day like it didn't bother me. Sophomore year though...that's when it really started.

Kurt had just signed his name on the audition list for Glee club when he felt a strong hand push him into the lockers.

"Welcome back to hell fairy princess!" Karofsky laughed as he and Azimio walked past. Kurt glared at the burly football player, who had yet to take his eyes off Kurt, sighed in frustration, and walked off.

XXXX

Kurt was walking to his Navigator after school when he was suddenly picked up from behind. "What are you doing?!" he shrieked but was ignored as the football players continued to carry him. He struggled against them but it was no use, the grip they had on him was too strong. When he noticed that they were taking him to the dumpster, a new panic set in. "No! Don't you dare throw me in there! You'll ruin my-" Kurt's sentence was cut off as they dumped in the trash bin.

"Now that's how we take out the trash!" Azimio said laughing as he high-fived the fellow football players. XXXX

Kurt and Mercedes were walking to Glee club together, laughing at the hideous outfit Rachel had been wearing that day, when Karofsky grabbed him by the collar and threw him against a locker.

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"It went on for months. We had to constantly hide and look over our shoulders and it was starting to get exhausting. Having to always hide, having that fear that you were the next target. They even locked Artie in a port-a-potty. Who does that? He's in a damn wheelchair for goodness sake!" Kurt said angrily.

"Where were all the teachers through all this?" Heather asked him, clearly appalled.

"They were around but they didn't care. They turned a blind eye to it all, especially to the gay kid." Kurt said sadly. "It was awful. I didn't think it could get worse but...it did."

Kurt had a particularly bad day that day so when Karofsky shoved him in the hall, he lost it. He angrily stormed into the locker room after him, letting all the pent up aggression he had steer him.

"What the hell is your damn problem?!" Kurt yelled. "I am so sick and tired of you giving me crap for being who I am! No one told you to look at me or acknowledge me so just leave me alone! Leave me the hell alone or just punch me already! It's not going to change the fact that I'm gay!"

Karofsky pushed Kurt against the lockers, holding him there with his hands, and looking at him intently. Kurt stood there both scared and prepared for the punch he was sure was coming his way. He was not however prepared for Karofsky to kiss him. Kurt stayed frozen for a moment before realizing what was happening. He used all the force he could muster to push Karofsky off.

"What are you doing?!" He shrieked in disgust. There was no way that his tormentor just stole his first kiss. That was simply not possible.

Anger boiled in his stomach as Karofsky realized what he had just done. He punched Kurt hard in the stomach before running out of the locker room.

XXXX

Kurt hadn't seen Karofsky in a week and he had been grateful. After their last encounter, he was terrified of what would happen next. Would Karofsky kiss him again? Would he beat him up? Would he blame him for turning him gay? He had been certain that Karofsky would've told the other football players that he was trying to convert people to be gay but was surprised when nothing out of the ordinary happened. He was walking down an empty hallway, on his way to the library for his free period, when he was pulled into a janitor's closet.

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"What the-"

Karofsky pushed him against the wall, immediately attaching their lips. Kurt tried his best to push Karofsky

off but Karofsky's hold was too strong. When Karofsky finally backed off, Kurt snapped.

"What the hell are you doing?!"

Karofsky punched Kurt in the arm to shut him up. "This all your fault! You and your faggy clothes and your faggy hair! Who the hell do you think you are walking around here like you matter! No one cares about you! No one cares about the fairy princess! No one cares so stop throwing it in our faces!"

"You have some serious issues! You're the one who keeps kissing me! You're the one in the closet! You're just as gay as I am! Admit it!" Kurt snapped back.

"I am not gay!" Karofsky yelled angrily. "I swear to God Hummel, if you tell anyone about this I'll make you wish you had never been born!" Karofsky hit him again to get his point across and stormed out of the room.

"It continued like that for a little while." Kurt said quietly, his gaze glued to the floor. "He would find me, wherever I was, drag me into that closet, and kiss me. If I tried to fight him off, he'd just hit me." Blaine rubbed small circles on Kurt's hands to comfort him. He hated hearing about what Karofsky did to Kurt. All it ever did was make him angry. "When we went on Christmas break, I was so happy. It was an entire month away from him and the torment. In that month, I couldn't help but be angry at myself for everything that was happening. I kept thinking that if I hadn't dressed so flamboyantly and if I hadn't been so open about my sexuality then it wouldn't have happened."

"When the semester started back up again...I refused to be the victim. I refused to let him win and I was determined to be who I was, no matter what he did. I was not going to change myself just for him and the other Neanderthals. The Hummel men are not quitters and we are not push overs. At least...that's what I kept telling myself. I egged him on the first day back in school. I dressed crazier that day than I normally would, just to make a point, but when he pulled me into the closet that day...everything changed."

"What do you want?" Kurt asked venomously. Karofsky ignored his question and kissed him hard. Kurt used all his force to push Karofsky off, only angering Karofsky in the process.

"What the fuck is your problem Hummel! Am I not good enough for you? Do you think you're better than

me?"

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"I am better than you and no you are not good enough for me! You're vile and disgusting and I would never be with you!" Kurt said angrily.

"Oh that's where you're wrong Hummel! I'm the only one that will ever touch you because everyone thinks you're a disgusting homo! But I know better." Karofsky said seductively, pressing his lips against Kurt's once more.

Kurt tried pushing him off once more but Karofsky was too strong for him. When he felt Karofsky's hand make its way to his crotch, a whole new panic set in.

"No! Stop!" Kurt yelled into Karofsky's mouth.

"Shut it Hummel!" Karofsky said as he grabbed Kurt's ass.

"This can't be happening!" Kurt cried.

"It is happening! Deal with it. Enjoy it." Karofsky all but purred.

"No stop! Oh God! Please stop!" Kurt yelled. "What the hell are you doing?! Stop!"

"Shut up!" Karofsky snapped, punching him in the gut hard. He then unzipped his pants, grabbed Kurt's hands, and shoved in his pants. "Touch it, Hummel! Do what you do best, you little cock whore!"

"Oh My God! Gross!" Kurt said in disgust as he tried to pry his hand away from Karofsky's cock.

"If anyone here is gross it's you, you queer!" Karofsky said angrily. He let go of his hold on Kurt's hand, brought his hand up to Kurt's neck, and wrapped his fingers around his throat. "Fucking touch me, Hummel." He said dangerously low.

Kurt gulped, his fear taking over his body. When he didn't touch Karofsky right away, Karofsky tightened his grip around Kurt's neck. Kurt instantly grabbed Karofsky cock but did nothing.

"Jerk me off, Hummel. I want those pretty little lady fingers to know what a real man feels like." Karofsky purred.

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"He watched me do it. He...he watched my hand as it moved and I just cried. He wouldn't let go of my neck and he even smiled at me like I was supposed to be enjoying it too. When he finished off, he...he kept my hand there so it would spill on me and then...he forced me to eat it. He forced my hand in my mouth and I just..." Kurt covered his mouth as he felt the familiar coil of upcoming vomit in his gut. Blaine rubbed Kurt's leg comfortingly, sending the bile back down. Kurt took a few deep breaths and continued. "I threw up in that closet as soon as he left, then again in the bathroom and again at home that night. It...God it was terrible."

"It went like that a couple times a week for about a couple of months. The more he did it, the less I tried standing out. I started dressing in duller colors and I stopped trying to make myself known. I figured if he didn't see me or if I wasn't so open that he would leave me alone. But I was so wrong. He looked for me. He sought me out. I stopped fighting him whenever he molested me and that was a mistake. He wanted me to struggle. He wanted me to fight. When I wouldn't, he moved on."

"Here's what we're going to do, Hummel." Karofsky said lowly. "You're going to put that pretty little faggot mouth of yours on my cock and you are going to suck it." Kurt's eyes went wide as he shook his head vigorously. "Oh yes, you are. And you're going to swallow all of my come like a good little cock slut." Karofsky forced Kurt down on his knees, smacking him hard in the head when he didn't open his mouth up immediately. Kurt struggled to keep it shut, even when Karofsky's penis was pushing hard against his face. Karofsky grabbed Kurt's hair and pulled roughly enough to elicit a whimper from Kurt. Karofsky took advantage of the small opening and forced himself into Kurt. "I swear if you bite me." He said threateningly. "Now suck!"

"That night was the first time I cut. I had lost all control over my life and I...I needed to control something. I needed to cause my own pain to forget what was going on. That's how the rest of sophomore year was like; him having his way with me in the closet and me cutting at night. By the time school got out, I was completely lost. I stopped singing, I stopped dressing well, I stopped fixing my hair, and I only spoke when spoken to. The summer wasn't much better. I was haunted by dreams every single night and I just kept falling deeper and deeper into depression. The only time I made any effort was for my dad's and Carole's wedding. I always said that I'd be the one to plan it but I couldn't. I couldn't open myself up to anything anymore. It was too hard."

"When this past semester started, I didn't fight him. I couldn't fight it anymore. What was the point if he was just going to keep doing it anyway? After about a month, I couldn't take it anymore. I was certain that if it kept happening I would do something drastic just to get away so...I tried reasoning with him."

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Kurt quickly made his way down the hallway, trying desperately to avoid Karofsky. He hated this part of the day; he always ran, he always hid, yet Karofsky would find him and force him into the janitor's closet he'd come so accustomed to. He turned the corner swiftly; briefly looking back to make sure that Karofsky wasn't following him, only to run straight into him. He gulped audibly as Karofsky grabbed him roughly by the arm to drag him away.

"If you even think of opening your fucking mouth." Karofsky warned as his grip got tighter. He didn't need to finish the warning though because Kurt knew that if he so much made a squeak of protest in the hallway it would only result in Karofsky being rougher with him in the closet.

As soon as the closet door was closed, Karofsky pushed Kurt against the shelves and grabbed him by the ass. "Please...don't." Kurt said brokenly.

"Shut it, Hummel!" Karofsky snapped, grabbing Kurt's hand to palm his erection.

"Please...you don't want to do this. This...this wrong...please." Kurt begged.

"I said to shut up!" Karofsky said angrily. "If you want to fucking beg then I'll make you beg!" Karofsky's hand went for Kurt's zipper and began to roughly take Kurt's pants off. He forced Kurt's pants and boxers down before swiftly turning him around and placing his erection firmly against Kurt's ass.

"Oh my God! No! Please! Please no!" Kurt cried desperately.

"I told you I'd make you beg you fucking little whore!" Karofsky snarled as he forced Kurt's body to bend over. Karofsky licked his lips at the sight in front of him. Kurt struggled to get free. He cried and yelled loudly but Karofsky's grip was too strong. Karofsky spit in his hand and coated his cock thoroughly before lining himself up to Kurt's entrance.

"Please dear God! Don't do this! Please don't do this!" Kurt cried.

"I said I'd make you beg." Karofsky purred before thrusting his erection into Kurt.

"I cried and I screamed and I prayed that he would stop or that someone would walk by and hear me but nothing. He just kept at it. It was pure agony. The more I yelled the rougher he got. When he finally finished, I fell to the ground and sobbed. I didn't care that he was still there. What else was he going to do to me? Kill me? I think he panicked when he saw what he had done because he ran out of there faster than

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I'd ever seen him run. And I just stayed there and cried. I didn't go to any of my classes for the rest of the day. I think I may have even blacked out for a little bit. I skipped Glee club that night, not that I participated anymore, went home, and cut deeper than I ever had. I remember being thankful that Carole and my dad were working because it was so painful to move. How I managed to drive home and walk up the stairs is beyond me."

"I convinced my dad to let me stay home that next day. I made some lame excuse about being sick and even though he was reluctant, he let me stay. I was curled up in bed all day just crying and falling deeper into the black hole. The only time I got up was to cut." Kurt wiped his fallen tears away, aware of the fact that Blaine was crying right along with him. What he hadn't realized was that Cooper and Sebastian were crying with him too. "He left me alone for a few weeks after that. I don't know if he was scared that I'd finally tell someone or if he was scared over the fact that he did it but he left me alone. No slushies, no name-calling, nothing. I knew it was too good to be true and that he would come after me again but it was a nice break from it all."

"The night Finn found me cutting was one of my worst days. Karofsky had been watching me all day. It was like a cat and mouse game. He toyed with me the entire day and it was terrifying. I ended up in the library that afternoon while Finn was in Glee club and worked on a paper that was due. I figured that the jocks were all gone for the day and they never come into the library anyway so I thought I was safe. I...I saw him coming before he saw me but...he knew I was there. I hid in the back and held my mouth, desperately trying not to let any noises escape. The librarian kicked him out before he found me but the fear of him being so close, especially after the way he taunted me all day was just...it was too much."

"Finn knew something was wrong. He knew that something happened but I refused to talk to him. I ran upstairs right when we got home, not even hearing Finn call out to me. I was too lost on my own world to acknowledge him. I was always very meticulous about when I cut but that night...I don't even think I closed the door behind me. Finn ran up after me just as I slit my wrists and he freaked out."

"Dude! What the hell are you doing?!" Finn asked in shock. Kurt was kneeling on the floor, razor in one hand, and his wrist dripping blood.

Kurt looked up at Finn, his eyes dark and droopy. "Finn." He said brokenly before falling over and letting the darkness consume him.

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"Oh my God! Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!" Finn panicked at the sight of Kurt. "Please don't die. Please don't die." He mumbled as he pulled his phone out and called his mother.

"I told my family about the bullying that night and how bad it had gotten but I didn't tell them everything. I couldn't. Not with my dad's heart. My dad knew...he knows that it was something deeper than just getting tossed into dumpsters but...I can't tell him. Not yet." Kurt said quietly.

"I didn't know it was that bad, Kurt." Sebastian said softly. "Neither did I." Blaine said sadly.

"Yeah...it was bad." Kurt sniffled. "But it's ok. I mean, it's not but...it is. I'm here now and I have you guys so...it'll be ok."

Cooper squeezed Kurt's leg comfortingly, letting him know that he was there for him too. He then looked at Blaine who was avoiding all eye contact. Listening to the boys talk about their problems had really blown him away. How such young boys could've gone through so much was beyond him. He was scared for Blaine. He was scared that he wouldn't be able to handle what his little brother told him but he needed to know. He needed to understand what happened.

"Blaine." Cooper said softly.

Blaine looked up at Cooper, his eyes already filled with tears as the realization that he was supposed to tell them everything sank in. He knew it was coming. He knew he had to do it. That didn't stop the panic from setting in.

"Are you ok?" Kurt asked him in concern.

Blaine nodded and took a few deep breaths before talking. "I was 12 when I came out but it wasn't by choice. The kids at school had been teasing me all year and one day I snapped. I screamed at them that they were right, that I was gay and they needed to get over it. They beat the crap out of me instead. When I got home, I had cuts and bruises all over my body and my dad was livid."

"Who the hell do they think they are beating up my son?!" Mr. Anderson said angrily.

"Dad." Blaine said meekly.

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"Where were the damn teachers? Why didn't anyone help you?!"

"Dad."

"I'm going to the school board first thing in the morning and giving those people a piece of my mind!"

"DAD!" Blaine yelled, trying to get his father's attention.

"What, Blaine?" Mr. Anderson snapped.

"It's my fault." Blaine said brokenly.

"What did you do?" Mr. Anderson asked accusingly.

"I...I told them I was gay." Blaine said just above a whisper.

"Why would you do that? You better not be standing up for some faggot. I know I raised you to be a strong man but this better not be some help the gay kid crap." Mr. Anderson warned.

"It's not, Dad." Blaine said quietly. "I told them I was gay because I am." "No, you are not." Mr. Anderson said firmly.

"But I am." Blaine said weakly.

Mr. Anderson walked over to his son, grabbed him firmly by the hair and wrenched Blaine's face up to his. Blaine winced in pain as his heart raced. "You listen to me right now, young man. If you're choosing to be a damn queer then you better realize the consequences that come from it."

"Honey? What's going on?" Mrs. Anderson said from the hallway in confusion.

"Stay out of this." He barked at her and jerked his son's hair again. "Are you listening to me, Blaine? This

better be some terrible joke. I will not have a faggot for a son." "I can't change who I am, Dad." Blaine said in desperation.

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Mr. Anderson shook Blaine vigorously before shoving him to the floor. "Get the hell out of my sight. I don't want to see you again."

"But, Dad-"

"Now!"

"Things got really bad after that. The kids in school were so cruel and then I'd come home to the same thing. My mom never said anything to me. She never even looked at me. My grandmother made it very clear that homosexuality was a sin and that I was going to hell if I continued on the path I was on. She never said anything to me after that. She only looked at me in disgust. And then my dad...I couldn't do anything without it being too gay. The way I ate, the way I walked, the way I dressed, everything."

"Damn it, boy! Eat like a man! Quit eating like a prissy little queer!" XXXX

"Can't you walk like a normal person? Do you have to walk like a faggot?" XXXX

"What the hell are you wearing? Do you want people to know you're a fucking pansy? Why don't you just go put on a dress! You deserve to get your ass kicked."

XXXX

"Hurry up in that damn bathroom! I swear you fags take a longer time primping then women do! What a disgrace to men."

"He turned everything I did into it being too gay. It was a constant thing with him. I never did anything right after that. He got in the habit of grabbing me by the hair every chance he had."

Blaine was walking down the stairs to the kitchen when his father saw him. "What the hell do you want?" Mr. Anderson asked through gritted teeth.

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"I was just getting some food sir." Blaine said timidly, trying not to anger his father.

"Don't patronize me by calling me sir!" Mr. Anderson snapped, grabbing Blaine by the hair and yanking him down the last few steps so that Blaine tripped over his feet and twisted his ankle. "Get your food and get back upstairs." Mr. Anderson released his hold with so much force that Blaine collapsed at the base of the stairs."Disgusting." Mr. Anderson mumbled before walking away.

XXXX

Blaine was sitting on the couch, quietly watching TV when his father walked in with a work associate. He walked over to where Blaine was sitting, grabbed him by his hair, and flung him off the couch.

"What do you think you're doing down here? Get back upstairs and stay out of my way!" Mr. Anderson said as he dragged Blaine to the stairs.

"Is that the fag?" Blaine heard his father's associate ask.

"Yeah, that's him. Worthless little queer."

XXXX

Blaine was lying in bed still, half way between awake and asleep, when his father abruptly came into the room.

"Get up!" Mr. Anderson yelled. "Get out of bed now!"

"Wasgoinon?" Blaine asked sleepily.

"I said to get up!" Mr. Anderson snapped as he grasped Blaine by his ungelled curls to get him out of bed. "I have people coming over and I don't need to them to see my faggot son! Get dressed and get out. Don't come back all day."

"One day I put gel in my hair. When he grabbed it, he was disgusted, and shoved me against the wall. But he stopped grabbing it as much, so I kept using it." Blaine said crying.

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"He didn't." Blaine said quickly. "I mean he did today but he never hit me before."

"Blaine, he grabbed you by the hair and shoved you around like a ragdoll and pushed you into things. You could have been really hurt. Today may have been the first time he struck you but he's been physically abusing you for years." Cooper said firmly.

"Cooper." Heather said softly. "Let him finish." Cooper bit his tongue to stop himself from talking and took a deep breath to calm himself. "Please, Blaine, continue."

"Between everything at school and everything at home, I started getting really angry. I would go into my room and scream into my pillow until my throat hurt. Everyone hated me; everyone. I lost all my friends and I lost my family and I just...I hated myself for being gay. I hated myself for not being able to be normal. One day, I was so pissed off that when I got home, I went straight into my bathroom and just punched it. I kept punching the glass over and over again just to see it break. That was the first time I cut."

Blaine breathed heavily as he stared at the shattered glass around him. He saw the blood trickling down from his knuckles and was entranced by it; the way it flowed down his fingers, the color, the smell. He smiled at himself when he felt the pulsing in his hand. It was the best feeling in the world. He picked up a shard from the sink, stared at it for only a moment before sliding it over his wrist. He winced at the pain, but then breathed in relaxation as his body became light. He sliced once more, deeper than the first time, and relished in the feel of his pulse. He didn't bother to clean up the mess. He only rinsed the blood off and walked out of the room.

"It became an addiction after that. Feeling my pulse, seeing myself bleed, hearing my heartbeat in my ears whenever I got lightheaded, I craved it. I craved the feeling of being lightweight when the world around me was so heavy. Everything happened so fast. I hadn't even turned 13 yet. I cut for years, desperate to feel something other than hatred." Blaine cried into Kurt's shoulder, subconsciously rubbing the old scars on his wrists. "I even thought about killing myself."

"Blaine." Kurt said brokenly.

"I'm so sorry, Kurt." Blaine said shamefaced.

"You don't have to be sorry, Blaine." Kurt replied, trying his best to hold his emotions. "You didn't do it

and that's all that matter."

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"Yeah, but I almost did."

Blaine had a particularly long day a few days after he turned 15. It was the first day of freshman year and the bullying at his high school was tenfold the bullying at his middle school. He walked over to his bathroom, pulled out the familiar razor, and cut deep into his skin. He watched the blood drip into the sink. He sliced again and again, deeper and deeper, only stopping when his legs gave out under him. He slipped in and out of consciousness for the next hour. He couldn't be positive, but he was pretty sure that his father found him and left him be, mumbling "I don't know why he won't just kill himself and save us all the hassle," as he walked out.

"I didn't know if I dreamt it or not, but the words wouldn't get out of my head. I stole my mom's sleeping pills later that night and just stared at them. I stared at the bottle for hours, trying to convince myself to take them. I even went as far as opening the bottle and pouring the pills in my hand. But I couldn't do it. I wanted to...but I couldn't. The only reason I didn't was because Cooper popped into my head and the thought of disappointing him was overwhelming." Blaine said, his gaze glued on the floor. "You saved my life, Coop. I don't think I would've been able to stop myself if I hadn't thought of you."

Cooper pulled Blaine in for a tight embrace, tears freely falling from his face. "I love you so much, Blaine. Don't you ever forget that. We're going to get through this together. You are not alone and I promise that I will never leave you again."

"I'm so sorry, Cooper. I wasn't strong enough. I couldn't handle it all." Blaine cried into his brother's chest.

"But you were. You stopped yourself from taking those pills and you didn't give up on me. You are so strong, Blaine. Stronger than you know." Cooper told him.

Cooper and Blaine held each other for a few moments, both trying to get a grip on their emotions. Heather let her own tears fall for not just Blaine, but for all the people out there that ever sat on the brink of suicide and for all the kids who didn't have someone like Cooper in their lives to stop them. The fellow Warblers cried as well, none being able to wrap their heads around the fact that Blaine thought about taking his life. Kurt simply sat there silently, holding onto Blainey-Boo for dear life. Blaine, his Blaine almost killed himself and that thought was way too much to process.

"I was at my lowest point during that time. The only thing that kept me alive was the thought of you." Blaine told Cooper. "About a week after that was when Grams found me. We'd barely talked since I came

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out but when she found me, everything changed. I was curled up in a ball in the bathroom, crying and covered in blood and when she walked in, I just kept saying that I was sorry. I kept apologizing for being gay and for being a disgrace to the family and she looked at me like I was talking gibberish. I couldn't understand her reaction and it scared me. I started panicking and thinking that she was going to tell my mom and dad but she didn't. She knelt down next to me and cried. She grabbed a towel and cleaned me up before pulling me into a hug."

"She started saying how sorry she was and how wrong she was and how she was going to fix everything. I didn't know what to think but it had been so long since anyone even touched me, nonetheless hugged me and I clung on to her desperately. We cried together for hours until I fell asleep in her arms. When I woke back up, I was still in the bathroom but I was covered by a blanket. I walked out and found her sitting on my bed with my baby books."

"Grams?" Blaine said cautiously.

His grandmother looked up at him, tears streaming down her face. "Blainey, I'm so sorry." She told him. Blaine walked over to his bed and took a seat next to her. She placed the book down, wrapped her arms around her grandson, and hugged him tightly. "I'm so, so sorry. I don't...I was so scared when I saw you. I thought you were going to die. I was wrong, Blaine. I was wrong. I don't understand this but you are my grandson and I love you. I'm so sorry. I'll try, Blaine. I'll try for you. Just please, please don't kill yourself. Please."

"She convinced my dad to let me move in with her. She told him she would fix me and he believed she would turn me straight so he let her take me. If she hadn't...I don't think I'd be here right now. I don't think I would've made it much longer without taking my life." Blaine told them.

Beatz suddenly stood up from where he was sitting, walked over to Blaine, and went in for an embrace. "Don't do it. Please. Don't ever do anything like that again. Losing Jimmy was hard enough. I can't lose you too."

Blaine wrapped his arms around Beatz and nodded. "I won't. I swear." Cooper stood up from the couch as the other Warblers walked over to Blaine. They surrounded Blaine in a group hug, all of them wanting, needing Blaine to know just how loved he was.

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Cooper stood off in a corner, his shoulder shaking slightly as the tears streamed down his face. His amazing baby brother almost killed himself and stopped because of him. He stopped because he didn't want to disappoint Cooper and that blew him away. He felt like a failure as a brother for not being there for Blaine in his most desperate hour.

"Cooper?" Heather said softly from behind him. "This isn't your fault." Cooper scoffed at her. "It isn't. You weren't the one that abused and neglected him."

"I should've been there." Cooper told her angrily.

"You're here now. That's what counts." Heather told him. She rubbed his back comfortingly for a moment before turning her attention back to the boys. "I think we've been through enough for the night, boys. You can head back up to your dorms."

The boys started to part, all of them teary eyed and depressed. "Wes, the Warblers have tomorrow off. Use the day to reinforce your brotherhood." Heather told him. Wes nodded in understanding at her and quickly pulled his phone out to let the other boys know that tomorrow was Warbler day. Heather unlocked the door to let the boys out of the room, hugging them all one by one as they left the room. Once all the boys were out of the room, Cooper approached her.

"Would it be ok if I stayed the night with Blaine?" Cooper asked her.

"Of course. You can stay as long as you like tomorrow." Heather told him softly. "Thank you, Heather." Cooper said in relief and walked out of the room.

The boys reluctantly went their separate ways once they were back at the dorms. They wanted to stay with Blaine but Blaine insisted that he would fine with Kurt and Cooper. Kurt, Blaine, and Cooper stayed quiet as they got settled for bed. Blaine and Kurt were both exhausted from opening themselves up and all they wanted to do was hold each other in bed. While Blaine and Kurt slept on Kurt's bed, Cooper slept in Blaine's. No one really slept though. Most of the night consisted of Kurt and Cooper singing Blaine back to sleep after dreaming and Cooper's thoughts were too wrapped up in everything to let him sleep.

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He didn't know what to think or what to do. It was all so much to take in, including Kurt's past. In the short amount of time that he knew Kurt, he grew to care for him deeply. He was boggled by the fact that he had been through so much. He was torn between being an adult in the situation and being a friend. What he did know was that he and Kurt were going to have a one-on-one and soon; the sooner the better. And after that one-on-one, he would have to talk to Burt. What the talk would consist of all depended on his chat with Kurt but it was definitely going to happen. He also had to go see his parents. Now that he knew everything, now that he understood how broken and lost his baby brother was, it was time to confront them.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

Coming to Terms

Kurt barely slept that night. It had been one of the longest and most stressful nights of his life. While he hadn't had any nightmares himself, Blaine did and from what he could tell, they had been bad. He and Cooper spent all night trying to calm Blaine down enough so that he could sleep but every time Blaine closed his eyes, the nightmare was waiting for him. Kurt cried for Blaine so much throughout the night, that come morning, he felt like he physically had no tears left in him. His thoughts were plagued with images of a younger Blaine trying to take his life and it shattered his heart in ways he never knew possible. Had Blaine succeeded, had he not thought about his brother, he wouldn't be there and that was too much for Kurt's mind to process.

When he woke up that morning to find Blaine and Cooper still sound asleep, he silently snuck out of the room in need of air. He was feeling suffocated by all the emotions and stress and he needed to get out. He walked over to the courtyard, too lost in his thoughts to realize that he walked past Sebastian and Beatz. He simply kept his head down and walked out of the dorms without saying a word. Beatz and Sebastian glanced at each other apprehensively before nodding and following Kurt out of the building.

Kurt sat down on one of the benches outside, closed his eyes, and breathed in deeply in an attempt to center himself. With Spring right around the corner, the breeze was cool and relaxing, the birds were starting to come home, and nature was coming back to life. It was a beautiful day outside but Kurt was too lost to truly appreciate it. He hadn't heard Beatz and Sebastian approach him so when they sat down next to him, one on each side, he instinctively flinched.

"Someone's jumpy today." Beatz commented sadly.

"Sorry. Long night." Kurt answered quietly.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Sebastian asked him as he comfortingly rubbed Kurt's back.

Even though Kurt shook his head no, the words came spilling out on their own accord. "Blaine kept having nightmares and we couldn't get to calm down enough to really fall asleep and the few times he did fall asleep, I just laid there thinking about everything he's been through and how horrible his father is and I can't stop thinking about how he almost killed himself and I can't even begin to process a world without him and I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do." Tears began streaming down his face halfway

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through his rant, only adding anger to his sadness. "And I can't stop fucking crying! Every few minutes I'm crying and I'm tired of it! I'm tired of being pissed! I'm tired of being sad and hurt! I'm tired of all this damn hatred in this screwed up world and I'm just so tired! I'm so tired."

Sebastian pulled Kurt in for an embrace, glancing at Beatz who had his own set of tears streaming down. In truth, none of the Warblers that experienced full disclosure night had slept much but they all knew that Kurt and Blaine would have it the worst.

"What do I do?" Kurt asked brokenly. "How do I talk to him without breaking down? He needs me to be strong for him but I don't know how."

"You just have to be there for him, Kurt." Beatz said softly. "Even if you break down, just be there. He doesn't need you to be strong for him. He needs you to love him."

"I just...I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop imagining him dead on the floor and his parents not even caring. How could they do that? How could they neglect their son like that? What if he actually went through with it?" Kurt said angrily.

"Some people are monsters, Kurt. You and I both know that firsthand." Sebastian said quietly. "That's why it's so important for us to just support and love each other. We have to be each other's anchor in order to get through all this."

"And you can't keep thinking about what happened. You can't think what if. It's only going to drive you crazy." Beatz told him.

"I know but-"

"No buts." Beatz said firmly. "I'm the king of what if scenarios. What if I hadn't come to Dalton? What if I stayed home with Jimmy? Would he still be alive? Would I have been able to save him? None of those questions matter because there's nothing that can be done. I can't go back in time and change the past. All I can do is move forward and accept the fact that it is what it is. Blaine's stronger than he thinks. He didn't take the pills, he didn't commit suicide."

"But he could've! He almost did!" Kurt argued back.

"But he didn't and that's what counts." Beatz replied.

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"You can't dwell on this, Kurt. Beatz is right. You're going to drive yourself crazy if you do. When you and Blaine talk, tell him how you feel, talk it out, and then drop it. You want to be strong for him? Show him that you love him no matter what. That's what he needs." Sebastian said.

Kurt wiped his tears away and nodded. He knew they were right, even though everything still hurt. "Do you think he'll be ok?"

"Eventually, I'm sure he will be. It's just going to take time for him to heal, time and love." Beatz told him.

Kurt sighed and nodded again. The boys sat there quietly for a few minutes, Kurt trying to calm himself down so that he could go back into the dorms and Beatz and Sebastian trying to find the courage to talk to Kurt about what they decided the night before. When Kurt stood up to leave, Beatz stopped him.

"Wait! We're not done yet." He said quickly.

Kurt turned to look at them, finally noticing their scheming expressions. "What are you two up to?"

"Nothing." They answered simultaneously, earning them Kurt's bitch glare.

"Well...nothing yet." Beatz clarified.

"Ok." Kurt said expectantly.

"After you and Blaine went to bed, the rest of stayed up talking...about you." Sebastian told him.

"What about me?" Kurt asked confused.

"We decided that we wanted to help the New Directions in their plan to get Karofsky back." Beatz said in a rush.

"What?" Kurt deadpanned.

"Hear us out." Sebastian said quickly. "After you told us what happened, we all agreed that he needs a severe ass beating but we know that's not the answer. Whatever your friends have planned is happening this weekend and we need to know what's going on so that we can protect you if we have to. So, we were

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hoping that we could get your friends to come here and tell us the plan. We'd like your permission Kurt, but we'll go behind your back if we have to."

"Seriously?" Kurt asked in disbelief.

"Seriously. Look, we know you're scared that he's going to come find you but we can't protect you if we don't know all their details. If he comes here and somehow gets back in the school, we need to be prepared." Sebastian said firmly.

Kurt chuckled humorlessly and shook his head in defeat. "Fine. I'll call them and get them to come up here."

"We just want to watch out for you." Beatz said softly.

"I know." Kurt replied sighing before turning away and walking off.

Blaine woke up shortly after Kurt left, feeling tired and sore all over. He laid in bed for a little while, staring up at the ceiling as the previous night's memories jumped around his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about Kurt and what he went through with Karofsky. His beautiful, amazing boyfriend had been brutally raped and it angered him deeply. How someone could do that to Kurt, to anyone really, was beyond his comprehension. All he wanted to do was find Karofsky and beat the living crap out of him. He may fear his father, but he wasn't afraid of the burly football player and he would gladly teach the boy a lesson in respect if he could.

With a frustrated sigh, Blaine sat up in the bed and ran his fingers through his hair. It's going to be such a long day. He glanced over at Cooper, guilt instantly washing over him. He hated that he couldn't get a grip on himself that night. He knew he'd have nightmares but he didn't think they'd be any worse than what they already were. He was wrong. The shadow, his father, was waiting for him every single time he closed his eyes and Cooper was there to witness it all. It was bad enough that Kurt had been dealing with his nightmares for weeks, but now Cooper had a full night of it and he hated worrying his brother. He lowered his head into his hands and let out a shaky breath before the tears took over. It only took a few minutes of him crying for Cooper to wake up.

"Squirt?" Cooper said quietly as he sat up in the bed.

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"Sorry, Coop. I didn't mean to wake you." Blaine replied just above a whisper.

"No need to apologize, I needed to wake up anyway." Cooper told him as he stretched.

Blaine nodded silently, wiping away the few tears that had fallen with the end of his sleeve. Cooper watched him for a moment and in that moment, he saw his baby brother instead of a teenager. His hair was disheveled, he had his hands hidden in the long sleeves with the material bunched up in between his fingers, and he was staring off into the distance. Cooper knew that it meant that Blaine was still lost in his nightmare. He used to do the same thing when he was younger. Cooper got up from where he was sitting, walked over to Blaine, and sat down next to him.

"Do you remember when you were seven and you kept having nightmares about Lord Voldemort?" Cooper asked him curiously.

"How could I forget?" Blaine replied with a small chuckle. "I slept with my makeshift wand for weeks so that dream me had a way to fight him."

"Uh, huh. Do you remember what I told you?" Cooper asked. Blaine smiled softly at him. That night had been one of his fondest memories of Cooper growing up.

"Blainey it was just a dream. He can't hurt you." Cooper said quietly as he ran his fingers through Blaine's unruly curls.

"I know Coop but he was so real!" Blaine argued back. "And dream me forgot about the wand so I couldn't fight back."

"I need to have a serious talk with dream you." Cooper said as he placed both hands on Blaine's face, bringing his head closer so that he could talk into the top of Blaine's curls. "Listen here dream Blaine, you cannot forget your wand anymore. He-who-must-not-be-named is an evil ass," Blaine giggled at Cooper's profanity, "and you must fight him with all you got!"

"Coop," Blaine whined. "Dream me can't hear you. I'm not asleep, duh."

"Alright then you listen to me." Cooper said firmly. "Lord Vol-" Blaine took in a sharp breath at the name. "I

mean, He-who-must-not-be-named is scary, yes. He's evil and dangerous and could kill you within a second.

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But, you are strong. Stronger than you think you are and he better watch it or you're going to kick his ass! Besides, the day you have to stop running and fight him, I'll be right there next to you fighting too."

"You promise?" Blaine asked softly.

"Of course! I'm your big brother Squirt. It's my job to always protect you." Cooper replied proudly.

"Thanks, Coop." Blaine said. "You really are the coolest brother. Not everyone is willing to fight the Dark Lord ya know."

"Oh I know, but not us. Together, you and I can totally take him." Cooper assured him. "Now come on and lay down. Before I can fight the Dark Lord, I need to pass my Chemistry exam tomorrow and that, is scary."

"You can do it though." Blaine said with certainty as they settled down in Cooper's bed. "If anyone can, it's you."

"You haven't met my teacher." Cooper joked. "Goodnight Blainey. Love you."

"Love you too, Coop." Blaine replied with a yawn. That next night when Blaine dreamt of Lord Voldemort, not only did he remember his wand, but Cooper was right there with him for the battle. That was the last time Blaine had a nightmare involving the evil character.

"Nothing I said that night has changed, Blaine. You are still so much stronger than you think you are and I am still here to fight alongside you." Cooper told him firmly.

"Are you calling Dad Lord Voldemort then?" Blaine asked with a small laugh.

"No way." Cooper scoffed. "Dad is nowhere near as cool of a villain as the Dark Lord. But he is a villain nonetheless, a real one, and I'll be damned if I let him hurt you again. You're not a little boy anymore but I'm still your big brother and it's still my job to protect you. That's never going to change."

"You're still the coolest brother around ya know." Blaine said genuinely.

"That I am." Cooper replied proudly. "I love you, Blaine. Always have and I always will." "I love you too, Cooper." Blaine said through watery eyes. "Thanks for being here."

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"You bet." Cooper said as he pulled Blaine in for a hug. "Where's Kurt?"

"Not sure. He was gone when I woke up." Blaine replied sadly.

Just then, the dorm room door opened up and Kurt walked in. "You're awake." He said softly.

"Yeah, just woke up." Blaine replied as he got up from the bed and walked over to Kurt. "How are you feeling?" he asked as he wrapped his arms around Kurt's waist.

"I'm ok." Kurt shrugged. "You?"

"I'm ok." Blaine replied with his own shrug. "You mind if I shower first?"

"Go ahead but be fast. Wes said that everyone has to be in the Warbler hall by the time class starts and since we woke up late, we only have about 45 minutes." Kurt informed him.

"I'll be fast and then the shower's yours." Blaine assured him with a chaste kiss before walking into their bathroom.

"Morning, Coop." Kurt said quietly as he walked over to the closet to pull out his and Blaine's uniforms.

"Morning, Kurt. Where'd you run off to this morning?" Cooper asked curiously.

"I went down to the courtyard for some fresh air." Kurt replied, his back facing Cooper.

"Hey." Cooper said, making Kurt turn around to look at him. "Come sit with me for a minute." Kurt took a deep breath before walking over to Cooper and sitting down. "I wanted to talk to you about last night."

"Cooper, I-"

"Let me say something first." Cooper interrupted. "I know that it was difficult for you to tell us what happened and I can only imagine how scared you must've been. But I need you to know that none of it was your fault."

"I know that." Kurt said defensively.

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"Do you?" Cooper challenged.

"I-yeah?" Kurt said unconvinced. "I mean, I know that it isn't it my fault, really, I do. I just...sometimes I can't help but wonder if I hadn't been so out and proud of who I am, then maybe he wouldn't have made me his special project." He said bitterly.

"Kurt, I don't care if you walked around with a neon sign that said, 'Look at me, I'm gay.' He had no right to attack you in any way, shape, or form and nothing you did makes it your fault. He's the scared and insecure one. You are the strong and brave one. Don't you ever forget that." Kurt nodded silently. "Now, I don't want to overstep my boundaries with you, but I think you need to tell your dad."

"Cooper I can't. His heart can't take that. Besides if I tell him then he's going to try and get the law involved and that'll result in Karofsky's word against mine. I'm not putting my family through that." Kurt replied firmly.

"Fine, I can't make you tell him and I won't tell him either. But one day, you need to tell him Kurt. He's your father and he loves you. He deserves to know the truth." Cooper said softly.

"I know and I will. One day, I'll tell him everything but...just not yet." Kurt said with a heavy sigh.

"Alright." Copper nodded. "If you ever need to talk, I'm here. Even if you and Blaine were to break up,

which I highly doubt, I'm here for you. Always."

"Thanks Cooper." Kurt said with a small smile.

"It's no problem." Cooper assured him. "I'm going to go make a phone call. Tell Blaine I'll be right back."

"Ok." Kurt nodded. Cooper ruffled Kurt's hair, laughing at how Kurt scowled at him for it, and left the room to make his call.

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Roughly ten minutes after Cooper left, Blaine got out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. The first thing Kurt noticed was the bruises on his chest from being struck by his father. Kurt visibly

paled at the sight.

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"Blaine." Kurt breathed out as he walked over to him. Blaine stood still as Kurt's hands lightly traced the markings on his body, hating the pained expression on his boyfriends face.

"Don't." Blaine said brokenly, grabbing Kurt's hand to make him stop.

Kurt glanced up from the bruises, his tear filled eyes meeting Blaine's. "I'm so sorry." He said quietly as he wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck. "You didn't deserve this. I'm so sorry."

"You aren't the one that hurt me Kurt, don't apologize for him." Blaine replied sullenly. "Where's Coop?" "He said he had to make a phone call and that he'd be right back." Kurt answered. "How are you feeling?" "Fine I guess." Blaine shrugged, not meeting Kurt's eyes.

"Blaine." Kurt said softly. Blaine slowly looked up at Kurt, his resolve breaking the instant their eyes met.

"I feel like shit, ok?" Blaine said, his voice wavering. "I'm tired and I'm angry and I hate this! I hate feeling so damn lost and I hate being so afraid and I just...I hate it, Kurt. Why did he have to come here? Why couldn't he just leave me alone? I was doing fine. I was getting better and he just had to come and screw it all up!"

Kurt responded by closing the gap between them and kissing Blaine firmly, putting all of his love into it. There was so much he wanted to say but the need to show Blaine how much he loved him took over. Blaine was taken aback by Kurt's sudden forcefulness but accepted it. The way Kurt's tongue dominated his mouth made him momentarily forget about everything. Kurt wrapped his fingers through Blaine's curls as Blaine's grip on Kurt's hips tightened. They needed this. They needed to get lost in each other and relish the moment that had been stolen from them the day before. When both their cellphones beeped, indicating that they had a new message, they parted for only a moment.

"That's probably Wes." Kurt said breathily.

"Don't care. Want you." Blaine replied before attaching their lips again.

This time around, Blaine took control of the kiss and Kurt let him. Their kisses were rough and needy, both boys desperate for the other, both boys wanting to forget and get lost in the moment. Kurt's hand slipped down Blaine's back, stopping just above the towel. His fingers then grabbed the towel and swiftly pulled it

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off. He placed his hand on Blaine's ass, squeezing roughly, earning him a guttural moan from Blaine. Blaine grabbed the hem of Kurt's shirt, parting from the kiss to take the shirt off. He placed one hand on Kurt's lower back, the other around Kurt's neck, and crashed their lips together. Kurt teasingly slipped a single finger down Blaine's ass crack, earning him another moan that went straight to his cock. Just as Blaine thrust his hips forward in search of friction, Cooper opened the door. Cooper stood at the doorway in shock for a moment before clearing his throat.

Kurt let out an undignified squeak while Blaine quickly grabbed his towel off the floor. "Coop!" "I said I'd be right back." Cooper replied with a smirk.

"I'm going to take a shower." Kurt said in embarrassment and practically ran into the bathroom. "Cock-blocked by the better looking brother." Cooper teased.

"Shut up." Blaine said irritably, his face red from embarrassment. Cooper simply laughed and ruffled Blaine's hair before taking a seat at Blaine's desk.

By the time Kurt, Blaine, and Cooper entered the Warbler Hall, the boys were already shouting out suggestions on what to do for their free day. Wes was in a shouting match with Beatz, David was in one with Trent, Thad was doing his best to write down all of the legitimate options, Sebastian was watching everyone argue in amusement, and somehow amongst all the chaos, Nick and Jeff were playing cards. Blaine and Kurt both visibly relaxed at not getting caught coming in late, earning them a chuckle from Cooper.

"Are they usually like this?" Cooper asked Blaine in a hushed voice.

"Pretty much." Blaine replied laughing.

"Warblers, Warblers!" Wes yelled as he banged his gavel. "This is getting us nowhere." "We'd get further if you came up with a better idea than bowling." Beatz yelled out.

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"You're only saying that because you're the best bowler here." Blaine called out.

"I am not putting on shoes someone else with nasty feet wore. No, no, no." Kurt said shaking his head.

"Warbler Blaine and Warbler Kurt, you were both 10 minutes late after I specifically told you to be here before class. You have no room to comment." Wes said firmly, waving his gavel at them as if it were an extension of his arm. Kurt and Blaine both looked down at their feet from being reprimanded, making Cooper snort under his breath.

"Why can't we go to the zoo?" Trent asked in irritation.

"Because I'm scared of the giraffe's." Thad answered quietly, a faint blush creeping up his cheeks.

"But you're having sex with a giraffe." Beatz said smirking, making a few of the Warblers snicker.

"Watch it Beatz." Sebastian replied firmly, earning him several more laughs.

"What's wrong with Dave Busters?" Beatz asked seriously.

"We are not going there again." Wes said firmly. "The last time we went, you and several of the Warblers flirted with the waitresses and got drunk. We are not breaking the Dean's trust."

"Come on, Councilman Wes, live a little." Sebastian teased.

"No." Wes replied seriously.

"What about paintballing?" David suggested. The Warblers almost instantly quieted, giving David the opportunity to continue. "We haven't gone together yet and it'll be a really good team building exercise. Freshman and Juniors against the Sophomore and Seniors."

"That's actually a really good idea Warbler David." Wes said approvingly.

"Yeah I know." David replied as brushed his shoulder off. "All in favor of going paintballing?" The majority of the Warblers raised their hands eagerly.

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"Paintball it is." Wes said with a gavel bang. "You have 15 minutes to change into something suitable. Everyone meet up at the buses." The Warblers quickly dispersed to change into the appropriate attire, many of them already whispering strategies with those on their team. Cooper, who had followed Kurt and Blaine out of the rehearsal hall, pulled Blaine aside and gestured at Kurt keep going.

"What is it?" Blaine asked cautiously.

"I'm going to head out. I have some things to take care of." Cooper told him. Blaine immediately opened his mouth to argue but Cooper cut him off. "I know you want me to stay but you need to spend time with your brothers. If you really want me to come back and stay tonight I will. But I think you should spend the evening with Kurt and you can't do that with me around." He said with a mischievous grin, making Blaine blush. "I'll give you a call later tonight."

"Alright." Blaine nodded with a sigh. Cooper hugged his brother, kissed his forehead goodbye, and left a nervous Blaine behind.

Cooper sat in his car outside his parents' house for over thirty minutes before he finally found the strength to get out. As he sat there thinking about everything that Blaine had told him, his heart ache grew tenfold. He was still trying to process the fact that their parents had treated him so badly, especially their mother. He assumed that it wasn't so much that she didn't accept him as much as it was that he feared her husband's reaction. She was always a very soft spoken person while their father was headstrong. Cooper took a lot after him while Blaine took after her. He hoped that their confrontation would bring some kind of positive results but he wasn't holding his breath.

As he walked up to the front door, the dread he was feeling slowly seeped away and had been replaced by determination. He needed to be strong for Blaine and he was not going to let their father get to him. He stood at the front door for only a few seconds before ringing the doorbell. He wasn't surprised to see a butler answer or instead of his parents. His father always loved flashing his success.

"May I help you?" The butler asked in a bored voice.

"I'm here to see Nathan." Cooper answered as he walked past the man.

"I'll go get him." The butler replied, clearly affronted that Cooper didn't wait for an invite into the house.

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"No need." Cooper replied, ignoring the man's confused expression as he walked away.

Cooper walked straight towards his father's study where he knew the man would be working. He didn't bother knocking on the double doors and simply walked in. Nathan glanced up from his paperwork, not letting his oldest son see his distaste for the unannounced visit.

"Did you forget how to knock?" Nathan asked, a distinctive edge in his tone.

"No I didn't forget. Knocking represents respect and that's the last thing you deserve." Cooper countered.

"I'm too busy for your childish antics Cooper. Say what you came to say and get out." Nathan replied without looking up from his work.

"Fine." Cooper said as he crossed his arms, his eyes narrowing on his father. "I know what happened with Blaine, what really happened, and I'm not letting you get away with it."

"You have a lot of nerve coming into to my home with this nonsense." Nathan snapped.

"It isn't nonsense. What you did to him was completely unacceptable." Cooper said firmly.

"I didn't do anything accept make him see the truth." Nathan countered.

"And what truth is that?" Cooper challenged.

"That he's nothing but a disgusting queer." Nathan sneered.

"How dare you call him that? He's your son!" Cooper said angrily.

"He is not my son! No son of mine would choose to be a fucking fag!" Nathan shouted.

"Are you even listening to yourself? He didn't choose anything. It's who he is! As his father you should've accepted him, not abuse him!" Cooper yelled back.

"Who do you think you are, coming in here and dictating me? You will show me respect in my home!" Nathan snapped as he stood up from his desk and made his way over to Cooper.

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"You don't deserve respect after what you did to Blaine." Cooper quipped. "What you deserve is to be locked up for abusing him."

"I never abused him. I taught him valuable lessons." Nathan retorted.

"What valuable lesson involves throwing your son around by his hair?" Cooper asked. Neither man noticed that Julianne Anderson was at the doorway watching her son and her husband exchange words. "What valuable lesson involves beating him with a damn belt?"

"The one that tells him how filthy he is." Nathan replied.

"He almost committed suicide because of you! Doesn't that mean anything to you?" Cooper shouted, his voice wavering slightly.

"Yes, it means that he's too weak to do the world a favor and actually do it." Nathan sneered. "He should've taken that entire pill bottle and saved me the hassle of putting up with his disg-"

Cooper caught his father off guard when he punched him hard in the face, sending him several steps back. "He's stronger than you know. Stronger than you'll ever be." Cooper spat. It was then that he noticed movement in his peripheral vision. He turned his head quickly and saw his mother standing not but a few feet away. "He's your son. How could you let this happen?" He asked her, although he wasn't expecting a response. He turned his attention back on his father who was holding his bloody nose, but not before noticing the guilt and regret in his mother's eyes. "You will never see hurt him again. I'll make sure of that." He said firmly. With a final glare at his father and disapproving look at his mother, Cooper left the Anderson home with the intention of never coming back.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

Connecting

Choosing to go paintballing was the best decision the Warblers had made. It was the most fun most of them had in ages. What was meant to be a one hour game turned in two hour game because the boys knew each other entirely too well. They figured out the opposing team's strategy quickly, they were all way too good at hiding, and they were ruthless when the battles occurred. The freshmen and the sophomores were the first to be eliminated from the game, leaving the juniors and seniors to fend for themselves. All friendships between the upper classmen were null and void when it came down to capturing the other's flag. When Sebastian shot Beatz just above his pelvic bone, Beatz bitched and yelled all the way to the sidelines, sending several choice words towards Sebastian whom simply laughed in satisfaction. When David shot Thad across the chest, Thad pouted his way to the sidelines while David did his victory dance on the field. When Blaine shot Wes right in the facemask, Wes glared at him disdainfully and muttered that he would make him pay during the next Warbler rehearsal.

With four players left, Sebastian on the senior team, Kurt, Blaine, and David on the junior team, they were all more than ready to end the game and head out to lunch.

"We're never going to win." Kurt said in a hushed voiced to Blaine and David. The three boys were hiding behind one of the platforms just a few feet away from the senior's home base. Sebastian was guarding the flag like it was his lifeline, refusing to give up without a fight.

"There's three of us and one of him, we so got this." David assured him.

"We so don't." Kurt argued. "He took out like four guys at once. How we've survived this long is beyond

"No, David's right. We've got this." Blaine said firmly. Blaine had been overly determined and maybe even a little mean throughout the game. Kurt assumed that it was due to all of his pent up aggression from his father and he hoped that the game would help settle him down.

"Ok then, what do you suggest?" Kurt asked irritably.

"I know you're out there plotting against me." Sebastian shouted out. "Quite pussy-footing and come on,

me."

I'm hungry."

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"We need to get him off the platform." David whispered. Blaine's face suddenly lit up with an idea he was sure would help them win. He told Kurt and David his plan, both agreeing that it might just work, and set off for their final battle.

Blaine stealthily moved around the platforms, setting his gun down behind the nearest one to him, and walked out into the open with his arms up in surrender. Sebastian caught the movement instantly and pointed his gun at Blaine but didn't shoot.

"What are you doing, Anderson?" Sebastian asked, quickly glancing around for Kurt and David. "Surrendering?" Blaine replied with a cheeky grin.

"Bullshit. Where'd Thompson and Hummel go?" Sebastian asked suspiciously.

"I don't know." Blaine lied, looking over at David who was crawling closer to Sebastian.

Sebastian quickly glanced over and saw David. He pointed his gun at David and shot but David rolled out of the way. Blaine quickly ran back over to where his gun was placed, grabbed it, and shot at Sebastian. Sebastian had caught the action and dodged the paintball pellets. The three boys immediately started to fire at each other, all three dodging the shots. Sebastian was too busy trying to hit Blaine and David, all the while avoiding getting hit himself, to notice that a gun-less Kurt was climbing up the platform from behind. Just as Kurt reached the flag, Sebastian shot Blaine in the arm. He smiled victoriously before turning his attention to David who was hiding behind a nearby platform.

Sebastian moved a step closer, his eyes glued on David until movement caught his peripheral vision. He saw the blur of Kurt running with his team flag and cursed under his breath. David's head popped out from the side and Sebastian instantly shot his mask. He then swiftly turned to Kurt who was already a good distance away. It was then that he realized that he had been played. It was also that moment that he realized just how fast Kurt could run. Sebastian ran after him, refusing to give up, and shot at Kurt.

"GO KURT GO!" David shouted out.

Sebastian stopped running, brought his gun up, and pointed it at Kurt. He stood still and waited until Kurt started climbing the platform. He waited until he was sure that he would hit Kurt before pulling the trigger. Kurt was faster than he thought however. A millisecond before the pellets hit Kurt's leg, Kurt brought his leg up, fully stepping onto the platform.

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"Damn it!" Sebastian said as he took his mask off. Kurt was standing in the middle of his team's platform, a victorious smile on his face.

The freshmen and juniors ran out from the sidelines where they had been watching, straight over to Kurt who was climbing down from the platform. Blaine and David high-fived each other as they too ran over to Kurt, both legitimately surprised that their plan had worked. Blaine was the first to reach Kurt. He grabbed Kurt by the waist and smashed their mouths together in a quick but heated kiss.

"I knew you could do it." Blaine said proudly.

Before Kurt was given the chance to respond, their teammates were surrounding them in victory. The sophomores and seniors gathered around them as well, reluctantly offering them congratulatory high fives.

"Yeah, ok, you won." Sebastian griped when he reached the group. "Can we go now? I'm starving!" The Warblers all nodded in agreement and headed to the changing rooms.

As soon as the Warblers arrived at the pizza place, Blaine excused himself to the bathroom. He was doing his best to put on a brave face but his front was starting to crack and he didn't want to worry his friends. Kurt had given him a questioning look and Blaine smiled reassuringly, hoping that it was enough to convince Kurt that he was fine. Kurt seemed to accept it so he quickly made his way to the restroom. As soon as he was alone, he let out a shaky breath. Paintballing had been enough of a distraction to make him forget about his father but as soon as they were on the bus, his mind drifted back to his nightmares.

He hated this part. He hated how weak he felt. He hated how lost he felt. He hated how his father caused him so much pain. He hated his father more than anything. A pained sob escaped him and before he knew it, he was holding himself on the floor crying. He hadn't heard the bathroom door open nor did he hear the footsteps approaching him. He did however feel the arms that embraced him.

"It's ok B, I'm here." Nick cooed softly.

Blaine let his best friend hold him as the tears fell. Other than Kurt, Nick was the one that Blaine spoke to the most. Nick was the one who initially saved him from his distress. He still clearly remembered the day Nick found him and he was forever grateful for it. - 332 -

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Four weeks. It took him four weeks to fall back into the addiction. He tried to stay away. He tried not to let the pain and sorrow swallow him whole. Even though he was safely hidden behind the walls of Dalton Academy, the memories still tormented. The dreams still left him feeling terrified and broken. He didn't want to do it. He didn't want to give in to the shadows. But after the night he had and the memories that followed, he needed to feel. He needed to forget.

Blaine watched the blood drip into sink, the familiar sensation coursing through his veins. He could feel the dream and memories slip away. He could feel his anxiety and fear being replaced by control and power. It was the only time he ever felt control. It was the only time he felt powerful. He was addicted to the feeling, knowing that no one could create it but him. He was addicted to watching the way the blood slid down his wrists. He knew he shouldn't have done it. He knew he was only hurting himself. But he needed to do it. He needed to feel the blade slice the skin. He needed to feel weightless in order to stay grounded.

With a shaky hand, he set the blade down on the sink before falling to his knees. He lifted his wrist so that more blood could drip down. He was entranced by the deep red that represented all the anguish in his life. A part of him knew that he should clean up and leave the bathroom before someone found him but the will to get up wasn't there. The will to hide what he had done was lost in the abyss of his soul. What was the point? It wasn't like anyone cared. It wasn't like he mattered.

Blaine heard the voices of his fellow classmates echoing through the bathroom walls but he didn't move. He stayed where he was and continued to watch the slow drip of blood, letting himself fall deeper into the darkness.

"Blaine?" He heard Nick call out to him but he didn't look away from deep red pool on the bathroom tiles. "Oh my God!" Nick rushed over to Blaine's side the instant he saw the proof of what he had already suspected. "Blaine, can you hear me?" Blaine nodded mutely but didn't look up. "Go get the dean!" Blaine didn't know who Nick was talking to but he didn't exactly care either. Nick walked over to one of the stalls, grabbed some toilet paper, and hurried back to Blaine's side. He gingerly picked Blaine's hand off the floor and pressed the toilet paper on the cuts to stop the bleeding.

"I wish you would talk to me." Nick whispered sorrowfully. He had been trying to get Blaine to open up since he'd arrived at Dalton but Blaine had kept himself distant. He couldn't let Nick or anyone else in. He couldn't allow himself to feel safe. "Look at me, Blaine. Please." The pained emotion behind Nick's voice was enough to make Blaine look up at the brunette. "I know it's hard. I know you feel lost and broken, but please, please let me in. Let me help you. Let me be your friend."

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The sincerity in Nick's voice combined with pleading look in his eyes brought Blaine back to reality from the darkness. He collapsed into Nick's arms and started to sob. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Blaine choked through the tears.

"Shh, it's ok. There's no need to be sorry. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere." Nick replied softly, his own set of tears falling. Blaine clutched onto Nick's shirt, desperate for the comfort and safety. Maybe, just maybe, he could let Nick in. Maybe if he did, the darkness would go away. Maybe if he did, he could stop hiding and learn how to be himself again.

"I'm sorry." Blaine said brokenly as he desperately tried to rein his emotions in.

"Shh, don't be sorry. You've done nothing wrong." Nick replied softly.

"I hate this. Why does this keep happening to me?" Blaine asked more to himself than to Nick.

Nick's only response was to hold his best friend tighter. He held Blaine with as much love and compassion as he could, hating the fact that he was hurting. It had been a long while since he'd seen Blaine so broken and it tore his heart apart that it was happening again. Blaine needed to be distracted, even it was momentary, so Nick offered him a way out.

"There's something I need to tell you about Kurt." Nick said quietly, instantly grabbing Blaine's attention.

"What about him? Is he ok? Is Karofsky here?" Blaine asked in a panic, forgetting his own pain for the moment.

"No, but it has to do with Karofsky." Nick replied cautiously.

"What? What's going on?" Blaine asked, quickly wiping his tears away.

Nick took a deep breath before telling Blaine the Warblers plan to help the New Directions get their revenge on Karofsky. Just as Nick had expected, Blaine pushed all of his own fears and distress aside to focus solely on Kurt. Blaine rinsed his face in the sink, ran his fingers through his semi-gelled hair, and ran out of the bathroom straight over to where Kurt was sitting with Sebastian, Beatz, Thad, and Jeff.

"Whose dumb ass idea was it to help the New Directions?" Blaine asked angrily. - 334 -

"Blaine." Kurt said softly.

"It was mine." Sebastian replied.

"Are you crazy?" Blaine snapped.

"No, I'm pissed." Sebastian quipped. "That fucker deserves everything the New Directions are going to do to him and I'm going to help them with whatever they need."

"Me too." Beatz said firmly.

"Don't you guys listen? He's going to try and come after Kurt and you idiots-"

"That's exactly why us idiots are doing this." Jeff interrupted. "We'd rather be informed about what's going on then get caught off guard."

"They're right, Blaine." Kurt said quietly.

"Kurt." Blaine said in surprise.

"I know Blaine, ok? I know. But they have a point. I can't stop the New Directions from their crazy plan, I've accepted that. If the guys get involved, at least I know I'll be ok. I feel safer with them being a part of it." Kurt shrugged.

"Are you sure?" Blaine asked him softly.

"Yeah, I am." Kurt assured him.

Blaine sighed in defeat as he took his seat next to Kurt. "So, what is this infamous plan?"

"Don't know yet. I already text Finn about it and he said that they'll come up to Dalton Wednesday to fill us in." Kurt shrugged.

"And you're absolutely sure about this?" Blaine asked him seriously.

"As sure as I can be." Kurt replied with a humorless laugh. - 335 -

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"Well whatever the plan is, I want in. There's no way I'm letting you guys do this without me." Blaine told his friends.

"You're only job is to stay with Kurt." Sebastian told him. "We'll handle Karofsky if we have to but you and Kurt will not be leaving your room at all this weekend."

"Don't for a second think we won't lock you in there." Beatz said.

"An entire weekend locked away in the room with you? That doesn't too bad to me." Kurt teased. Blaine couldn't stop the small laugh that escaped his mouth. "But seriously, I don't want you in the crossfires, Blaine. I'd feel better if you were with me when everything happened."

"Of course. Whatever you want." Blaine replied with a chaste kiss.

The conversation shifted from Karofsky to Nationals, which was another welcomed distraction. Kurt and Blaine kept their hands interlocked underneath the booth, both needing the simple comfort. Kurt could tell that Blaine had been crying in the bathroom and was glad that Nick had been there to calm him down when he wasn't. In turn, Blaine knew that their friends' decision to get involved with the plot against Karofsky was affecting Kurt more than he let on. He didn't agree with getting involved either but he would support Kurt on his decision. He only hoped that it wouldn't hurt them in the end.

When the Warblers made it back to Dalton that afternoon, most of them went straight to the common room to compete in whatever game they could find. Many of them, including Sebastian, were still bitter over the fact that their team had lost and they wanted to get their revenge. Those who weren't participating in the games either sat around and watched or went to do any unfinished homework that was due that week. Blaine had originally planned on playing a few rounds of chess with Wes but Kurt had other plans. Kurt wanted to spend the rest of the day in Blaine's arms. It was something they both needed after everything that had happened and Wes couldn't argue with his logic.

"You owe me a game, Blaine." Wes said firmly as Kurt pulled Blaine towards their dorm. "You got it, Wes." Blaine called back before disappearing down the hall.

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When they got back to their dorms, Kurt playfully demanded Blaine to get in his pajamas so they could be completely relaxed. After washing up and changing, Kurt locked their dorm door, which they rarely did, turned off both of their cell phones, and laid down on Kurt's bed. Kurt was lying flat on his back and Blaine was laying half on top of him, his head nuzzled in the crook of Kurt's neck. Kurt had one arm wrapped around Blaine's torso while the other lazily caressed Blaine's arm which was resting on his chest. They stayed in that position for a while, neither one saying anything but simply enjoying each other's presence. No matter what the world threw at them, no matter what fears they had, it was moments like this that made them remember why it was worth fighting.

"Blaine, can we talk about what happened?" Kurt asked quietly, finally breaking the silence.

"If you want." Blaine shrugged.

"No, not if I want. If you want." Kurt replied softly.

"I don't want, not really." Blaine said truthfully. "But I know you've been dying to ask me about it so ask." "I just...I wanted to talk about the suicide attempt." Kurt said cautiously.

Blaine moved his head back slightly so that he could look at Kurt, immediately noticing the worry in his eyes. "What do you want to know?"

"Do you still think about it? About doing it?" Kurt asked, his voice wavering.

"No." Blaine assured him. "I could never do that to you." Kurt nodded mutely and looked away before Blaine could see the tears in his eyes. "What is it?"

"I can't help but think about how different my life would be if you weren't in it." Kurt said in a rush. "I keep imagining you dead in your room and I can't stop the pain I feel in my heart."

"Kurt." Blaine said brokenly as he stroked Kurt's cheek.

"I love you so much, Blaine. More than I thought possible and I hate that you went through all of that. I hate your father for doing this to you." Kurt said angrily.

"I know. I hate him too. But I'm here, Kurt. I'm not dead and I'm not going anywhere." Blaine assured him. - 337 -

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Kurt grabbed Blaine by the collar and smashed their lips in a desperate kiss. "You better not." Contents

"I won't. I promise." Blaine said softly before kissing Kurt again.

Their kisses were desperate and needy at first but soon shifted over to tender and slow. As their kisses shifted, so did their bodies. Kurt was lying on top of Blaine, their legs intertwined, one arm holding him up and the other softly stroking Blaine's hair. Blaine hands were resting on Kurt's lower back, his fingers lightly rubbing the exposed skin just above Kurt's pants. Kurt shifted slightly to get more comfortable, his half-hard rubbing against Blaine's thigh in the process. Kurt moaned softly at the sudden friction and rubbed against Blaine again. Blaine's hands moved down to Kurt's ass and squeezed, making Kurt rub against his thigh once more.

Kurt parted from their kiss for only a moment in order to move his body so that he was settled in-between Blaine's legs. He leaned back down, kissing Blaine fervently as he grinded his now full hard-on against Blaine's own erection. Blaine moaned into the kiss, his grip on Kurt's ass tightening. Kurt ground down hard, eliciting a deep moan from Blaine. Blaine stopped their kiss, grabbed Kurt's shirt, and pulled at it until it was off. He then pulled his own shirt off before grabbing Kurt by the neck and crashing their lips together. Kurt's hand traveled down to Blaine's thigh, grabbing it and bringing it up so that Blaine wrapped his leg around Kurt's torso. Kurt started kissing down Blaine's neck as he continued to grind against Blaine.

"Kurt." Blaine moaned softly. Kurt responded by nipping at Blaine's collarbone and grinding harder against Blaine. "Kurt."

"What is it baby? What do you want?" Kurt asked against Blaine's skin, his voice an octave lower than usual.

"You. I just want you." Blaine replied just above a whisper.

Kurt looked up at Blaine, wanting to be certain he heard Blaine correctly. "Are you sure?"

"Yes." Blaine answered through half open eyes. "I love you Kurt, more than anything or anybody in this entire world. Please, make love to me."

Kurt nodded and kissed Blaine softly before getting up from the bed to get the lube and condom. While Kurt walked over to the dresser, Blaine took off his pants and boxers. He had personally been ready to

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give himself to Kurt for a while now but they had never had the chance to be alone long enough to do it. Kurt on the other hand wasn't quite ready for that step yet and Blaine accepted it. He didn't care if it took Kurt years to let him top, he would forever wait for him. In the meantime, he needed Kurt to take him, to make him his completely.

When Kurt walked back over to the bed to see Blaine naked and ready for him, he couldn't stop the blush the crept all the way down his chest. Blaine watched Kurt adoringly as he slowly took his pants and boxers off. Kurt was the most beautiful boy he had ever seen and he hoped that he would be able to call Kurt his for the rest of his life. Kurt climbed back into the bed, kneeling in-between Blaine's legs, and placing the lube and condoms next to him. He kept his eyes locked with Blaine's as he popped the top of the lube and coated his fingers.

"You ready?" Kurt asked hoarsely.

"Yeah." Blaine breathed out in anticipation.

Kurt gulped as he reached down to Blaine's puckered hole. Despite all the research he had done, he was still nervous of hurting his boyfriend. He teased Blaine's entrance with a single digit, earning him a soft whimper from Blaine. He slowly inserted his finger which Blaine instantly reacted to. Blaine threw his head back at the intrusion, moaning quietly at how incredible it felt to have Kurt's finger in him. Kurt was sure he'd never witnessed anything sexier than Blaine at that very moment. He moved his finger in out at a slow pace, wanting to make sure that Blaine was comfortable. When Blaine moaned for more, Kurt inserted the second finger. Blaine hissed for a moment as his body got used to getting stretched.

"Kurt." Blaine groaned in pleasure.

Kurt bit his lip in arousal as he scissored his fingers inside Blaine. Blaine began to thrash underneath him, needing more. When Blaine started to thrust himself onto Kurt's fingers, Kurt added the third. Blaine's breathing hitched in his throat, his body quivering in need. Kurt picked up the pace slightly, earning a guttural moan from Blaine. He crooked his fingers like he knew he was supposed to and searched for that spot that would make Blaine go wild.

"ohmygodKurt!"Blaine moaned loudly when Kurt brushed against it. Kurt smiled to himself in satisfaction and did it again, loving the way Blaine was reacting to his touch. "Kurt, please."

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Kurt nodded as he removed his fingers, internally laughing when Blaine whined at the loss. He reached over to grab the condom but Blaine stopped him. "I want you, just you." Blaine told him, his voice heavy with arousal. "Please."

Kurt contemplated for a moment whether or not they should have sex without the condom. Thanks to the tests Dalton's doctor ran earlier in the year, they both knew he was clean. They also knew that it would still be safer if they wore protection. But Blaine was desperate to just feel Kurt. He was desperate to be entirely connected with the love of his life. Kurt knew that he should probably wear the condom anyway, despite his clean bill of health. But Blaine's wide lust-filled puppy eyes begged him not to.

"Ok." Kurt replied shakily as he tossed the condom aside.

Kurt popped the bottle of lube open, poured a generous amount on himself, moaning softly as he spread it throughout his cock. He leaned forward to capture Blaine's lips in a chaste but loving kiss before lining himself up with Blaine's entrance. He inserted himself into Blaine slowly, both boys moaning at the sheer pleasure of it. Blaine's sudden fullness almost sent him over the edge. He clenched around Kurt as he tried to get used to the slight burning sensation and Kurt had to stop himself from coming right then and there. There could've been a war going on outside and neither boy would be the wiser. Being that close, that intimate, was the greatest feeling of their lives.

"Move, please." Blaine begged.

Kurt pulled out slowly and pushed back in just as slow, making Blaine yell his name. Kurt was sure the guys heard it but he didn't care. The way Blaine yelled his name made his instincts take over. He pulled out again but thrust in just a tad faster than before, hitting Blaine's spot in the process.

"rightthereohgod!" Blaine mewled.

Kurt continued to pull out and thrust in, but faster and with more vigor each time. Blaine griped the sheets beneath him, throwing his head back in ecstasy as he got close. Kurt leaned forward, grabbed Blaine's neck, and brought Blaine's head forward so they could kiss. Kurt felt Blaine's clench around him as Blaine bit his lip and he knew that Blaine was close. He thrust harder, feeling his own orgasm build up.

"Kurt." Blaine moaned, elongating his name as he came. Kurt came just a few seconds after, moaning

Blaine's name against Blaine's neck.

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They laid there quietly for a moment, both breathing heavily as they came down from their orgasm. Blaine winced slightly when Kurt finally pulled out, to then laugh a little hysterically at what just happened. Kurt couldn't help but laugh along with him as he rolled over on his back so that he was lying next to Blaine. When the stickiness on his chest became uncomfortable, Blaine reached under the bed for the towel they kept there for said sexual activities. He lazily cleaned his chest off before Kurt grabbed the towel and cleaned the rest of him off. Once they were both cleaned, Blaine rolled over to his side, intertwined their legs, wrapped an arm around Kurt's waist, and placed his head in the crook of Kurt's neck.

"I love you." Blaine said softly.

"I love you." Kurt replied contently.

"Sing to me?" Blaine asked.

"Of course." Kurt said smiling and sang the first song that popped in his head.

Heart beats fast

Colors and promises

How to be brave

How can I love when I'm afraid to fall But watching you stand alone

All of my doubt

Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

Blaine smiled against Kurt's skin, feeling light and utterly loved as drowsiness took over. It didn't matter how screwed up his life was, it didn't matter how much hatred he received from his father. As long as he had Kurt in his life, as long as the perfect, porcelain angel loved him, he knew he would be ok.

I have died everyday waiting for you Darlin' don't be afraid I have loved you for a Thousand years

I'll love you for a

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Thousand more

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CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

The Plan pt 1

Wednesday afternoon, the Warblers listened to Finn and Puck intently as they shared the details about their plan for Karofsky. None of the boys hid their surprise at the eccentric yet simple plan. Nor did they hide their disapproval. Although many of them knew exactly what Karofsky did to Kurt, they all agreed that the plan was outrageous. Something was bound to wrong and they were all worried about what would happen after Karofsky's outing.

Kurt shifted in his seat uncomfortably as his friends argued over the specifics. He never needed to hear the plan to know that it was a bad idea. Now that he knew precisely what was going on, his anxiety grew tenfold. Blaine sensed the shift in Kurt's mood and knew that he needed to get Kurt back to their room. He also knew that Kurt would most likely refuse to leave so he looked over at Sebastian for help. Sebastian, who was in a heated discussion with Puck, caught the desperate plea on Blaine's face and immediately understood what he needed to do.

"Kurt, why don't you and Blaine head back to the dorms?" Sebastian suggested. "Why?" Kurt asked suspiciously.

"Because you don't need to be here while we talk about this." Sebastian said firmly. "But I do need to be here." Kurt insisted, despite his growing anxiety.

"No, you don't. You already heard the plan, there's no reason for you to stick around while we finalize the details." Sebastian told him.

"He's right babe." Blaine said softly. "Let's go back to our room and watch a movie or something."

"But-"

"But nothing. Go cuddle and be cute, man. We got this handled." Beatz cut in.

Kurt glanced back and forth between his two best friends and boyfriend, knowing full well that they wouldn't let up until he relented. With a frustrated sigh, he mumbled 'fine', stood up from his seat, and

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stormed out of the Warbler hall. Blaine gave both Beatz and Sebastian a thankful expression before quickly following Kurt out.

As soon as the door closed behind Blaine, Sebastian whistled loudly to get everyone's attention. "We need to come up with a concrete plan, boys."

"We have a concrete plan, dude." Puck snapped.

"No, you have a stupid plan." Sebastian quipped. "Besides, I'm not talking about coming up with a plan to

get Karofsky back, I'm talking about what we're going to do when he shows up here looking for Kurt." "How do you know that he's going to show up here anyway?" Finn asked.

"You guys really don't listen to Kurt, do you?" Wes sighed, shaking his head.

"Of course they don't. If they did, they wouldn't be doing this in the first place." Beatz scoffed.

"We listen to Kurt!" Puck argued.

"No, you don't. If you did then you'd know how bad of an idea this really is." Jeff snapped. "You're just mad because Quinn's been sucking face with him." Puck said, rolling his eyes.

"No, I'm mad that you're being so inconsiderate of Kurt's feelings. Do you know what it's like to feel so hopeless and so lost that you've convinced yourself that no one loves you? Do you know what it's like to feel as though the only way out is by hurting yourself? Do you know what it's like to lose control over your life because somebody decided to be cruel to you? No, you don't. You don't know what it feels like and I bet you've never even tried to know what it feels like. Stop pretending that this is some huge favor for Kurt and admit that it's just your way of killing your own guilt for not being there for him when he needed you." Jeff said angrily.

"Dude." Finn said quietly, both upset about Jeff's insinuation and ashamed that he was right. "Like you know what any of that feels like. Don't act like your life is so hard." Puck challenged.

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"You don't know anything about my life or what I've been through. Don't pretend to know me." Jeff snapped as he stepped closer to Puck. "I know how it feels like a lot better than you. And not because it's something I personally went through but because I was there when Kurt had a panic attack his first week of school. I was there when he was so trapped in his own nightmare that I had to physically shake him out of it. I was there when he cried to the point of exhaustion. I was there. We were all there. That's a hell of a lot more than you can say."

"He never told us that something was wrong! How were we supposed to know?" Puck replied defensively.

"He shouldn't have had to tell you! As his friends you should've known that something was wrong. But no, you were all too self-involved to realize that he was slowly dying!" Jeff yelled.

"Enough." Sebastian said loudly, giving Nick a look as if to say, 'Get him before he loses it.' Nick walked over to Jeff, who was fuming, and pulled at him until he backed off of Puck.

"We can point fingers and place blame all we want but that's not going to help Kurt." Wes said as he stepped forward. "The New Directions have their plan set out whether we agree with it or not. Now we have to come up with something for when Karofsky shows up here."

"How do you know that he'll show up here?" Finn asked again in irritation.

"Because that's what he does, big foot." Sebastian answered, smirking at the glare Finn was sending him. "If you guys were to actually listen to Kurt, you'd know that Karofsky is going to blame him for what happens at that party and he will show up here looking for revenge. In his mind, Kurt's at fault for everything and he will try and retaliate. That's why we have to come up with a plan to make sure he doesn't get to Kurt."

"What are you thinking, Bastian?" Thad asked quietly. He knew his boyfriend well enough to recognize the scheming look on his face. It was expression Thad hated.

"Nothing you're going to approve of I'm sure, but I think it just might work." Sebastian replied apologetically. Thad nodded slowly and looked away, not wanting to meet Sebastian's gaze.

"What's the plan, Bastian?" Beatz asked. Sebastian smiled wickedly before sharing the details to an idea he

prayed would work.

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That Saturday afternoon, Kurt was so terrified of what was to come that he created himself a cocoon of sorts with Blaine's blankets. Blaine had gone down to the kitchen to pick up some food for them and in the meantime, Kurt hid himself away. In just a few hours, Karofsky would be outed in front of all the juniors and seniors of McKinley. They would all be witness to Karofsky's drug use and sexuality and Kurt couldn't control the fear that grasped him. There were so many things that could go wrong with the New Direction's plan that Kurt couldn't even decide which possible mishap terrified him the most.

He wasn't fond of Sebastian's part in the plan either. He hated that his best friend was putting himself in a possibly dangerous situation for him. He hated the look on Thad's face when Sebastian came and explained everything to him and Blaine. Thad had avoided him the rest of the week because of Sebastian's plan and he couldn't blame him. If Blaine was doing something that drastic for another guy, he'd feel insecure too. There was no convincing Sebastian out of it though, no matter how much he begged. He hated feeling so helpless and he could only hope that luck would be on their side. Kurt was already so lost in his fears that when he heard the bedroom door open, he didn't move a single muscle.

"I know you said you weren't all that hungry but I brought you-" Blaine stopped abruptly as soon as he noticed that Kurt was no longer sitting on the bed but hiding in a mountain of blankets.

He set the food he brought down on his desk and walked over to Kurt's eerily still body. It took him a minute to find an entrance into Kurt's cocoon but once he did, he pulled the blankets back and crawled into the dark space. Kurt stayed still as Blaine adjusted himself into the blankets. He was only half aware of his surroundings and only when Blaine's fingertips caressed his cheek did he open his eyes.

"I'm so scared, Blaine." Kurt whispered brokenly.

"I know you are but everything's going to be fine." Blaine replied softly. "How do you know?" Kurt snapped.

"Because there are at least forty guys surrounding the school grounds for you right now." Sebastian and David had talked to the Lacrosse team about what was happening and while only a few of them knew Kurt on a personal level, they all agreed to help out. The Dalton boys would do anything to make sure that their brothers were safe. "No matter what happens at that party, he's not getting to you." Blaine assured him.

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"I hate this so much." Kurt cried. "I hate that everyone is putting themselves in danger just for me."

"Kurt, if this was happening to any other boy at this school, would you turn away or would you everything in your power to help?" Blaine asked.

"I'd help, you know I would." Kurt said in frustration.

"Exactly. Us Dalton boys stick together, no matter what. The guys wouldn't be doing this if they didn't want to." Blaine said.

"But the Lacrosse team barely even knows me." Kurt argued.

"So what? Bastian's and David's involvement is enough of an incentive for them to do this. Besides, Dalton boys take care of their own. You know that." Blaine replied.

"I know. I just..."

"I know." Blaine sighed. "Don't think about it for now. Let's eat some food and then we can watch a movie or talk. Whatever you want."

"I'm not hungry." Kurt commented.

"You haven't eaten all day, baby. Please eat something." Blaine implored.

Kurt sighed heavily but relented. Truthfully, he was hungry but his nerves were so shot that he hadn't wanted to upset his stomach. With Blaine giving him puppy eyes though, he couldn't say no. He reluctantly started to pull back the layers of blankets and sat up in the bed. Just as Blaine reached for the food, Sebastian knocked on their door and let himself in.

"Everything ok in here?" Sebastian asked. Blaine nodded while Kurt kept his eyes focused on the ground. "Alright. I just wanted to check in before I took my position."

"Everybody's all set up?" Blaine asked.

"Yep. He'd have to be a damn magician to get passed us." Sebastian said proudly.

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"Please be careful." Kurt barely whispered.

"Don't worry Hummel, I got this." Sebastian assured him. Kurt nodded slowly but said nothing. Sebastian nodded at Blaine who gave him a small smile in return and walked out of their room to get ready.

Quinn was nervous, terrified even. After months of planning, they were finally going through with their plan and she couldn't control the anxiety she felt. Jeff and her had stayed up late talking about both parts of the plan, analyzing every detail and coming up with back up plans in case something went wrong. She had fallen asleep confident that everything would work out. But now that she was standing in front of Karofsky's house, she was scared.

"You can do this, Q." Quinn heard Artie say into her earpiece.

"I know, just give me a minute." She replied quietly, glancing in the direction she knew Artie, Finn, and Rachel were hiding. She took a few deep breaths, adjusted the microphone in her bra one last time, and finally knocked on the front door. A few minutes later, a disgruntled Karofsky opened the door. "About damn time." She snapped as she pushed past him.

"By all means, come in." Karofsky responded flatly as he closed the front door. When he turned to look at Quinn, she was eyeing his outfit, her distaste evident. "What?"

"You're not wearing that tonight." She said firmly.

"What's wrong with this?" Karofsky asked as he glanced down at his casual appearance.

"Everything." Quinn scoffed. "We're trying to get people to vote us Prom King and Prom Queen, Dave. You need to go change, like now."

"No one cares about what I'm wearing." Karofsky said, rolling his eyes.

"I care and I say you need to change so go change. I'll put these posters up while you choose a suitable outfit." Quinn told him as she unrolled their campaign posters.

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"Whatever." Karofsky grumbled before heading towards his room. As soon as his bedroom door closed, Quinn walked over to Karofsky's laptop that was set up in the living room. She quickly logged into the security site Artie had set up and connected it to the laptop Artie had with him in Finn's truck.

"Artie, are you connected?" She whispered at her chest.

"I'm in, Q." Artie confirmed.

"Alright, let the games begin." She replied mischievously. Her nerves from earlier were replaced by anticipation. Soon enough, Karofsky would feel the pain of utter humiliation and Quinn was more than ready for everything to finally be over.

An hour and a half later, the party was in full swing. The Karofsky home was packed with juniors and seniors alike, most of them hanging out in the living room watching the music videos Karofsky's laptop projected on the wall. Puck, Santana, and Brittany kept themselves close to Karofsky and Quinn, Puck and Santana openly glaring at them while Brittany danced to the beat of the music. As far as the student body was concerned, the New Directions were no longer friends with Quinn because she was dating Karofsky. When Jacob Ben Israel asked them why they were even there, Santana said it was because they were making sure that everyone knew to vote for her and Puck, not Quinn and Karofsky.

Jacob had immediately walked to Quinn and Karofsky to interview them for his blog but stopped in his tracks when he glanced at the video that was playing on the wall. Karofsky and the town's known drug dealer were talking in his room. The video itself didn't play any sound but it was obvious by their interaction that they were well acquainted. Karofsky walked out of the kitchen and towards the living room when he no longer heard the music playing in the background. As soon as he walked in, all eyes were on him.

"Dave! What the hell is this?" Quinn asked him frantically.

"What are you talking about?" Karofsky asked her before finally glancing at the wall where the video was playing.

His whole body went tense as video Karofsky snorted a line of cocaine. He had no idea where the video came from but he knew what was coming next. He ran over to his laptop to turn off the video but the

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security that Artie was controlling prevented him from stopping it. A whole new panic set in when he couldn't get past the firewall. He looked back up at the video just as the drug dealer grabbed him by the hips. Karofsky started smashing the buttons on his laptop, desperate to make the video stop. Nothing he did worked and before he could truly process what was happening, video Karofsky was being pinned up against his bedroom wall by the drug dealer.

"What the fuck, Karofsky?" Azimio said angrily. "You's a fucking homo dude?!" "This just in, David Karofsky is GAY!" Jacob said into his recorder.

"Dave! Turn that off!" Quinn shouted. Karofsky stood there frozen as his life exploded around him. The video continued to play on a loop, allowing more people to witness his secrets.

"Quinn, Karofsky's dad just pulled up!" A panicked Artie shouted into Quinn's earpiece. Quinn shot Santana, Puck, and Brittany an anxious look which they knew meant 'get out'. Santana gave Quinn a nod before the three of them stealthily snuck away.

"Turn it off! Turn it off!" Rachel shouted at Artie.

"I'm trying woman!" Artie snapped.

"Hurry dude! His dad's walking into the house!" Finn panicked. Artie's fingers worked quickly to not only get the video to turn off, but to erase any and all traces of evidence that connected him to the video. By the time Artie successfully took the video down however, it was too late.

Mr. Karofsky was supposed to be out of town until late that night but his meeting had been canceled. He knew that his son was having some party to get his classmates to vote for him for Prom King but when he walked into the house, he was thrown for loop. The football players were cornering his son and pushing him against the wall roughly.

Before he could say anything, the video that was playing caught his attention. He watched almost the entire video before it suddenly shut off. It was then that Karofsky noticed his dad standing there

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speechless. Another hard shove from Azimio brought his attention back to the football team. He angrily shoved his way through his teammates and stormed out of the house, ignoring the calls from his dad. Without thinking about where he was going, he got into his truck and peeled out of the driveway.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

The Plan pt 2

The New Directions gathered in Puck's basement after their plan took an unexpected turn. They had all assumed that Karofsky would get the crap beaten out of him and that his father would find him hours later once the party was over. They hadn't anticipated that Mr. Karofsky would get home early and they certainly hadn't anticipated that Karofsky would make it out of the house unharmed. Now all they could do was worry about where Karofsky was headed.

"Maybe he went to the dealer's house for refuge or something." Tina suggested.

"It's his dealer girl Chang, not his friend." Santana scoffed. "I'll bet you anything he's headed straight to the preppies."

"He is." Quinn confirmed quietly. "Jeff just texted me that they spotted his truck."

"See!" Santana shouted.

"We sent him straight there guys." Mercedes said. "This is our fault."

"How were we supposed to know that his dad was going to show up?" Puck tried to reason.

"It doesn't matter, Noah." Rachel shook her head. "Kurt warned us that Karofsky would show up there and we didn't listen to him. Mercedes is right, this is our fault."

"What do we do now?" Tina asked.

"Is there anything we can do?" Mike countered.

"He isn't going to hurt Kurt again is he?" Brittany asked.

"No, the Warblers won't let him anywhere near Kurt." Quinn assured her.

"They deserve him more than we do." Brittany said quietly. "I know we were hoping to get him to come back after all this but I don't think he should. The Warblers love him more."

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"We love him too." Finn argued.

"Yeah but they love him more. They didn't wait for something bad to happen to protect him like we did. They've been there for him since the day he transferred. They deserve to keep him, not us." Brittany said as a few tears streamed down her face.

"Brittany's right. We don't deserve him." Rachel said quietly, her own tears spilling over.

"So what now?" Artie wondered.

"Now we wait." Quinn sighed. The New Directions glanced at each other apprehensively. They wanted to go to Dalton and make sure that Karofsky didn't get to Kurt. But after the mess they already made, they decided to leave the rest up to Sebastian. They only hoped his plan went better than theirs.

Karofsky was in a daze the entire two hours he drove. He couldn't believe what had happened to him. He couldn't believe how his life was ruined within a just a few minutes. What was he supposed to do now? He couldn't go back to McKinley; the football team would eat him alive if he did. Not to mention his father. What was his father going to do now that he knew his son's secrets? Would he send him away? Would he beat him? Would he disown him?

Karofsky struggled with the tears that streamed down his face as he parked his truck on the curb. He was embarrassed and scared over what his webcam recorded. He didn't even know webcams could do that. He punched the steering wheel angrily, cursing himself. When he noticed the tears running down his cheeks, it angered him even more. His life was over and it was entirely Kurt's fault.

If Kurt hadn't been so open about his homosexuality then he never would've questioned himself. If Kurt hadn't fought with him over everything then he never would've felt the need to prove his masculinity. If Kurt hadn't gotten under his skin then he never would've gotten desperate enough to contact Duke. If Kurt hadn't been so easy to break then he never would've tried to make him crack.

A knock on Karofsky's window broke him out his reverie. He turned his head quickly at the noise and was shocked to see a tall lanky handsome boy in a prep school uniform standing there. He glanced around a moment and it was then that he realized he had driven to Dalton. What was he even doing there? How

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could he have driven all the way out to Westerville without realizing it? Did Kurt really have that much of a hold on him that he searched him out without knowing?

"David, open the door." Sebastian said, bringing Karofsky back from his thoughts.

Karofsky put his front back up as best he could before rolling down the window. "What the hell do you want, preppy?" he snarled, though it lacked conviction. "How do you even know my name?"

"I know a lot of things, David." Sebastian replied with a cheeky grin. "The name's Sebastian by the way, not preppy."

"Well, Sebastian, get out of my damn way!" Karofsky barked back. Very few people acknowledged him by his full name. The fact that Sebastian did was making him feel more vulnerable than he already was.

"I can't do that, David." Sebastian said shaking his head. "You see those guys over there?" Karofsky turned his head towards the direction Sebastian gestured at and saw a group of boys sending glares his way. "They don't like trespassers and after your last visit, they are itching to kick your ass. Now, I, being the ever understanding stud that I am, would like to offer you a deal."

"A deal?" Karofsky asked quietly as he turned his attention back on Sebastian. "What kind of deal?"

"We're going to go have a little chat." Sebastian smirked. "You're going to scoot over, I'm going to drive, and then we are going to talk."

"We're going to go talk?" Karofsky scoffed.

"Or they can teach you a lesson in manners." Sebastian shrugged. "It's your choice, David."

Karofsky glanced back at the group of boys before nodding slowly. He unbuckled his seatbelt, unlocked his door, and scooted over to let Sebastian take the driver's seat. Sebastian grinned wickedly as he opened the door and stepped into the truck.

"Smart choice, sweetheart." Sebastian told Karofsky with a wink. Due to his already vulnerable state, Karofsky couldn't help but blush at the action. This is going to be easier than I thought. Sebastian thought to himself as he turned the truck on and pulled away from the school.

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Karofsky watched Sebastian out of the corner of his eye as they drove through Westerville. Sebastian hadn't said a word the entire thirty minute drive. Instead, he turned the radio on and sang along with the songs that came on. Karofsky had meant to say something but Sebastian's cool exterior and confidence intimidated him. Every so often Sebastian would glance at Karofsky, sending him a flirtatious smirk and wink, before turning his attention back on the road. Karofsky had no idea what Sebastian was playing at and it was making him anxious.

Sebastian drove them to what the Westerville kids knew as make-out hill, knowing that they would have plenty of privacy. Karofsky shifted uneasily as they drove further into the trees and away from public view. He looked at the side mirror and it was then that he noticed the blue Sedan following them. He quickly turned around to see who was in the car and recognized the two Warblers.

"This was your plan all along wasn't it? Instead of beating me up at the school, you and your stupid little boyfriends are going to do it out here!" Karofsky accused angrily.

"Relax, sweetheart." Sebastian chuckled as he pulled to a stop. "They're only here in case things get out of hand."

"Out of hand?" Karofsky asked nervously as Sebastian scooted closer to him.

"Don't worry, David. I got you." Sebastian all but purred before attaching his lips to Karofsky's neck. "What the hell are you doing?" Karofsky protested.

"Stop thinking and enjoy it." Sebastian whispered hotly into his ear as his hand traveled up Karofsky's thigh. Karofsky tried protesting again but the way Sebastian's tongue lapped over his skin combined with the strong hand that lay firmly on his leg was too much for him to ignore.

After leaving an undoubtedly impressive hickey on Karofsky's neck, Sebastian spoke again. "Tell me something, David. Why'd you do it?"

"Do what?" Karofsky breathed out.

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"Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about, sweetheart." Sebastian said as he began to palm Karofsky through his jeans.

"I d-don't know w-what you're talking about." Karofsky replied, although he had a fairly good idea.

Sebastian stroked Karofsky harder and nipped at his earlobe. Karofsky tried to control himself but the rougher Sebastian was with him, the more turned on he became. When he unintentionally released a guttural moan, Sebastian leaned back just enough to look at him.

"Why'd you do it? Tell me the truth." Sebastian said firmly, pressing down on Karofsky just hard enough to be uncomfortable instead of pleasurable. When Karofsky didn't answer, Sebastian pushed down harder.

"I don't know!" Karofsky groaned in pain.

"You know what I think?" Sebastian said, releasing some of the pressure. "I think you did it because you were scared." Karofsky opened his mouth to protest but was cut off when Sebastian added more pressure. "You were scared of how he made you feel but instead of talking to him, you took the cowardly way out and took advantage of him. Do you realize how pathetic that is? Do you realize how much of a monster that makes you? You could've found a real friend in him but you were too worried about what your loser friends would say if they saw you two talking." Between the painful pressure on his crotch and the harsh tone behind Sebastian's voice, Karofsky couldn't help but let a few tears stream down his face.

"What would they say? Your football buddies? How would they react to finding out that you're gay?" Sebastian asked, releasing some of the pressure.

"They'd k-kick my ass." Karofsky choked out.

"They're fucking idiots." Sebastian said seriously. "There's nothing wrong with you just because you prefer cock over pussy. They're not real friends if they can't accept you for who you are." Karofsky couldn't answer. He simply cried harder as the memories of the party came rushing back. Sebastian took his hand off of Karofsky entirely and sat back to look at the broken boy. "You aren't the only one with a fucked up life, David. You aren't the only one who's made bad choices out of fear and hopelessness."

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"Look at me, David." Sebastian said softly. Karofsky reluctantly brought his head up and looked at Sebastian. "I know it's hard to accept the fact that you're different from most people. That doesn't mean that you should let them control you. That doesn't mean you should let them win." Karofsky turned away from Sebastian's intense gaze, unable to control the broken sob. "Go home, David. Talk to your parents and tell them the truth. That's the only way you're ever going to start to heal."

"What if my dad hates me?" Karofsky asked quietly.

"Then he's just as bad as the assholes you call friends." Sebastian told him. "Call this number. Talk to them. They'll help you." Sebastian pulled a slip of paper out of his pocket and put it on the dashboard before scooting back over to the driver's side to get out. "Don't come back to Dalton, David. I only helped you this once because I know you're just as broken as the rest of us. But if you come back to Dalton again, if you go anywhere near Kurt again, you'll get more than just an ass beating."

Karofsky glanced up at Sebastian, swallowing hard when he saw the seriousness behind Sebastian's eyes. He nodded slowly and looked away once more. Sebastian didn't hesitate to get out of the truck. He hurried over to David's Sedan and got into the back seat.

"Let's go." Sebastian told them.

"You alright, Bastian?" Beatz asked with concern.

"I'm fine. Let's go." Sebastian replied flatly. Beatz and David shared a worried glance before David turned the car on and drove off. Sebastian didn't say a word the entire drive back to Dalton.

"This is taking too long. Why is this taking so long? He should've been back by now." Kurt said in a panic. He was pacing the dorm room impatiently, all the while trying to calm his nerves.

"Kurt, you need to relax. All you're doing is stressing yourself out more." Blaine said softly.

"How can I relax? Bastian's out there with Karofsky doing God knows what and it's all just some ploy to get him to leave me alone. What if it doesn't work? What if Karofsky sees right through Bastian's plan? What if he gets angry and attacks Bastian? What if-"

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"He's fine, Kurt." Blaine tried to assure him. "This is Bastian we're talking about. Do you really think he would be doing this if he didn't think it would work?"

"Well, no, but-"

"But nothing. He's fine. Come sit down with me, please." Blaine said softly. Kurt huffed in aggravation before walking over to sit on the bed with Blaine.

"I just don't want him to get hurt." Kurt said quietly.

"I know. I don't either. That's why David and Beatz went with him. They'll make sure that nothing happens to him, alright?" Blaine said as he gently stroked Kurt's cheek.

"Yeah, alright." Kurt nodded. "What do you think Bastian's saying to him?"

Before Blaine could answer, there was soft knock on the door. "Come in." Blaine called out. Sebastian opened the door slowly and entered the room.

"What happened? Are you ok? Did he hurt you? What'd you say to him? What did he say? What-"

"Relax, princess." Sebastian interrupted, earning him a death glare from Kurt.

"You know I hate it when you call me that." Kurt complained. "I demand you tell what happened."

Sebastian crossed his arms and rolled his eyes before answering. "We talked. That's what happened. He's not going to bother you again so you can relax."

"Talked about what?" Kurt asked.

"Doesn't matter. It's done and over with, ok? Just let it go and try to move on." Sebastian sighed. "Bastian." Kurt whined.

"Kurt." Sebastian mocked, then sighed. "Just let it go, ok? It's done."

Kurt wanted to protest but stopped when Blaine gave his thigh a light squeeze. "Fine." - 358 -

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"Good." Sebastian said with a nod and walked out of the room.

Blaine watched Sebastian go, then turned back to Kurt. "You aren't going to let this go, are you?" Blaine asked him.

"No, I'm not." Kurt replied firmly. "I want to know what the hell happened."

"And maybe one day you will." Blaine shrugged. "But for now, why don't you let me take your mind of it?" he said with a cheeky grin as his hand slowly massaged Kurt's thigh.

"I guess I could do that." Kurt sighed, although he could already feel the flush of his cheeks. "I was hoping you'd say that." Blaine chuckled before attaching his lips to Kurt's.

When Sebastian entered the room he shared with Thad, Thad was sitting at his desk waiting for him. He didn't say anything to his boyfriend as he walked over to the bed. He sat down, placed his elbows on his knees, and dropped his head into his hands. Thad stood up from his chair, walked over to Sebastian, and sat down next to him.

"Bas?" Thad said quietly. Upon hearing his name, Sebastian let go of the walls and started crying. "Shh, it's ok, baby. You're ok."

Sebastian reached for his boyfriend and let Thad hold him as the tears streamed down his face. Sebastian understood Karofsky's loss of control better than anyone. He knew that there were no great differences between the things that Karofsky did to Kurt and what he used to do himself. Seducing someone into his bed wasn't really all that different from forcing them. Both made a person feel powerful and untouchable and using those skills again on Karofsky that night gave him more of a reminder of that familiar rush than he would have liked. He was terrified that the taste of it would reawaken his addiction, and that if he wasn't careful the need to feel that rush over and over would swallow him whole again.

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"I won't. I promise." Thad assured him. He knew why Sebastian was upset. He knew that Sebastian would find parallels between himself and Karofsky. He also knew that his boyfriend was stronger than that and he promised himself that he would never let Sebastian fall back into his old ways.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

Let's Talk About This

As the next four weeks passed, Kurt and Blaine slowly but surely eased back into their Dalton routine. Kurt was on edge the entire first week. Despite Sebastian's reassurance that Karofsky wasn't going to bother him again, he couldn't help but worry. How could he not? He had little information about what happened that night and no one wanted to fill him in. While he understood his friends' attempt to keep him stress-free, it was infuriating not knowing anything. It wasn't until the end of the second week that Kurt received any news concerning Karofsky.

According to Finn, Karofsky and his dad packed up their things and skipped town. No one knew exactly what happened but the house had been emptied and put up for sale. It was hard for Kurt to accept at first, simply because things were never that easy. But as the days went on he finally started to relax. Throughout the following two weeks, he relished in the current simplicity of his life. He was still a little stressed over schoolwork and their upcoming Nationals competition, but for the first time in years, he felt like he could breathe.

During those four weeks, Blaine did his best not to let his own demons and fears get the best of him. He was still having nightmares, though not as often, and he worried about what was going to happen with his father. Cooper had promised him that he would take care of everything, but he didn't give Blaine any details. A part of Blaine was relieved that Cooper stepped in. Another part of him however, the part that tried tormenting him on a daily basis, wouldn't accept anything less than pain and fear.

Without knowing what Cooper planned, he couldn't trust it. His father was powerful, more powerful than his brother, and he found it impossible to believe that Cooper could protect him. He worried that trying to separate himself from his father would only make him more violent, more dangerous. The pain may be gone for now, but his fear was even greater. His lack of control over what was happening only made matters worse. It was because of this that Blaine ignored Cooper's recent phone calls.

He knew it was childish to avoid his brother, especially since he was working so hard to keep Blaine safe. But he knew that if he talked to Cooper, he would end up getting angry, and the last thing he needed to be was angry. Being angry and scared eventually led to feeling hopeless, and feeling hopeless almost always led to cutting. It had been a long time since he harmed himself, but it was and would always be something he struggled to control.

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On Thursday evening of the fourth week, Kurt and Blaine were cuddled up in Blaine's bed watching a movie before heading off to sleep. It didn't take long for Blaine to realize that Kurt wasn't paying attention though. He knew that Kurt's thoughts were wrapped up in Sebastian but he couldn't blame him. The two had barely talked after everything with Karofsky happened and it was starting to take its toll on Kurt.

"Baby, are you ok?" Blaine asked softly.

Kurt turned away from the computer screen and gave Blaine a small smile. "I'm fine." Blaine raised his eyebrow, clearly unconvinced. After a moment of silent staring, Kurt sighed and looked away. "Alright, I'm not fine."

"Thinking about Bastian again?" Blaine asked knowingly.

"I just wish he'd talk to me." Kurt complained. "I wish I knew what the hell happened. It's so obvious that something's wrong, that he's upset with me. Why won't he just tell me what it is?"

"I don't think he's upset with you." Blaine said. "I think he's just hiding." "But from what?" Kurt asked exasperatedly. "What did Karofsky do to him?"

Blaine shrugged and gave Kurt an apologetic half smile. "I don't know. He hasn't talked to me either." Kurt let out a heavy sigh and rested his head on Blaine's shoulder. "Have you tried talking to Thad?"

"Thad hates me." Kurt replied flatly.

"He does not hate you." Blaine assured him.

"I made his boyfriend seduce the guy that raped me, Blaine. Of course he hates me." Kurt argued.

Blaine lifted Kurt's head of his shoulder and looked at him with utmost seriousness. "You did not make Bastian do anything. You can't blame yourself for the choice he made."

"But-"

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"No buts." Blaine cut him off. "Talk to Thad. I'm sure he'll be willing to tell you something."

Kurt shrunk a little, giving Blaine a small pout. "Are you sure that's a good idea?" He questioned. "Maybe, maybe not. But it's worth a shot." Blaine reasoned.

Kurt nodded and sighed. "Ok, I'll talk to him."

"Good." Blaine said with a smile. He kissed Kurt on the forehead before turning his attention back to the movie, only to be interrupted when his cell phone rang. He glanced over at his desk and saw that it was Cooper. He chose to ignore the call.

"Blaine, don't you think it's time you talked to your brother." Kurt said cautiously.

"I don't want to talk to him." Blaine said much like a stubborn child.

"I know but that doesn't mean you shouldn't." Kurt replied softly. "I know you're upset with him because he's not telling you anything about your dad, but maybe if you talk to him and tell him why it upsets you, he'll fill you in."

Blaine stayed quiet for a moment, his gaze focused on the laptop screen though he was no longer watching the movie. "I just hate not having a say in what's going on." He said just above a whisper.

"Then tell him that." Kurt told him. Blaine's cell phone rang again, making Blaine huff in aggravation. "Talk to him. I'll even go talk to Thad now so you can have some space." Kurt untangled his body from Blaine, much to Blaine's dismay, and stood up. "Call your brother before he sends the rescue squad over here."

Blaine snorted a laugh and nodded. "Good luck with Thad." He said as Kurt walked over to the door.

"Good luck with Cooper." Kurt countered before blowing Blaine a kiss and walking out.

Blaine paused the movie, got up from his bed, and sat down at his desk. He picked up his cellphone and went to Cooper's contact info. He stared at the number for a moment, his finger hovering over it. He took a deep breath, trying to build up his courage, and called his brother.

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Kurt stood outside Thad and Sebastian's dorm room door for only a moment before knocking. He knew that Sebastian was most likely at the gym and hoped that Thad decided to stay in instead of going to the library. Another minute or so passed before the door opened to reveal a sleepy Thad.

"Hey." Thad said with a yawn. "Bastian's working out."

"I know." Kurt nodded. "I came here to see you actually." Thad's eyes widened in surprise but he let Kurt in nonetheless. "Were you sleeping?"

"I was just napping." Thad said dismissively. "What's going on?"

Kurt took a deep breath and wrung his hands nervously. "I wanted to talk to you about Bastian." "What about him?" Thad asked, a defensive tone to his voice.

"Is he mad at me?" Kurt asked quickly, his worries of the last few weeks suddenly spilling out. "Have I done something to piss him off? Because he's barely talked to me in weeks and it's driving me crazy and I keep trying to talk to him but he just shuts me out and I don't know what I did but I know it has something to do with Karofsky and I just wish he would let me in or give me a sign that we're ok or-"

"Dude, slow down." Thad interrupted, raising his hands in surrender. "Jeez, when you get going, you really get going."

"Sorry." Kurt said sheepishly.

Thad sighed heavily and shook his head. "Why don't you sit down." He said, gesturing to the bed they never used. Kurt took a seat, placed his hands on his lap, and waited for Thad to continue. "You haven't done anything wrong and he's not mad at you. I promise."

"Then why won't he talk to me? I thought we were friends." Kurt replied softly.

"You are friends." Thad assured him. "In fact, other than me, you're the closest friend he has." "Then why is he shutting me out?" Kurt asked again.

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"Because he's got shit going on." Thad snapped, catching Kurt off guard. "I'm sorry. I'm not my nicest right when I wake up. I've been telling him for weeks to talk to you but he's stubborn as hell."

"Is he ok?" Kurt asked quietly.

"He's...he's getting there." Thad replied as he took a seat next to Kurt. "Look, what he did for you, talking to Karofsky like that, it put him in a bad place and he's just trying to deal with it."

"What do you mean it put him in a bad place?" Kurt questioned worriedly.

"I can't be the one to tell you." Thad said apolitically. "I'll get him to talk to you though, I promise."

Kurt nodded, giving Thad a sad smile. "Ok. Thank you."

"Sure."

"Can I ask you something else?" Kurt said cautiously.

"Go ahead." Thad said curiously.

"Do you hate me?" Kurt asked slowly.

"What? No. What gave you that idea?" Thad asked bemused.

"I don't know." Kurt shrugged. "Everything with Bastian's just been so weird, and I know that you weren't a fan of what he did for me so I thought that maybe you hated me because of it."

"I don't hate you, Kurt." Thad assured him. "I just tend to get overprotective when it comes to Bastian. I might've been a little jealous of you though." he chuckled

"Why?" Kurt asked, taken aback by the comment.

"Because of the friendship you have with Bastian." Thad admitted. "I was used to being the only who got to see the real him and then you came along and suddenly it felt like he was leaving me behind, like I didn't matter anymore." Kurt opened his mouth to talk but Thad stopped him. "I'm not saying this to upset you, I'm just being honest. I know now that what Bastian and I have is entirely different from what you two

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have. But you do have something between you, a connection that neither Blaine nor I can touch. But I also know that the connection is strictly platonic. I'm sorry if it seemed like I hated you. That was never my intent. It just took me a while to accept that I'm not the only important guy in his life."

"I never meant to come in and steal him away or anything." Kurt said quietly.

"I know, and really, you didn't. If anything, you're the reason we're together now." Thad replied with small smile.

"All I did was force him to pull his head out of his ass." Kurt joked.

"And for that reason alone, I can't hate you." Thad laughed. "I know we don't talk much, but know that I'm here if you ever want talk or hang out. Bastian's not the only good listener ya know."

"I know." Kurt nodded. "And the same goes for you. Blaine's not the only one with good advice, and sometimes his advice isn't even that great."

"No, it isn't." Thad laughed. "Like the time he convinced Derek to sing to that girl at that boutique in the mall."

"Oh that was bad." Kurt groaned. "I still can't believe we actually went along with it. That poor girl looked like she wanted to die from sheer embarrassment! I mean, seriously? Who serenades someone in the middle of the mall?"

"Charming young men in blazers, duh." Thad replied, sending both into a fit of giggles. "Thanks for talking to me." Kurt said as their laughter died down.

"Of course." Thad nodded. "And don't worry about Bastian. I'll pull his head out of his ass and make him talk to you."

"I'd appreciate that." Kurt said softly. "I'm going to go before he gets back. Night, Thad." He said as he stood up and headed for the door.

"Night, Kurt." Thad replied. He waited until Kurt was out of the room to pull his cellphone out and text

Sebastian.

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You and I are having a serious talk when you get in. Love you. xoxo – Thad

"It's good to know you remembered how to use a phone, Blaine." Cooper said when he answered Blaine's call, his voice teasing yet stern.

"Hey, Coop." Blaine replied guiltily. "Sorry about that. I've been busy with school and the Warblers and stuff."

"Uh, huh." Cooper said unconvinced. "How are you doing?"

"I'm ok." Blaine replied. "The nightmares aren't happening as often so that's good."

"Glad to hear." Cooper said, relief evident in his voice. "Are you going to grace us with your presence this weekend or do I need to call a rescue team to bring you home?" Blaine couldn't help but laugh at Cooper's choice of words. "What?"

"It's nothing really." Blaine said as his laughter died away. "Kurt just basically said you would do that if I didn't call you back."

"He's a smart boy." Cooper teased. "Seriously, though. Are you coming home this weekend?"

Blaine hesitated for a minute, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "About that...there's actually something I wanted to talk to you about."

"I'm listening." Cooper said, curiosity and concern evident.

Blaine rubbed his neck nervously and took a deep breath. "I want to know what's going with Dad." He said quickly.

"Blaine-"

"No, don't." Blaine interrupted. "Don't tell me not to worry about it or that you're handling it. I want to

know what's going on." He said firmly.

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"Baby brother, please." Cooper said softly. "We've talked about this already. I'm not going to stress you out with this crap. You don't need to know what's going on. You just need to focus on yourself and school."

"I do need to know what's going on!" Blaine nearly yelled into the phone. "I'm already stressing out about this crap because it's my crap! You can't just come back and take control of my life!"

"Blaine, listen-"

"No, you listen." Blaine said angrily as he stood up from his seat. "You have no idea what's it like to have no control over your life, to have someone dictate your every move. You have no idea what's it like to feel lost or completely worthless. Most of my life hasn't been my own because of him, and I have worked really damn hard to keep my fears in control. I'm sorry Cooper, but you can't suddenly start deciding what's best for me."

When Cooper didn't respond, Blaine knew he was taking things too far. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, willing the anger to go away. "I love you Coop, and I know you're only trying to protect me but I'm only stressing out more by not knowing what's going on. I'm not a little kid anymore, I'm 17. I need to be able to fight my battles. I need to be able to stay strong when I'm at my weakest. I can't do that if I have no say in what's happening in my life. I need you to help me with my life and my future, not control it."

Cooper sighed as he ran his fingers through his hair. He knew Blaine was right, but it was hard for him to accept. Ever since he'd been back and found his baby brother in pain, his need to protect him jumped into high gear. He still saw Blaine as the 10 year old little boy who dressed up in a Robin-like costume with kitten ears. But Blaine wasn't a 10 years old anymore and they weren't playing superhero. This was real life and if Cooper ever expected Blaine to grow into a healthy adult, he needed to stop coddling him.

"You're right. I'm sorry." Cooper replied softly. "I can't keep acting like you're going to break when you're not. I keep telling you how strong you are yet I don't give you the chance to test that strength and I need to stop doing that. Come home this weekend and we'll talk about whatever you want. I'll tell you whatever it is you want to know."

Blaine sighed in relief, sinking back down into his seat. "Thank you, Coop. I'm sorry for yelling at you."

"It's ok, Blaine. There's nothing to be sorry about." Cooper said gently. "I'm sorry if my plan to not stress

you only stressed you out." He laughed lightly.

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"It's fine." Blaine said with a small chuckle. "You told me that first night we talked that we were in this together, Coop. That's all I want."

"And that's what you'll get. I promise." Cooper assured him. A knock on the front door grabbed Cooper's attention. "I have to go, but I'll pick you up tomorrow after Warbler rehearsal?"

"Definitely." Blaine said with a smile. "Goodnight, Coop. Love you."

"Love you too, Squirt. Goodnight." Cooper replied before hanging up. He stood up from the couch and walked over to the front door cautiously. His grandmother rarely got visitors that late and he wasn't expecting anyone. When he opened the front door, he was surprised to see his mother standing there looking down at the ground. "Mom? What are you doing here?"

"I left your father." Julianne replied just above a whisper.

"What happened?" Cooper asked. Julianne looked up at her oldest son slowly, her eyes filled with unshed tears. Cooper's breath hitched when he saw that she had a black eye and fat lip.

"He tore my family apart and made my sons hate me." She replied brokenly. "I couldn't stay any longer. I just couldn't."

A lump formed in Cooper's throat at her use of the word sons. It meant that she hadn't completely lost her love for Blaine. "Come in. Let's talk." He said quietly and ushered inside.

Sebastian walked into his room cautiously. He had received Thad's text message shortly after it was sent and immediately asked Thad what was wrong. Thad had replied a simple, 'We need to talk' and Sebastian had been on edge since.

"Hey, babe." Sebastian greeted. "What's going on?" he asked worriedly. "Kurt was here a little while ago." Thad said, straight to the point.

Sebastian's face fell instantly. "That's why you text me? Because you want me to talk to Kurt? Shit, babe. I thought something was wrong." He said as he rolled his eyes.

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"Something is wrong." Thad replied as Sebastian took a seat next to him on their bed. "Your best friend is going crazy because you refuse to tell him what's going on. He's worried that you don't want to be friends with him anymore."

"That's dumb. Of course I'm his friend. Why would he say that?" Sebastian asked exasperatedly.

"Maybe because you won't talk to him." Thad deadpanned. "And he didn't say that, but I know that's what he was thinking it."

Sebastian sighed and leaned back against the wall, opening his arms up so that Thad would lay on him. Thad scooted over and rested his body on Sebastian but kept his gaze firmly on his boyfriend's face. "You know that if I tell him, he's just going to blame himself. He's got enough on his plate with Blaine without having to worry about me too."

"He's already worried about you, babe, and I'm pretty sure he's already blaming himself. He's not stupid, Bas. He knows that something happened that night. It's time you man up and tell him before you do actually end up losing him." Thad replied softly.

Sebastian nodded as he brought his hand up to push a few stray hairs out of Thad's face. "Ok. I'll talk to him tomorrow."

"You better." Thad said firmly before resting his head on Sebastian's chest. "What do you want to do for the rest of the night?"

"We could watch a movie?" Sebastian suggested, though he seemed uninterested.

Thad leaned back slightly to look up at Sebastian's face. "We could, or, we could do something else."

Sebastian smirked at Thad's insinuation and leaned in for a quick but heated kiss. "Something else sounds good to me."

Friday morning started off with a bang. At exactly 6:59, the entire house was abruptly awoken by the sound of One Direction's Everything About You blaring through the speakers. The boys stumbled out to the common room to find Jeff and Nick singing and dancing along with the song. It didn't long for their fellow

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Warblers to start joining in, including Blaine. Kurt leaned up against one of the walls, smiling fondly at his friends as they let loose. By the time the song came to an end, most of the Warblers had joined in and they were all laughing from the sudden surge of energy they always got from performing. The rest of the house hooted and clapped as the boys took a bow. It may have been an abrupt wake up, but it was definitely an entertaining one.

"That was great guys." Wes said as he walked over to Jeff and Nick. "You wanna fill us in on why you decided to have an impromptu performance at 7 in the morning?"

"Last night, Nick and I were talking about what songs we should do for Nationals." Jeff started.

"We already chose our songs, Jeffery." Wes replied flatly.

"Yeah and they're lame." Jeff retorted. "We're not going to win Nationals if we don't change it up." The Warblers nodded in agreement and Wes couldn't even begin to argue with them. The songs they had chosen weren't working for them at all and the council had been at a loss as to how to make things flow better. "So, we were talking last night and we figured out what was missing from our performance. Fun."

"We got through Sectionals by luck and we won Regionals by delivering an emotional message." Nick said as he stepped forward. "Let's win Nationals by having some fun."

"One Direction is huge right now. Their songs are catchy and upbeat, everybody loves them, and their harmonies are flawless." Jeff exclaimed. "Our harmonies are flawless. We could do some amazing ass shit with their songs!"

"Nationals are three weeks away. Do you really think that changing our songs right now is a smart move?" Wes questioned.

"I don't know, man." David cut in. "We are already struggling with the songs we have and we're not having fun. We aren't going to impress the judges if we're too worried about the details."

"David's right." Thad said. "We shouldn't be thinking while we perform, we should be enjoying ourselves. Changing the songs sounds like a good idea to me. We could all use a little bit of fun right about now too."

The Warblers agreed with the two councilmen and looked at Wes for the final decision. "If we do this, I expect each and every one of you to work your butts off." Wes said firmly, waving his finger at the boys.

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"Why don't we take a Warbler day?" Blaine suggested. "We can work on the songs all day and have something finalized by tonight."

Wes glanced at his fellow Warblers, all of whom were wearing the same hopeful expression. With a conceding sigh, he nodded. "Alright. Let's change it up." The Warblers hooted excitedly and high fived each other. "How many of you have tests today?" Most of the seniors and several of the juniors raised their hands. "You will not be skipping your exams. Let's take a Warbler day but when your test period starts, go take the test and then come back. Understood?"

"Understood." The boys replied.

"Ok." Wes sighed. "Go get ready. I'm going to go talk to the dean." The boys quickly dissipated and Wes left for the administration office.

The Warblers spent the entire Friday working on their new routine for Nationals. They had decided on singing two One Direction songs and one The Wanted song. It became clear very quickly just how good of an idea it was to change their performance. Their energy was up, they had little to no trouble picking up the harmonies, and they were finally excited about competing. Lately, they had been worrying too much to get excited. Their performance had lacked its usual flare and many of them had been dreading going to Nationals. With the new song choices, however, their confidence had been renewed.

Blaine was exceptionally excited for the new set list. Despite the fact that he was the soloist in their original set list, he hadn't been looking forward to competing. He felt like he was working too hard to create a sense of magic that wasn't there and he had already conceded that they were going to lose. The new song choices seemed to bring him back to life though. Kurt had noticed the change in Blaine's demeanor almost instantly. There was a sparkle in Blaine's eyes that had been missing ever since his father's visit, and Kurt was overjoyed to see it back.

There was a point during the day where almost all the seniors and juniors were gone testing. Those who didn't have tests stayed in the Warbler hall and took a small break. Kurt had taken the time to think about what was going on with Sebastian. He hated how off things had been with them and he missed his friend dearly. He watched Sebastian from across the room and wondered if they would ever get past their

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newest hurdle. He wanted to be able to talk and joke around with Sebastian, but instead he was stuck staring at him.

"Dude, just go talk to him." Beatz said to Kurt, breaking his reverie. "You're like, watching him all longingly and shit. Man up and talk to him already."

"I've tried talking to him." Kurt reminded him. "He just keeps making excuses and walks off."

"Is he or is he not one of your closest friends?" Beatz questioned.

"You know he is." Kurt snapped. "Blaine, Bastian, and you are my best friends."

"Ok then, as your other best friend, I'm telling you to go talk to him. He's just as sad without you as you are without him." Beatz said seriously.

Kurt took a deep breath and nodded. "Alright. I'll go try and talk to him. Again."

"Good boy." Beatz teased, patting Kurt on the head. Kurt sent him an annoyed expression before walking

over to where Sebastian was sitting.

"Hey." Kurt said quietly.

Sebastian looked up from his phone and gave Kurt a small smile. "Hey."

They stared at each other for a moment before Kurt spoke. "Can we please talk about this?" he asked desperately. "Whatever this is. I miss you."

Sebastian lowered his head and sighed. "Ok, Kurt. Let's go talk." He said as he stood up. "Hey Wes, Kurt and I are heading back to the dorms for a minute."

Wes looked at the other Warblers, all of whom were doing their own thing, and nodded. "Be back by next period."

"Will do." Sebastian replied and headed out of the Warbler hall with Kurt close behind. - 373 -

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They didn't talk all the way up to the dorms nor did they talk when they first entered Sebastian's room. Instead they stared at each other expectantly. Sebastian was sitting on his bed while Kurt sat across from him on the unused bed, both waiting for other to start. When the silence became too much, Kurt finally spoke up.

"Are you going to tell me what's wrong?" he asked quietly.

Sebastian ran his fingers through his hair and looked away from Kurt. "Before I tell you what's wrong, I need you to understand that this has nothing to do with you."

"Ok." Kurt said slowly, shifting slightly in his seat.

"I'm serious, Kurt." Sebastian said firmly. "I don't want you to feel guilty or feel sorry for me, and I don't want you to blame yourself for anything. This isn't about you, it's about me and my shit. Alright?" Kurt nodded, eager to hear more. "Talking to Karofsky put me in a bad place. I forgot what it was like seducing someone, how amazing it felt. That kind of control is addicting as shit and using my old tactics to talk to him took a toll on me."

"Why did you do it then?" Kurt asked quietly.

"Because I couldn't stand to see you so scared." Sebastian shrugged. "Other than Thad, you're the only one who gets me. I love you like a brother, Kurt. You are my brother, and my best friend. I needed to do it. I needed to help keep you safe. It's what we do." Kurt looked down at his hands sadly, immediately feeling guilty for what Sebastian was going through. "I avoided you these past few weeks because I didn't want you worry about me and I didn't want you to feel guilty. This was a choice I made. No one forced me to do it. I'm sorry for shutting you out, but I needed the time to get myself in the right head space. I was scared and confused and I just...I needed time."

"Did something happen with Karofsky?" Kurt asked worriedly. "Did he do something to you?"

"No, he didn't do anything." Sebastian assured him. "He was a broken down mess by the time I talked to him. All I did was help him see things clearer. We just have a lot more in common that I would've liked and it kinda got to me."

"You and Karofsky are nothing alike." Kurt immediately argued. - 374 -

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"But we are." Sebastian said rolling his eyes. "Seducing someone into bed is no different than forcing them. It comes with the same kind of power and satisfaction, and like I said, it's addicting as shit. I'm lucky. I have Thad and you and the other guys to keep me in check. That doesn't mean I don't struggle with it, though."

"I'm sorry, Bastian." Kurt said softly. "I never wanted you to deal with this."

"I know but I am dealing with it and it was my choice to have to deal with it. Quit blaming yourself."

Sebastian said firmly. "The Warblers take care of their own, no matter what. You know that." "I know." Kurt sighed. "I just wish everything hadn't gotten so out of hand."

"Yes well, it did, but that's over with now. It's done. Let's put this shit behind us and move on." Sebastian replied tiredly.

"Are you ok though?" Kurt questioned.

"Yes, I'm ok." Sebastian chuckled softly.

"So does that mean you're done pushing me away?" Kurt asked pointedly.

Sebastian rolled his eyes as he stood up and held his arms open so that Kurt would hug him. Kurt stood up and wrapped his arms around Sebastian's waist protectively. "I'm done pushing you away. I promise."

"Good because I missed you." Kurt said into Sebastian's chest.

"Yeah, yeah. I missed you too." Sebastian replied softly as they parted. "Are we done talking about this now? Can we move on, please?"

"Yeah, yeah." Kurt mimicked.

"Thank God." Sebastian said, sighing in relief. "I thought I was going to have to find a new best friend to tease mercilessly."

"Nope." Kurt said as they walked towards the door and out of the room. "You're stuck with me forever

now."

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"Damn." Sebastian said with a finger snap. "Just when I thought I got rid of you."

Kurt shoved Sebastian away playfully and laughed. "As if you could ever find someone as fabulous as me."

Sebastian looked over at Kurt fondly and smiled. "Naw, I'm pretty sure there's no one as fabulous as the Kurt Hummel."

"Don't tell Trent that." Kurt replied laughing. They walked back down to the Warbler hall arm in arm, both glad to have their easy going friendship back.

After a long day of rehearsing, the Warblers were ready for the weekend. Most of them were going home to see their families before Wes locked them away for three weeks. They had a lot of work to do still but they were confident that they could get it all done. Kurt was excited to be going home for the weekend. He hadn't seen his family in four weeks and he was more than ready for some quality time with his dad. The New Directions were also planning another sleepover for that Saturday night and he couldn't wait to see them. Blaine was anxious about going home. He was ready for another heart to heart with Cooper and he was determined not to let the darkness in him take control.

"I feel like we haven't spent any time together." Kurt said as they packed their belongings for the weekend. Blaine smiled sadly and nodded. "I know. Things have just been so crazy lately."

"I know." Kurt sighed as he walked over to Blaine. He wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck as Blaine wrapped his arms Kurt's waist. "I think we need to make a better effort at spending time together."

"I have an idea." Blaine said smiling. "Why don't I pick you up early on Sunday? We can go have a picnic at our tree now that the weather's nice again, and then, we could come back here and conveniently forget to tell the rest of the guys that we've returned." He said with a cheeky grin.

Kurt looked off in contemplation, a mischievous smirk playing at his lips. "I think that's a perfect idea." "Good." Blaine chuckled before leaning in to kiss him. "We better go. Our brothers are waiting."

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"Yeah, ok." Kurt said with a pout. They grabbed their things off the bed, including Kurtie and Blainey-boo, and walked out of their room hand in hand.

"There they are." Cooper commented when Kurt and Blaine walked out of the building. "Took you long enough."

"It's because they were having a goodbye make-out session." Finn teased, earning him a glare from Kurt. "What? Was I not supposed to know that?" Kurt simply rolled his eyes and shook his head in response.

"I'll see you Sunday." Kurt said to Blaine.

"See you Sunday." Blaine replied. "I love you."

"I love you too." Kurt said before giving Blaine a chaste kiss. Kurt waved goodbye to Cooper before getting into the truck with Finn and driving off.

Cooper walked over to Blaine and pulled him in for an embrace. "I missed you, Squirt." "I missed you too, Coop." Blaine replied, hugging his brother tightly.

"There's something I need to tell you before we head home." Cooper said as they parted. "What is it?" Blaine asked curiously.

"Mom came to see me last night."

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CHAPTER THIRTY

Second Chances

Blaine's jaw went slack, his eyes widening at what his brother just said. "What?" he asked, his heart suddenly racing.

"Mom came to see me last night." Cooper repeated cautiously.

"Why?" Blaine breathed out. "Wh-what did she want?"

"Why don't we get inside the car?" Cooper suggested as he walked to the driver's seat.

"What did she want, Cooper?" Blaine asked firmly, not moving from his spot.

"I'll tell you as soon as you get inside the car." Cooper replied as he opened the car door and stepped in.

With an aggravated sigh, Blaine walked over to the passenger seat and got in. Cooper inserted the key into the ignition but before he could turn the car on, Blaine pulled the keys out. "We are not going anywhere until you tell me what happened with Mom. Why did she come see you last night?" he asked in the same demanding tone their father used. It was a tone that Cooper both hated and worried about.

Cooper nodded understandingly and turned his body to face Blaine. "She came to see me last night to talk."

"About?" Blaine pressed.

"You." Cooper answered softly.

Julianne walked into her mother-in-laws home and followed Cooper into the living room. She was surprised her eldest let her in so easily. She had been prepared to beg him for forgiveness, though by the look on Cooper's face, she still might have to. She had never wanted things to get so out of hand. She had never expected her husband to take things so far. But they had and now she was at a loss about what to do. All she knew was that she wanted her family back. She wanted her sons back.

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Cooper watched his mother for a moment with growing curiosity. The faraway look in her eyes worried him, pained him. The bruises on her face were recent but he could tell that they were from a few days prior. It seemed like his father had finally jumped over the edge. The father he knew would never have struck his wife, despite being the hard ass that he was. Then again, the father he knew was long gone and had been replaced by a monster. Cooper had to remind himself that his mother had turned her back on Blaine. As much as he wanted to sympathize with her, he couldn't let his guard down just yet.

"Would you like some coffee or water?" Cooper asked her as she took a seat on the couch.

Julianne crossed her arms across her chest protectively and shook her head. "No, I'm good. Where's your

grandmother?"

"She's in her room." Cooper replied as he took a seat next to his mother. "Did you need her?"

"No, no." Julianne said quickly. "I came here to talk to you."

"Ok, then. Talk." Cooper said straight to the point.

Julianne swallowed the lump in her throat and took a deep breath. "I need to apologize to you, for not being there for Blaine when he needed me."

"No, you need to apologize to Blaine." Cooper said pointedly. "But since he's not here, I'll take it."

Julianne hated the defensive tone in Cooper's voice but she couldn't be upset with him for it. She knew she deserved it. "You're right, I do. And I hope that one day he'll give me the chance to." Julianne's voice wavered as the tears she'd been holding the entire drive began to spill. "I can't even begin to tell you how much I regret it. When Blaine came out...I didn't stop loving him, I just didn't understand it. And then your father...I tried talking to him but he refused to listen to any sort of reason and he threatened to hurt me if I even thought about supporting Blaine and I just...I was a coward." Cooper reached for his mother's hands tentatively, staying silent as she continued. "I hid and let Blaine deal with your father's tyranny by himself and for that I am truly sorry. The more your father tormented him, the more I hid. I abandoned my child in his time of need and I'll never forgive myself for it."

"Did you know about the cutting?" Cooper asked her.

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"No. I didn't find out until the night you came back." Julianne said. "I didn't know how bad things had gotten for him and I know that's my fault for turning a blind eye."

"What happened with Dad?" Cooper asked softly as he gently stroked the side of his mother's cheek.

"A few days ago, I told him I wanted a divorce because of what he'd done to our family, and we got into it. It's all kind of a blur, but at one point I said that I was going to try and get Blaine back and that's when he hit me." Julianne replied shakily. "He hit me twice and then left. I didn't wait around for him. I packed a bag and went over to Peter's. I knew he would be able to protect me." Cooper smiled fondly at the mention of his uncle's name. He hadn't seen him since he'd been back because he had been so busy trying to figure out what was the best option for Blaine. "We went back to the house today right after his shift at the precinct and I served your father the divorce papers."

Cooper gave Julianne a small smile, feeling a sense of pride at the fact that she stood up for herself. "What are you going to do now?"

"Try and get my life back." Julianne shrugged. "Cooper...I am so incredibly sorry for what I've done. I know that I don't deserve another chance but...I miss him so much. I haven't seen Blaine since your grandmother took him in and I feel like a part of me has died because of it."

"So, you really don't hate Blaine?" Cooper questioned. "You still love him, even though he's gay?"

"I do." Julianne assured him. "I just didn't understand it, I still don't. But I want to. I want to understand and

I've been trying to. I just...I want my sons back."

Cooper pulled his mother in for a hug as she cried, his own set of tears falling. "We'll figure this out. I promise."

Blaine sat there speechless for a few minutes, his thoughts racing. Mom loves me? That can't be right. She's barely spoken to me in years. How can she say she loves me and wants to be a part of my life all of sudden when she basically abandoned me? Dad hitting her was the final straw but his abusing me wasn't? Did she really not know about the cutting? Was she really that blind to my pain? Or was Dad really controlling her the way she said he was? Blaine thought back to the day he found his mother drinking. He remembers that day vividly. It had been one of his worst.

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Blaine couldn't look at himself in the mirror anymore. He couldn't even remember the last time he actually looked at his reflection. The only time he did look was when he was cutting and even then, he was watching his wrists. The mornings after he cut were always the worst. He'd spend hours in front of the mirror, willing himself to look at his own face but he couldn't. He wasn't strong enough to face himself. He was too weak. That morning was no different. After the harsh words his father threw at him the night before due to a C on a school paper, he escaped to his bathroom and let his emotions bleed.

Blaine finally tore himself away from his bathroom and walked out into the hallway to find his mother drinking. It wasn't even 8 in the morning and she was practically guzzling the wine down. His mother never drank; not ever. Had life really gotten that bad that she felt the need to drink? Did his father have some kind of hold over her the way he did Blaine? Blaine watched in shock as his mother stumbled down the hall, a faraway expression on her face.

When she was just a couple of feet away, she finally noticed Blaine standing there. They locked eyes momentarily and Blaine was sure that he saw sympathy and regret behind her façade. Just as quickly as the emotion appeared, however, it was gone. She continued to stumble past him, no longer acknowledging that he was there. Even after all the years of neglect and abuse, it still tore through Blaine's heart how his mother stopped loving him.

"Blaine?" Cooper said softly, concern evident in his voice. Blaine had zoned out as his memories of that day came rushing back. He hadn't realized how bad things had gotten for his mother until that moment. That didn't mean he was ready to forgive her either. "Blaine." Cooper said again, finally breaking Blaine's reverie.

"Do you believe her?" Blaine asked thickly. "A-about everything? Do you believe that she really didn't know about the c-cutting?"

Cooper sighed deeply and nodded. "I do. I think she would've stood up to Dad long ago if she had been truly aware of how bad everything became for you. I also think she took the easy way out. She could've talked to you had she really wanted to, and I think a part of her did. But I doubt she knew how to talk to you."

"So what changed? Why is she trying to talk me to now after years of ignoring me and acting like I didn't

exist?" Blaine asked angrily.

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"When I went to see Dad, she overheard us fighting." Cooper said quietly. "She heard a lot of things that night that she didn't know and it made her realize the ugly truth. She told me that she searched your room and found some old razors and the pill bottle. That's when she confronted Dad."

"And that's when he hit her?" Blaine asked, his voice wavering.

"That's when he hit her." Cooper confirmed. "Mom's not perfect, Blaine. She has a lot of work to do on herself, but she does love you. She wants to get to know you, the real you, but she knows she can't force it on you either."

Blaine was quiet for a long while, letting all the information sink in. When he finally spoke, it was nothing but a whisper. "Where's Mom now?"

"She's at Uncle Peter's. She'll be staying there until she gets back on her feet." Cooper said softly. "It's like I said, she needs to work on herself. Uncle Peter is going to help her through it as much as he can."

"Does he know? About me?" Blaine asked curiously.

"He does, and he told me that it changes nothing." Cooper told him.

"Can we...can we go see her?" Blaine asked brokenly.

"Now?" Cooper asked surprised. Blaine nodded but said nothing. "If you'd like. I won't force you into seeing her. You can talk to her whenever you feel ready."

Blaine contemplated it for a moment. He knew he could take as much time as he needed to confront her, but he was having difficulty believing what Cooper had told him. He needed to see her. He needed to see if she really was willing to try for him like she said she was.

"I want to go see her." Blaine replied firmly.

"Ok. I'll give Uncle Peter a call and tell him we're on our way." Cooper replied. "Can I have my keys back now?"

"Yeah, here." Blaine said as he handed the keys back. "Sorry about that." - 382 -

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"No need to be sorry." Cooper said gently. "You sure you want to do this now?"

"I'm sure." Blaine replied. "If I don't...I might not do it at all." Cooper nodded and gave Blaine a small smile before turning the car on and driving away from Dalton.

Kurt didn't wait long to ask Finn what had been on his mind for weeks. As soon as they were on the highway, Kurt turned the radio off and gave Finn his, "you're in trouble" look. He wasn't really in trouble, but Kurt knew it would get his attention.

"What? What did I do?" Finn asked nervously.

"Any news on Karofsky?" Kurt asked straight to the point.

"Um...I d-don't know. I-I haven't heard anything." Finn replied, not chancing Kurt a glance.

"Don't lie to me, Finn." Kurt replied, pain and frustration evident in his voice. "What have you heard about Karofsky? And I want you to tell me what happened at that party too. No more secrets and no more lies."

"But..." Finn trailed off for a moment, unsure of how to continue.

"But what?" Kurt asked with sigh.

"I don't want to like, stress you out or anything." Finn replied quietly. "I mean yeah, he's gone and all, but I don't want you to worry about him. I don't want you to start having nightmares or flashbacks or anything."

Kurt sighed and looked away. He understood Finn's reasoning, but he was tired of being treated like a fragile piece of glass. He was ready to move on but he couldn't do that if everyone continued to baby him. "Pull the car over." He replied tiredly.

"What?" Finn asked bemused.

"Pull the car over." Kurt repeated. "We need to have this conversation and I don't want you to get into an accident because you weren't paying attention." - 383 -

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Finn reluctantly took the next exit and parked at the truck stop. He really didn't want to have this conversation with Kurt, but he knew there was no way out of it. Kurt had been pestering him for weeks for information and as much as he wanted to protect his step-brother, he knew he had no choice but to tell him the truth.

"What do you want to know?" Finn asked disgruntledly.

Kurt turned his body so that he was facing Finn. "For starters, you can tell me what happened at the party."

Finn sighed and turned to Kurt. "Everything went according to plan, except..."

"Except?"

"His dad came home early." Finn said, looking down at his hands. "He was supposed to find Karofsky way later, like after everyone left. But he got there early and walked in right when the video was playing. The football team was like, seconds away from beating the crap out of him too, but when his dad showed up, he booked it."

"And then he drove to Dalton." Kurt said pointedly.

"Yeah." Finn said regrettably. "I am so sorry, Kurt."

"I know you are, Finn." Kurt replied softly. "Maybe next time you'll listen to me when I tell you not to do something stupid. You're lucky that no one has figured out that you guys were behind it." Finn nodded and shifted in his seat, knowing exactly how lucky the New Directions were for not getting caught. "What else do you know? What have you heard? I know McKinley is still gossiping about this."

Finn rubbed the back of his neck nervously, unsure of how Kurt would take the news. "Well, no one actually knows what happened with him and his dad when he got back from Dalton, but do you know that AV Club girl, Amanda?"

"You mean the one with the pigtails? The freshman?" Kurt asked and Finn nodded. "What about her?"

"It turns out that she's Karofsky's cousin." Finn said, Kurt's eyes widening in surprise. "She didn't say anything at first but Jacob Ben Israel kept bugging her about it and she told him that Karofsky moved out

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of state. Then, Brittany found her crying underneath the bleachers after the football team slushy bombed her and I guess Britt was really nice to her because she apologized on Karofsky's behalf for what he did to you. She told Britt that his dad put him in counseling because of it, not because he's gay. Apparently his dad is like, super supportive of him."

Kurt sat back in his seat and nodded. "Oh, well, good for him then."

"Good for him?" Finn asked bemused. "You're not mad?"

"Why would I be mad?" Kurt questioned.

"Because he got away with it." Finn answered. "He should be rotting away in jail for what he did to you but instead he-"

"Instead he has a father who loves him enough to help him." Kurt cut in. "Dave Karofsky has some serious issues, Finn. I'm glad that he's in counseling and trying to get better."

"But-"

"But nothing. If there's one thing that Dalton has taught me it's that everyone has their demons." Kurt said with a half shrug. "I'm not saying I forgive him, because I don't, nor will I ever forget the kind of monster he is, but at least he and his dad have acknowledged the fact that he is one. To be honest, I feel safer knowing that he's trying to get help instead of rotting away in jail."

"How can you say that?" Finn asked, clearly upset at how well Kurt was taking the news.

"Because if he was in jail, he'd have no one to talk to, no one to help him deal with his shit. Instead, he'd be sitting there falling deeper and deeper into his own black hole, all the while blaming me for what he did. Think about it. He'd be in there for years just stewing in his anger for me and his hatred for himself. What do you think would happen years down the road when he got out?" Kurt asked him seriously.

"He'd come find you." Finn replied, finally understanding where Kurt was coming from. "I didn't think of it like that." Kurt nodded and sighed, resting his head back on the seat. "Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm alright." Kurt said, waving his hand dismissively. "It's just a lot to take in." - 385 -

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"Are you sure you're ok?" Finn asked again, concern evident.

"I'm fine, Finn." Kurt replied with a small chuckle. "I promise."

"Ok." Finn nodded. "But you'd tell me if you weren't, right?"

"Yes, I'd tell you." Kurt assured him. "We better get back on the road before Dad and Carole have a fit." Finn snorted a laugh and nodded before turning the car on and pulling away from the truck stop.

By the time Cooper pulled up to Peter's house later that evening, Blaine was a nervous wreck. He spent the entire drive there going over everything Cooper had told him and he couldn't help but feel anxious. What if she changed her mind? What if she sees me and regrets coming back for me? What if she only thinks she loves me, but really, she's disgusted by me? Blaine wasn't exactly afraid to see his mother, just worried. He spent so many nights wishing that she would accept him for who he is and now that the possibility was there, he couldn't help but question it.

"You ok over there, Squirt?" Cooper asked, breaking Blaine's reverie. Blaine glanced at his surroundings quickly, noticing that they had already arrived. He nodded mutely but made no move to exit the car. "You sure? You were awfully quiet during the drive. You didn't even sing along when Katy Perry came on." Cooper joked, hoping to ease some of Blaine's tension.

Blaine rolled his eyes at the comment but gave Cooper a small smile nonetheless. "I'm ok. I just got lost in my head for a little while."

Cooper nodded and pulled the keys out of the ignition. "Why don't you take a minute to clear your thoughts and come inside when you're ready?"

"Yeah, ok." Blaine agreed, grateful for the moment alone. Cooper reached over to ruffle Blaine's hair, laughing when Blaine protested, and exited the car to give Blaine a moment.

Blaine watched Cooper walk up the driveway and into their uncle's home before pulling out his phone. He thought about calling Kurt, knowing that he would be supportive over whatever decision he made. He didn't want Kurt to worry though, so he decided against it. Instead, he went through his contacts and called Nick. Nick was the one that found him cutting at Dalton when he first arrived. Nick was the one that

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initially helped him get out of his black hole. He loved his boyfriend more than life itself, but sometimes, he just needed his best friend.

"Sup, B?" Nick answered cheerily.

Blaine took a deep breath to center himself and let the words fall from his lips. "My mom went to see Cooper last night and she told him that she loves me and misses me and now we're outside my uncle's house so that I can see her for the first time in close to three years." He said in one breath. "Oh, and apparently she left my father because he hit her when she tried talking to him about getting me back." Blaine heard Nick excuse himself from the group of boys he had been with before hearing a door open and then close. "Are you still in the Warbler hall?"

"Yeah, we were talking about Nationals." Nick replied as he made his way to the surely empty common room. "Back to what you were saying. Your mom wants to see you?"

Blaine sighed and rested his head on the seat. "Yeah. I guess she's sorry for what happened and doesn't actually hate me. She just didn't, doesn't, understand me and now she wants to try."

"That's a good thing, isn't it?" Nick asked cautiously.

"Yes?" Blaine replied unsurely. "I mean, it is but...I don't know. It's been so long since I've seen her, and even longer since we've spoken and I just...I don't know what to think, ya know? I don't know if she's being serious about wanting to fix things with me. What if she's wrong? What if she sees me and decides that I'm not worth the effort? What if-"

"Blaine, stop talking." Nick interrupted, his voice firm yet soft. "First of all, you are more than worth it, don't you ever forget that. Second, how can you know if she's serious or not without giving her a chance?" Blaine didn't respond but Nick knew he was mulling things over. "I'm not saying it'll be easy and I'm not saying there won't be tears or angry words, but the fact that she's the one that sought you out means something."

"So you think I should talk to her?" Blaine asked quietly, glancing towards the front door momentarily.

"I do, yeah." Nick replied truthfully. "She's your mom, Blaine. She's the woman who gave you birth. Again, working things out with her will be difficult I'm sure, but if she's willing to try, shouldn't you be too?"

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Blaine stayed quiet for a moment, contemplating Nick's words. He knew that Nick was right. He knew that if he ever wanted real answers, he would have to talk with his mother. He knew that if he ever wanted to move on from his demons, he needed closure. He knew that no matter what happened between him and his mother, talking to her was one step closer to healing. That didn't make the inevitable interaction any less worrisome.

"You're right. I-I should give her a chance, even if it'll be hard." Blaine said with a heavy sigh. "Thanks, Nick. I needed that reassurance."

"Of course, that's why I'm here." Nick said with a small smile. "And since you're so grateful and I'm such an awesome friend, you're totally going to thank me by going to the movies with me tomorrow." He said with a smirk, knowing full well what Blaine's reaction would be.

"Dude, no way!" Blaine exclaimed. "You've seen it like 100 times already!"

"I have not!" Nick argued. "I've only seen it 99 times, thank you very much." Blaine snorted a laugh and shook his head. "Come on, Blaine. No one else will go with me." Blaine could practically hear Nick pouting.

"Alright, fine. I'll go with you." Blaine replied, laughing at Nick's squeal of excitement. "Your love for Scarlett Johansson is bordering on unhealthy obsession, Nikolas."

"I can't help it. She's like...the most beautiful women on the planet." Nick replied dreamily.

Blaine rolled his eyes and chuckled. "Yeah, yeah, so you keep telling me."

"Do I need to bring up your unhealthy obsession with Gerard Butler?" Nick questioned.

"No, no. There's no need to bring him or his incredibly sexy accent into this conversation." Blaine said almost defensively, earning him a laugh from Nick. "Thanks again for talking to me, Nick. I needed that."

"Always, Blaine. Always." Nick replied smiling.

"I'm going to go. I'll talk to you later." Blaine said, his nerves much calmer than what they had been since he left Dalton.

"Later, B." Nick replied and hung up.

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Blaine sent Kurt a quick I love you text before stepping out of the car. He slowly made his way to the front door, his heartbeat increasing the closer he got. This is it. This is what I've wanted for years. I can do this. I. Can. Do. This. Blaine knocked softly on the front door before opening in and stepping in. The house was quiet, but he could hear the shuffling of feet in the nearby distance.

"Cooper?" Blaine called out tentatively.

"In here." Cooper replied from the dining room.

Blaine walked towards the dining room, his fingers subconsciously playing with the hem of his shirt. He walked into the room cautiously and stopped dead in tracks when he saw his mother. Or rather, when he saw how disheveled she looked. She was always so well put together, even during his darkest days. He hadn't expected her to look so fallen apart, so lost. It was surprisingly painful seeing the distress on her face. He had expected to feel anger the second he saw her, not sympathy.

"Hi." Blaine said just barely above a whisper.

"Hi." Julianne replied, her voice wavering. "Y-you look good."

"T-thanks." Blaine answered, swallowing the lump in his throat.

"Blaine," Julianne said as she took a step forward. "I am so, so sorry for what I've done. I-I should've been there for you but I wasn't a-and I'm just so sorry."

The small amount of courage Julianne had to speak with Blaine vanished and was replaced by regret and sorrow the instant the words left her lips. Tears streamed down her face, her body shaking uncontrollably. Blaine reacted without a second thought. He swiftly walked over to his mother and embraced her. Julianne wrapped her arms around her youngest son as her tears increased.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I love you so much, Blaine. I'm so sorry." Julianne murmured into Blaine's shoulder.

Blaine could only hold her tighter in response, his own tears streaming down his face. He hadn't realized just how much he missed his mother until that moment. The familiarity of her bodies warmth, the way she smelled, the way her arms wrapped around him. It both overwhelmed and comforted him. There was still a lot to discuss and they were by no means ok, but for the moment, Blaine needed to feel the love he thought was lost.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

Free At Last

It was late that Friday night when Blaine finally called Kurt. He had sent Kurt a text message shortly after the breakdown with his mother, stating that he was dealing with some family things and wouldn't be able to call him until later. Kurt had been worried at first, but didn't question it. He knew that Blaine was safe with Cooper, so instead of worrying, he occupied his time with his family. The Hudmels swapped stories of their week as they ate the delicious meal Carole had prepared before settling down in the living room to watch Thor. Once the movie was over, Carole and Burt headed off to bed while Finn and Kurt stayed up to play Call of Duty for a few hours.

It was just past midnight when Kurt finally made it to his room for the night. As he settled down for bed, he realized that Blaine had yet to call him. Not wanting to interrupt whatever Blaine was doing, he opted for a quick text.

Hey baby. I hope everything's ok with your family. Love you. xoxo – Kurt

Kurt connected his phone to the charger and set it on his bedside table before lying down. Only a few minutes passed before Blaine's ringtone rang out.

"Hey." Kurt greeted with a smile.

"Hey, babe." Blaine replied, his voice raw from crying. "Sorry for calling so late."

"No, no. It's ok." Kurt assured him, instantly worrying about his boyfriend. "Is everything alright?"

Blaine sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, his body tense from the stress of the night. "Yeah, everything's alright. We're over at my Uncle Peter's house. My mom's here."

Kurt sat up in his bed, giving Blaine his full attention. "Is that a good or bad thing?"

"Good thing actually." Blaine said, glancing behind him to see his mother and Cooper talking. He was sitting outside on the back patio and could clearly see Cooper tearing into his mother through the window. Cooper had just started talking about an incident that occurred right before he left for Egypt when Kurt had texted Blaine, and he was more than ready for a distraction. They were opening up old wounds that

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never fully healed and even though it hurt, Julianne was willing to hear her sons out. It was their first step to reconciling. "She wants to make things right with Coop and me. She even left my dad."

"Oh wow." Kurt said surprised.

"Yeah. It's been a long night and we've barely even scratched the surface." Blaine replied with a heavy sigh. A tap on the window caught his attention. He turned around to see Cooper frantically waving him in. "I have to go. Coop needs me. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

"Alright. I love you. Goodnight, Blaine." Kurt said, saddened that his phone call with Blaine was cut short.

"I love you too. Goodnight, Kurt." Blaine replied, just as sad. He ended the call, slid his phone back into his pocket, and walked back inside the house. "Sorry. I was saying goodnight to Kurt."

"Kurt?" Julianne questioned.

Blaine gave his mother a calculating look as he took a seat next to Cooper. "My boyfriend." He answered firmly, expecting her to make some sort of disapproving reaction. To his surprise, she simply sent him a small smile.

"That's nice. I'm glad you've found someone special." She replied quietly.

"Yes, yes. Kurt's special and amazing." Cooper cut in. "Back to the topic at hand. Blaine, when we went to the lake house the summer before I left, did she or did she not say that I would never make it as a writer?"

"That's not what I said." Julianne argued before Blaine had the chance to respond. "Yes you did!" Cooper nearly shouted. "Didn't she Blaine?"

Blaine glanced back and forth between his mother and brother and shrugged. "I don't know, Coop. I don't remember her actually saying that."

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Blaine rolled his eyes and recounted what he remembered from that day, inevitably sending the three into another discussion entirely. Despite the stress and old wounds being reopened, Blaine was grateful for the chance to air everything out.

Kurt had no explanation as to why it happened. He had no idea why his mind had decided to deliciously torture him the way it did. It made absolutely no sense to him. After ending his call with Blaine, he laid in bed for a while thinking about Blaine's family situation. He didn't know any details but he couldn't help but worry about Mrs. Anderson's sudden appearance. He didn't want her to stress Blaine to the point of nightmares, especially since they were finally letting up. He had fallen asleep thinking about Blaine and his family, hoping that Blaine was safe.

So then why did he have such an intense dream about his boyfriend? Why had his mind created the vivid, highly unlikely scenario? He should've been scared. He should've freaked out. Instead, he had been turned on to the point of coming in his sleep. Something was seriously wrong with him.

Kurt struggled to keep himself from drowning in pleasure. Blaine's touches were precise and planned, and Kurt was having a hard time not submitting. He was control freak, always had been. But between the tie wrapped around his mouth, the blindfold, and the restraints on his wrists, he had no choice but to let Blaine have his way with him. He whined as Blaine stretched him, his entire body aching for the intrusion. He wanted to scream. He wanted to let Blaine know just how good he felt. Since the makeshift gag prevented him from speaking though, he groaned loudly and enthusiastically as his body thrashed around.

"You are so gorgeous." Kurt heard Blaine whisper. "Gorgeous and mine." Kurt nodded frantically, his everything screaming "Yes Blaine. I'm yours."

Kurt pulled at the restraints as Blaine finally entered him. He felt Blaine's body lie on top of his but Blaine didn't move his hips. Kurt whined unashamedly, wanting, needing nothing more than to have Blaine pound into him. He felt Blaine's lips press kisses up his neck as his hands moved to remove the blindfold. The instant Kurt could see, he pleaded with his eyes for Blaine to remove the tie around his mouth. As Blaine slowly pulled out, he untied the knot and removed the tie before bucking his hips forward roughly. Kurt cried out in pleasure as Blaine thoroughly fucked him. Only when he was close to the edge did Blaine finally release Kurt's wrists. Kurt muttered incoherently as he fell over the edge, his love and trust for Blaine overflowing.

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"Yours. Only yours." Kurt mumbled into Blaine's neck. Blaine wrapped Kurt in his arms and whispered "You're mine" before Kurt woke up soaked in his cum.

Once Kurt was fully conscious and aware of what he dreamt, he did freak out. He couldn't understand how his imagination produced such a fantasy, especially after everything that happened to him with Karofsky. The fact that he had been bound with no control should've sent him into a panic, not turned him on. Why it turned him on, he didn't know. But he couldn't help but feel as though there was something seriously wrong with him because of it.

He spent most of his morning occupying himself at the garage with his dad. He hoped that working on the cars would help clear the confusion he felt from the dream. It didn't though. The more he thought about it, the more confused he became. He needed to sort his thoughts out before he went crazy so he called the one person he knew would understand. Sebastian.

Kurt waited in his living room anxiously. He had called Sebastian as soon as he left the garage and convinced him to drive out to his house that afternoon in order to talk. Finn was gone with Rachel, his dad was still at the garage, and Carole was working the late shift, leaving the house to himself. He was grateful for the privacy. The last thing he needed was for Finn or worse, his dad, to overhear their conversation.

"This better be damn important, Hummel." Sebastian said as soon as Kurt opened the front door for him. Kurt grabbed Sebastian's shirt, pulled him inside, and locked the front door before dragging Sebastian up to his room. "I know you want me Kurt but I don't think Thad will approve of you manhandling me." Sebastian teased.

"Will you just shut up?" Kurt snapped. "I so don't need your crap right now."

"You're the one who demanded that I come over and then dragged me up here like you're going to jump

my damn bones." Sebastian retorted as they entered Kurt's room.

Kurt ignored him, practically throwing Sebastian on the bed before finally letting go. Sebastian watched in amused confusion as Kurt closed his bedroom door. His usual put together self was replaced by a frantic mess and Sebastian couldn't help but want to laugh. Kurt climbed on top of his bed, placing his pillow in his lap, and held onto it protectively before speaking.

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"I need to talk to you but you have to promise not to make fun of me." He said firmly. Sebastian turned his body to face Kurt, tucking his legs underneath him, and rested his hands on his lap to show that he was listening, an amused grin playing at his lips. "I'm serious, Bastian." Sebastian forced his features to straighten out and waited. After a few moments of silent staring, Kurt took a deep breath and told Sebastian the dream.

Sebastian tried really hard not to let Kurt's dream get to him. He tried not to imagine the details of the dream. He tried not to imagine Kurt's naked body strapped down and helpless as Blaine took control. He tried not to replace Kurt and Blaine with Thad and himself. He really did try. But he was a teenage boy, a sexually driven one, and he could only try so much before his own imagination ran wild.

"You are such a perv, Bastian." Kurt groaned as Sebastian adjusted himself.

"You cannot tell me in detail a dream like that and expect me not to have some sort of reaction." Sebastian

defended. "That was hot, Kurt. Like, really hot."

"That's not the point!" Kurt exclaimed, his face burning with embarrassment and desire. "Ok then, what is the point?" Sebastian questioned.

"Don't you think this makes me crazy?" Kurt asked him. "After everything I've been through, how could I have a dream where I'm bound and gagged and like it? There is something seriously wrong with that picture."

Sebastian gave Kurt a look before shaking his head and rolling his eyes. "There's nothing wrong with you just because you enjoyed the idea of Blaine binding you."

"But-"

"No buts. You're a teenage boy with a smoking hot boyfriend who you love and trust. Why in the Hell would something be wrong with you for having a wet dream?" Sebastian asked seriously.

"Because I had no control, none." Kurt quickly answered. "I was completely powerless, Bastian. After everything with Karofsky, how could I dream something like that?"

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Sebastian was quiet for a moment. Something had to have happened to Kurt within the last 24 hours to make his subconscious feel safe enough to create such a dream. "What happened yesterday after Finn picked you up from school? Did you talk about anything involving Karofsky?" Kurt furrowed his eyebrows in confusing and nodded. "Ok, what did you talk about?"

Kurt huffed in irritation and told Sebastian the latest news on Karofsky. By the time he was done retelling Finn's and his conversation, Sebastian had a pretty good idea why Kurt had his dream.

"Did it ever occur to you that the reason you had that dream is because you finally feel safe?" Sebastian asked him. Kurt quirked his eyebrow at Sebastian but said nothing. "I'm serious. Think about it. Karofsky's gone, Kurt. He's gone and the fear you once had is gone. Plus, you have an amazing boyfriend who you know will never take advantage of you. The way I see it, that dream was more than just a sexy way to get off. It was your subconscious telling you that you're ready to truly move on. I'm not saying that you need to go ride Blaine's cock right this second."

"Bastian." Kurt whined, partly from Sebastian's comment but mostly from the sudden desire to do just that, ride Blaine.

Sebastian merely smirked and continued. "What I am saying is that you're probably ready for more. The only thing that's stopping you is you."

"But what about being bound? Surely that means that I'm mentally unstable or something." Kurt tried to argue.

"All that means is that your teenage hormones finally feel free to imagine all the dirty, kinky things it was too scared to imagine before." Sebastian retorted. "This isn't a bad thing, Kurt. Quit your bitchin' and enjoy the wonders BDSM has to offer."

Kurt turned scarlet and hid his face into his pillow, earning him a laugh from Sebastian. "You are enjoying my discomfort way too much. I don't know why I tell you these things."

"Because I'm your best friend." Sebastian replied proudly. "Clearly that was a mistake in my part." Kurt deadpanned.

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"And clearly you are just as much a freak in the sheets as I am." Sebastian smirked. "Thus why we get along so well."

Kurt smacked Sebastian with the pillow, only to have Sebastian practically pounce on him. Kurt screamed and laughed as Sebastian straddled him and tickled him mercilessly. Kurt flipped Sebastian over at one point and tickled him back. They struggled for dominance of the battle for a while, finally stopping when Finn yelled out that he was home. Realizing the time, Kurt ended his visit with Sebastian in order to get ready for the New Directions sleepover. Sebastian gave Kurt a few more words of encouragement before heading back to Dalton where he planned on letting Thad tie him up to the bedpost.

Shortly after Sebastian left, the New Directions showed up ready to have their sleepover. Finn ordered the group pizza while they settled down in the living room. Their only plan for the night was to spend as much time with Kurt as possible. They still felt bad about betraying his trust and they wanted to make it up to him desperately. Kurt didn't want them to try and win his affection however. He didn't want them to suddenly start acting overly sweet. He wanted his group of oddballs and delinquents to treat him like just another friend. He wanted the teasing from Santana and Puck about his relationship with Blaine. He wanted the overbearing annoyance that came solely from speaking with Rachel. He wanted everything to be normal again.

When the pizza arrived, Kurt took the opportunity of talking to the New Directions as a whole before his father came home.

"Yo, everybody shut up! Kurt's got something to say!" Santana yelled after Kurt's third attempt to quiet the group down. "The floor is yours, Porcelain."

"Thank you, Santana." Kurt said with a smile.

Out of everyone in the group, Quinn and Santana were the ones that Kurt talked to the most those days. Quinn's relationship with Jeff had strengthened tremendously in the passing weeks and she more often than not found herself sneaking out of Dalton with Jeff's and Kurt's help. Santana found herself almost craving Kurt's company. After seeing him at his worst and watching him rebuild himself, she couldn't help but feel proud, if not a little jealous. After her own unfortunate experience as a young girl, she never felt like her true self again. She had never really healed from her past, but merely pushed it down and used her

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anger as her strength. Being around Kurt and his confidence comforted her in a way she hadn't realized she needed. No one about what happened to her, not even Brittany. Lately, however, she felt the need to share her experience. Not with her lover, but with Kurt.

"Now, I know that you guys want to make things up to me," Kurt continued. "But I don't want you to treat me any different. That means that Noah, you need to stop texting me how awesome I am a thousand times a day."

"But it's so true! You are awesome!" Puck exclaimed.

"That may be but if you keep it up, I will not hesitate to smack the shit out of you." Kurt warned. Puck

pouted but nodded. "Mike and Artie-"

"Stop facebooking you all those links on how to learn to set up a security system?" Mike cut in.

"Yes." Kurt groaned, earning a few chuckles. "As for the rest of you, stop being so damn nice. It's weird. I feel like you're all walking on eggshells around me and I gotta be honest, it's really annoying. I am fine. Honestly. In fact, I'm better than ever. Quit coddling me and acting as though I'm going to break. I'm not. I want things to get back to normal but you have guys have to start treating me like diva bitch Kurt again, not used and abused Kurt. Got it?" Everyone muttered that they understood but before they could say anything else, Kurt continued. "Also, please know that I am not mad you guys. Yes, what you did was wrong and yes, I felt betrayed, but we wouldn't be the dysfunctional family that we are if we didn't constantly betray each other. I love this group just the way it is, the good and the bad."

"Don't forget the ugly." Rachel chimed in, glaring at Santana.

"Kurt didn't forget the ugly, manhands. After all, you're here ain't you?" Santana quipped. Rachel huffed in annoyance and looked away, missing the satisfied smile on Santana's face. Kurt couldn't even be upset with them for acting that way in the middle of his little speech. If anything he smiled fondly at the exchange. That is what his friends were like and that is what he wanted them to be.

"Moving on. I have an announcement and I'm sure that none of you are going to like it." Kurt said cautiously.

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"You're right, I'm not coming back to McKinley, this year or the next." The room instantly erupted in protests. "I know I told you I'd think about returning for senior year, but honestly I can't. Dalton is my home. I'm safe there and I have friends who need me to stay. I love you guys, but I need to be at Dalton."

"But you won't graduate with us!" Rachel tried to argue.

"I know that Rach but I can't leave the Warblers. I can't and I won't." Kurt said firmly. "We'll always be friends, but I need to stay at Dalton." The New Directions wanted to argue some more but the combined glares of Kurt, Santana, and Quinn stopped them. "Now, my dad will be home soon and I really don't want him to comment on how much more I'm eating. Someone please pass me the pizza so that I can stuff my face in peace."

"It's true though, Kurt. Ever since you started Dalton you've been eating like me." Finn said laughing.

"I live in a house with 29 other guys who are constantly stuffing their faces." Kurt defended as he took a

big bite of pizza. "I gotta be able to keep up or they'll make me wear The Hat." He said dramatically. "The Hat?" Mercedes asked bemused.

"Mhm." Kurt nodded as he swallowed. "They have eating contests all the time and the loser is forced to wear this huge hideous hat all day. And I'm talking Rachel Berry reindeer sweater hideous."

"Hey!" Rachel exclaimed as the group laughed.

"That doesn't sound that bad, Kurt." Tina said. "So you wear an ugly hat for the day. So what?"

Quinn and Kurt exchanged looks. She knew of The Hat because she witnessed one of Jeff's rare loses. "It's not just an ugly hat, Tina. This thing was made by the devil himself. It even weighs like 100 lbs."

"How can a hat weigh 100 lbs.?" Artie asked.

Kurt and Quinn took turns explaining how truly horrendous the hat was. Kurt even had Nick send him a picture text of it just to prove his point. By the time Burt walked through the door, the New Directions had moved on from talking about the hat and were loudly arguing over which movie to watch. Burt watched in amusement as Finn and Kurt wrestled for the remote while the others shouted all around them. It was good to have his son back.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

Always A Warbler

Early Sunday morning, as Blaine packed his things for school, his thoughts were consumed by the passing day's events. His mother loved him. She wanted him. She missed him. Blaine couldn't help but smile at the thought. Yes, they had a lot to work through and yes, he still felt betrayed by her. But the fact that she was willing to work things out, despite her confusion about his sexuality, meant more to him than he thought possible. He knew it wouldn't be easy. He knew that rebuilding the relationship would be difficult, but he wanted to fight for it. He wanted to fix things. He wanted his mother back, more than he cared to admit.

Cooper, Julianne, and Blaine spent all Friday night and all day Saturday talking about everything and anything. They fought and cried over issues that were never resolved, they laughed at the happy memories, and they discussed their shared hatred for Nathan. They stripped their souls bare and broke down their walls completely. Now it was time to start rebuilding their relationship from the ground up. Blaine and Cooper had to relearn to trust their mother and Julianne had to learn the world was not black and white. They had rough times ahead, but they believed that together, they could work it out.

Blaine zipped his backpack closed, hung it on his back, and walked out of his room ready to spend his Sunday with the love of his life. Between the upcoming Nationals competition and his family drama which would inevitably worsen before it got better, Blaine knew that his time with Kurt would be limited. While they were often together, they were usually too stressed or too tired to be intimate and Blaine missed his boyfriend's affections terribly.

"You leaving already, Squirt?" Cooper asked sadly when Blaine entered the kitchen. "We were hoping you'd have breakfast with us."

Blaine gave his brother, mother, and grandmother a small, apologetic smile and shook his head. "It's a long drive to Lima, Coop."

"Thus why you should have breakfast before you go." Cooper pointed out.

"I already cancelled my movie plans with Nick yesterday. I'm not cancelling on Kurt." Blaine replied, knowing that Cooper was trying to guilt him into staying.

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"But you're not cancelling. You're simply pushing them back for a little while." Cooper said with a pout, making Blaine roll his eyes.

"Let him go, Cooper." Grams said, swatting Cooper's arm fondly. "He's had a long weekend."

Cooper crossed his arms and sighed. "Fine. If you don't want to have a lovely breakfast with your family then by all means, go. It's not like I care."

"Don't be so dramatic, Coop." Blaine replied, a smirk playing at his lips.

Cooper gasped loudly and held his chest, turning away from Blaine. "I am no such thing. I'm appalled that you don't believe my sincerity."

"Yeah, sure." Blaine replied with a scoff. "I need to go. I'll see you Sunday for dinner?"

"Yes, yes. Go. We'll see you Sunday." Cooper said, waving his hand dismissively.

Blaine hugged his grandmother and brother goodbye before turning his attention to his mother. He smiled softly at her before pulling her into an embrace. "I love you, son." She whispered in his ear. Blaine hugged her a little tighter in response and kissed her cheek lightly before parting.

"Drive safe. Tell Kurt I said hi." Cooper called out as Blaine left the kitchen.

"I will." Blaine shouted back and walked out of the house, feeling happier than he had been in a long time.

Kurt was in the kitchen cooking Blaine breakfast when Santana approached him. Most of the New Directions had already gone home and Kurt was more than ready for his date with Blaine. He had woken up early, gotten ready quickly, and packed their lunch for the park before his friends were even awake. Santana knew that once Blaine arrived, she would lose her chance to talk with Kurt. She decided to talk him privately while she could.

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Kurt glanced at the clock on the microwave and continued to cook. "He should be here in a few minutes." Santana nodded mutely and leaned up against the kitchen counter, her arms wrapped across her chest. "Everything ok?"

"Of course. Why wouldn't it be?" Santana shrugged, her eyes downcast.

Kurt watched her for a moment before turning the stove off and plating Blaine's food. "Tana, you know can tell me." Kurt replied gently as he walked over to her. Santana said nothing as Kurt wrapped an arm around her waist. She looked up at Kurt, her eyes glistening with unshed tears. Kurt was shocked by the pure vulnerability in her eyes. "Santana?"

Santana opened her mouth to talk but stopped when Blaine's car came into view through the kitchen window. She attempted to move away from Kurt but he held her still, giving her his signature 'you aren't going anywhere until you tell me what's wrong' bitch look.

"You think we could have a sleepover soon, just you and me?" She asked him quietly just as the doorbell rang.

"Sure, but it'll have to wait until after Nationals." Kurt replied, concern evident. "Wes will kill me if I try and leave campus for more than a couple of hours." Santana gave him a small smile and nodded. "Are you sure everything's ok?"

"I'm sure." Santana assured him, straightening up when Blaine walked into the kitchen. "I'm going to go before you two make me vomit with all your adorable gay unicorns."

"We haven't even done anything remotely cute." Kurt argued as she walked away.

"The adoring look in Frodo's eyes is enough." Santana quipped, sending Blaine a wink before disappearing into the living room.

"It's nice to see you too, Santana." Blaine called out, shaking his head. "Good morning, gorgeous." He directed at Kurt, closing the space between them.

Kurt smiled and wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck. "Good morning, my handsome prince." Blaine rolled his eyes playfully but blushed lightly nonetheless. "Would you like coffee or orange juice with your

breakfast?"

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"I'll take some orange juice." Blaine replied as he leaned in. "But not before my good morning kiss." Kurt's smile widened before Blaine's lips met his in a surprisingly heated kiss. Blaine took complete control, his hands holding Kurt possessively. Kurt couldn't help but whine into the kiss. It had been entirely too long since they'd kiss that passionately.

The clearing of Burt's throat broke the boys apart, both blushing furiously. "Good morning, Blaine." Burt greeted with an amused smile.

"Good morning, Burt." Blaine smiled, taking a seat at the island while Kurt set his plate down in front of him.

"How come he gets a special breakfast and I have to eat that disgusting oatmeal?" Burt grumbled. Kurt glared at his dad and Blaine bit his lip to prevent himself from laughing.

"Your oatmeal was not disgusting, Dad. I even let you add cinnamon. Don't make me regret that decision." Kurt warned. Burt pouted dramatically and Blaine couldn't stop the laugh that escaped. Watching Burt and Kurt argue over food was always entertaining. "Don't make me take your bacon away, Anderson." Blaine immediately stopped laughing and looked down at his plate, reaching for his bacon before Kurt did indeed take it away. Burt shook his head and chuckled. They may be young, but Burt knew that Blaine was the one for his son. They reminded him of Lizzy and himself more and more each day, and he was genuinely glad that they found each other.

Once Blaine finished his breakfast, he helped Kurt pack his car with what they needed for their picnic, and headed out. Kurt watched Blaine curiously throughout the drive to the park. They had yet to talk about Julianne's return and Kurt couldn't stop from wondering if everything was ok. He had to admit that Blaine looked really happy. There was a twinkle in his eyes that had never been there before which made Kurt's worries melt away. He decided to wait until they were at the park to ask Blaine about it though, just in case something was wrong.

It was early afternoon by the time they arrived, so quickly found a picnic table and dove into the sandwiches Kurt had prepared for them. They talked about Nationals and school while they ate, both sharing how excited they were about the new song choices. While the one The Wanted song they chose

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was a solo, the two One Direction songs had been divided into five parts per Blaine's request. He didn't want to lead the Warblers to victory. He wanted them to win together as whole unit.

Once they were done eating, Kurt set up his portable speakers, attached his iPod, and chose the playlist containing all of their favorite songs while Blaine settled himself up against the tree. Kurt slipped in- between Blaine's legs and rested his head on Blaine's shoulder as Blaine wrapped his around Kurt's torso.

"Finn and I talked about Karofsky when he picked me up Friday." Kurt said after a few moments of silence. Blaine's head perked up at the mention of Kurt's tormentor, instantly worried.

"What did Finn have to say?" Blaine asked.

"Not much." Kurt shrugged. "According to what he's heard, Karofsky's dad put him in therapy because of what he did to me."

"Really? That's rather specific." Blaine commented. "Does the whole school know and that's how Finn heard or?"

"Brittany talked to Karofsky's cousin, a freshman girl, and I guess she told Britt what was going on. I don't think that the school knows what he did to me, but Finn said the football team is practically bathing her in slushies every day because of what happened at the party." Kurt said, sighing sadly.

"The lack of authority at that school is astounding." Blaine said shaking his head. "I'm so glad you aren't going back next year, even if Karofsky is gone."

Kurt turned his head to look at Blaine, a small smile gracing his lips. "Me too. I'd miss you too much if I didn't get to see you every day." Blaine kissed Kurt's forehead and tightened his hold on Kurt.

"What was going on with Santana this morning?" Blaine asked. "It seemed like I walked in on something."

"I'm not really sure what's going with her." Kurt shrugged. "She's been oddly sincere this past month. She wants to have a sleepover with just me after we get back with Nationals. I don't know what to think about that. She's always kept people at arm's length, except for Britt, but lately she's been very open with me."

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"You know, I was talking to Bastian the other night when Jeff and you snuck Santana and Quinn out of the dorms, and he...umm...he has a theory about her." Blaine said cautiously, unsure of how Kurt might take Sebastian's remarks.

Kurt turned his body slightly to look at Blaine, a serious expression on his face. "What did Bastian say?"

"He sees a lot of himself and you in her." Blaine told him hesitantly.

"What does he mean by that?" Kurt asked bemused.

Blaine bit his lip with worry, wondering if maybe bringing this up had been a mistake, but now that he started, he didn't feel that he could go back. "He thinks that she's maybe been hurt too. Like you and him."

Kurt just stared at him and then suddenly it clicked. "You mean Bastian's thinks she's been raped?" he asked wide-eyed. Blaine merely shrugged in response. "Why the hell would he say that? Does he even know Santana? She would cut a man's dick off if he even contemplated using her!"

"Yeah, now she would. But maybe something happened to her when she was little?" Blaine suggested.

Kurt thought back to the fiery Latina, unable to picture her in any kind of powerless state, and shook his

head. "No. There's no way. You guys don't know Santana like I do. There's just no way."

"I'm not saying he's right, Kurt." Blaine quickly amended, not wanting to upset his boyfriend. "I'm just telling you what he told me. I don't even think he meant to say anything."

Kurt huffed and turned away from Blaine. "I need to talk to Bastian." Blaine nodded and rested his head against Kurt's. He hadn't meant to say anything about what Sebastian told him, but after the soft moment he witnessed that morning between Kurt and Santana, he was starting to think that maybe Sebastian was right.

They stayed quiet for a short while after that, relaxing back into just enjoying the cool weather and the breeze. When Blaine started humming softly to the song that was playing, Kurt turned to look at him once more. "So, how was your weekend with your family?" he asked gently.

Blaine glanced at Kurt and smiled. "It was really nice actually. Intense but nice." Kurt raised an eyebrow, unsatisfied with the answer, and waited for Blaine to continue. Blaine sighed and leaned his head against

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the tree. "My mom wants to make things better with Cooper and me. We were up all night Friday just talking about every possible issue we never resolved, and then she and I spent all day Saturday talking about why things happened the way they did after Cooper left. We yelled some and we cried a lot but it was nice getting everything out in the open, ya know? It was very freeing. We're going to start having weekly dinners together and she's even started going to PFLAG meetings. She's been talking to a counselor about me and what she put me through. She really wants to try and fix this, and I'm going to try with her."

"I'm really glad to hear that." Kurt replied, relieved that nothing went wrong. "What happens now with your dad?"

"Well, she's filed for divorce but she knows that he is going to make things difficult for her. Cooper and his P.I. friend are going to investigate him and see what they could find as blackmail." Blaine said with a devious smile. He couldn't wait until all of his father's skeletons were out of the closet.

"Blackmail?" Kurt questioned.

"Mhm." Blaine nodded. "Depending on what they find, Dad could be more inclined to settle the divorce more fairly. Knowing my father, he'll make every attempt to be sure that Mom doesn't see a single penny of his money. Cooper doesn't want that to happen. She's been through enough."

"What about you and your dad? What's the plan there?" Kurt asked.

"Cooper wants to wait until after finals to confront him and we're going to do it together, the three of us. His lawyer Debra told him that the best option would be for me to get an Order of Protection from the court. That way, he has to legally stay away from me but he doesn't get out of his responsibilities for paying child support and for my education. I really could care less about the money but Cooper insists that it was the smartest choice." Blaine said with a heavy sigh.

"And until then?" Kurt asked, worried that Blaine's father would try and get to Blaine before everything was settled.

"Until then, I take it one day at a time." Blaine shrugged. "I'm not going to let him control me, Kurt. I'm not

going to let him win."

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Kurt nodded and settled back into Blaine's arms. "I just don't want something to happen before you're ready to confront him."

"I know. Me neither." Blaine replied. He shifted slightly behind Kurt and hugged him closer. "I don't want to talk about him anymore. I just want to sit here and enjoy the beautiful day with my wonderful, loving boyfriend." Blaine kissed the crook of Kurt's neck, making him giggle, and started humming along with the music once more.

An hour passed before both boys decided to head back to Dalton. They still had a bit of a drive ahead of them and they wanted as much alone time as they could get before their friends inevitably tore them away from their room. The first half of the drive was filled with laughter and music as they sang along to the radio, but the closer they got to Dalton, the more excited they became. Kurt kept sending Blaine seductive glances and Blaine sent shy ones in return. Despite everything that Kurt had experienced, he didn't shy away from being intimate with Blaine.

Being friends with Sebastian boosted his sexual confidence as well. Sebastian had no shame in telling Kurt, in detail, the sexual adventures between Thad and him, leaving out only the most intimate details. Kurt, of course, would act like a blushing virgin throughout their conversations, but he soaked up the information like a sponge, wanting to learn as much as he could. One of the conversations they had involved Sebastian telling him all the wonders of shower sex, and Kurt planned on making his own shower sex memories when they got back to Dalton.

Blaine knew that he was in for one hell of an afternoon as soon as he parked his car. Before he even turned off the engine, Kurt grabbed him by the collar and smashed their mouths together. Blaine moaned in surprise, but soon melted into the kiss. He loved it when Kurt took control and he couldn't wait to see what his boyfriend had in store for him.

"I'll wait for you in the shower." Kurt murmured against Blaine's lips before grabbing his things and quickly exiting the car. Blaine watched him walk into the school in a daze, his pants suddenly tightening at the realization of what Kurt said. He laughed nervously as he turned the car off, grabbed his things, and hurried in after Kurt.

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When Blaine walked into their room, he could hear the shower running mixed with Kurt's singing. He stuck his head out of the room, checking the hallways to make sure that no one was around before closing and locking the door. He took his time getting undressed, unable to stop the sudden shyness he felt. They had never showered together and he had been wondering for a while now when they would share the experience. With a deep breath, Blaine removed his boxers and walked into the bathroom.

Kurt was just as nervous as Blaine. The shower may have been his idea, but he was still a little self- conscious about it. He wanted them both to have an enjoyable experience and hoped that he would be able to pull it off. When he heard the bathroom door open and then close, he let his fears slip away and concentrated on his current objective.

"Hello, Blaine." Kurt said, using his lower register, knowing that it drove Blaine crazy. Kurt felt a small draft from the shower door being opened, followed by a quiet, sharp intake of breath. He turned around to face Blaine, a satisfied smile tugging at his lips when he saw Blaine's eyes roaming his body.

"I swear sometimes I forget how gorgeous you are." Blaine breathed out, his eyes landing on Kurt's.

Kurt closed the space between them, his lower lip caught in-between his teeth. He let his eyes roam down Blaine's body, his arousal increasing at the sight of his boyfriend's length. If anyone was gorgeous, it was the breathtaking boy in front of him. "Turn around." Kurt commanded, surprising even himself by the tone of his voice.

Blaine all but whimpered as he turned around. Kurt trailed his fingers down Blaine's back, making Blaine shiver. He leaned forward, placed his hands on Blaine's hips, and started kissing the back of Blaine's neck lightly. Blaine closed his eyes, resting his head back on Kurt's shoulder, and slowly stroked himself. Kurt stopped kissing Blaine's neck and watched his movements, transfixed for a moment. Watching Blaine touch himself was at the top of his, 'things I'll never get over' list and he never wanted to get over it. Remembering the task at hand, Kurt alternated between kissing and sucking Blaine's back as his hand reached around Blaine's torso.

Kurt slowly made his way down, removing Blaine's hand and taking Blaine's erection firmly in his hands. "You're so beautiful." He murmured against Blaine's skin.

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"Kurt." Blaine moaned softly.

Kurt stroked Blaine slowly until he was kneeling on the bathtub tiles. "You might want to hold yourself up, baby." Kurt told him.

Without further warning, Kurt licked down Blaine's crack, smiling to himself when he heard Blaine's mumbled response. Kurt had originally found the idea of rimming unappealing, but after one of his talks with Sebastian, he couldn't help but wonder what it was like. As he slid his tongue inside Blaine, he was rewarded with the most delicious sounds of want. If those were the noises Blaine would make from being rimmed, then he would need to do it way more often. Blaine tried his best not to be too loud. He tried his best to keep composure. But the deeper Kurt's tongue went, the less coherent he became. He knew Kurt was up to something mischievous from the glances he received in the car, but he certainly hadn't expected this.

"You know, I had a dream about us the other night." Kurt said as he slowly stood up, kissing Blaine's back in the process.

"Oh?" Blaine questioned, his hands still holding himself up, his breathing labored.

"Mhm." Kurt nodded as he slid two fingers inside Blaine to finish stretching him. Blaine threw his head back, moaning loudly. "Would you like me to tell you about it?" Blaine nodded, unable to speak. "I'm tied up, blindfolded, gagged, and you..." Kurt trailed off as he added a third finger.

"And I what?" Blaine asked in-between his moans.

Kurt angled his fingers to brush against that spot, earning him a guttural moan from Blaine, before removing his fingers entirely. Blaine whined at the loss but then moaned once more when Kurt began to stroke him slowly. He pressed his chest against Blaine's back, slotting his throbbing erection in Blaine's crack, and spoke directly in his ear. "You took complete control and fucked me so hard that I came in my sleep."

"Kurt." Blaine groaned.

"I want that, Blaine. I want you to take me and control me. Will you do that for me? Will you tie me up,

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"Yes! God, yes!" Blaine replied, already close to edge.

"Good, because I really want you to." Kurt said, removing his hand from Blaine's length. "One day soon, I'll let you. But for now," Kurt turned Blaine around, practically slamming him against the shower wall. "for now, I want to fuck you against this wall." Blaine nodded fervently, needing to release.

Kurt kissed him hard, his hands trailing down Blaine's thighs, and gripping them roughly. Realizing what Kurt was doing, Blaine stood on his toes and allowed Kurt to lift him. It took them a moment to adjust to the position, but soon Blaine's legs were wrapped around Kurt's torso, his arms wrapped around Kurt's neck and holding him tightly. Kurt maneuvered them carefully, slowly entering Blaine. Once he was fully inside, he pulled back and thrust in. Blaine all but screamed at the sheer pleasure of it all. If anyone was in the halls, they were sure to hear his cries. Kurt thrust in and out slowly, not wanting to hurt Blaine from their position and enjoying their closeness. Nothing else in the world mattered but Blaine and their love.

"So close. So close." Blaine moaned into Kurt's shoulder.

Kurt sped his movements up slightly, making sure to hit that spot. A few more thrusts later, Blaine mewled as his seed spilled over. Kurt came a few seconds after with Blaine's name falling from his lips. They stayed as one, wrapped in one another's embrace until their senses returned to them. As Kurt pulled out, Blaine unwrapped his legs from Kurt's torso. As soon as his legs found their balance, he leaned up against the wall, his eyes closed, and laughed softly.

"That was...wow." Blaine breathed out.

Kurt let out his own laugh and nodded. "It was."

Blaine opened his eyes and looked at Kurt with pure love and adoration. "I love you so much, Kurt. More than anyone in the entire world."

Despite what they just did, Kurt couldn't help but blush at the comment. "How do you manage to constantly make me swoon?"

Blaine grinned widely and pulled Kurt's body so they were flush together. "It's the dapper Mr. Anderson

effect."

Kurt giggled and shook his head. "I love you."

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They kissed for a short while before washing each other's body and getting out of the shower. They both redressed in Dalton sweats and walked over to the common room where David, Sebastian, Thad, and Nick were hanging out. As soon as Sebastian saw them, he stood up from where he was sitting and started clapping.

"Here they come. Dalton's very own shower porn stars." Sebastian teased, earning him a laugh from the others. Blaine looked away bashfully and Kurt glared at him.

"Right, this coming from the guy who has had sex in like, every corner of the school." Kurt scoffed as he and Blaine took a seat on the loveseat.

"That's right and damn proud." Sebastian quipped, sending Thad a wink who was now blushing.

"You know, if I didn't love you so much, I'd be appalled by your behavior." Nick teased Blaine, making his blush deepen.

"So Kurt, does Blaine blush this much when you're screwing or is it just after?" David then asked with a giggle.

"You two are just jealous." Kurt retorted, his own blush creeping up his cheeks.

"Are not." David scoffed.

"Don't worry, David. I'm sure if you ask Wes nicely, he'll let you take a shower with him." Sebastian said with a smirk. David glared at him and crossed his arms, annoyed at the fact that no one ever believed his relationship with Wes was platonic. So what if they tended to fall asleep together whenever they watched a movie? Wes was his best friend after all. There was nothing wrong with movie time cuddles with the person you trusted wholeheartedly. He would miss his best friend dearly when he moved away for college.

Kurt and Blaine spent the rest of the evening wrapped up on the couch and talking with their fellow Warblers as they ushered in from their weekend at home. They joked and teased one another, they talked about Nationals, and they planned out study groups for their upcoming exams. Kurt smiled at his friends fondly as Beatz chased David around the common room with a spider he caught in a cup. Choosing to stay

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at Dalton for his senior year was the best choice he made. He could never leave his Warbler brothers behind. Once a Warbler, always a Warbler.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

Nationals!

The following three weeks were nothing short of intense for the Warblers. Between Nationals, finals, and graduation looming, they were up to their necks in work. If they weren't studying for exams, they were rehearsing for Nationals. The schedule Wes had created gave them little time to relax but they didn't complain. Their determination to become National Champions drove them to work harder than they ever had, and Wes was incredibly proud of them. He didn't want to get his hopes up, but the energy and passion the boys delivered throughout their performance was enough to convince him that they may actually win the competition.

Blaine completely immersed himself in the music. After his emotional weekend home, he had a renewed sense of faith which carried over into his performance. He was singing with more passion, he was smiling more enthusiastically, and for the first time in years, he was genuinely happy. Between his ever growing love for Kurt and the return of his family, Blaine was overjoyed. He refused to be the victim anymore. He refused to let his father's hatred control him and he refused to fall into the darkness again. Kurt couldn't be prouder of his boyfriend. His initial worry of Mrs. Anderson's return dissipated that first week when he saw just how happy Blaine truly was. Things were finally looking up and they hoped nothing derailed them again.

Cooper was on edge the entire three weeks before Nationals. The P.I. he had hired was having difficulties finding dirt on Nathan, and Cooper hated how quiet his father had been recently. He had expected his father to try and get ahold of his mother but not even a single call was received. He worried that his father was up to something and he was determined to find out what it was. The one good thing that came from Nathan's unusual silence was that it gave Julianne more time to get her affairs in order. Nathan had yet to file the divorce papers and she knew that it was because he was waiting for her to return. She knew that he believed she would be lost without him so he saw no point in signing the papers.

Despite Cooper's worries, Julianne was grateful for her husband's current absence. It gave her the opportunity to figure out what she wanted to do. More importantly, it gave her the chance to get to know her sons again. Cooper and Blaine meant everything to her and she would do anything to keep them in her life.

"Mom, are you ready to go?" Cooper asked from Julianne's bedroom doorway. It was the day before Nationals and they were both flying up to New York with the Warblers as chaperones.

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"Yes, I'm ready." She answered quietly, though she made no movement towards the door.

"Are you ok?" Cooper asked with concern. Julianne gave him a small smile and nodded. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure." Julianne lied.

Cooper walked across the room, his head tilted to the side in curiosity. "What's wrong, Mom? And don't tell me it's nothing because I know you're lying."

Julianne hesitated for a moment before sighing and looking away from her eldest son. "Are you sure Blaine wants me to go to his competition?"

"Of course. He did ask you to come along." Cooper pointed out.

"I know. I just...what if he only asked because he felt sorry for me or something?" Julianne questioned.

"He didn't. He asked you because he wants you to go. He wants you there to support him." Cooper replied softly. "What's this really about? I thought you were excited to go."

"I am." Julianne assured him. "It's just...Kurt's going to be there."

Cooper narrowed his eyes and stiffened instantly at the mention of Kurt. "Yeah, and?"

"What if he doesn't like me? What if he doesn't believe that I'm really there to support Blaine? I know it's silly of me to worry about what a teenage boy thinks but...he's a big part of Blaine's life. He means everything to Blaine and I don't want to mess anything up." Julianne admitted sadly.

Cooper's face softened, a comforting smile playing at his lips. "I won't say that Kurt won't have some reservations at first because he probably will. But you mean a lot to Blaine Mom, much more than you know, and Kurt will want to get along with you. If anything, he's freaking out right now because he's worried that you won't like him."

"Of course I like him. How could I not? Have you seen the way your brother's face lights up whenever he talks about Kurt? I could never dislike the person who brings forth such joy in my son." Julianne replied

softly.

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"Then stop worrying about it. Just be yourself and stop overthinking everything. It's going to be fine." Cooper assured her. Julianne sighed and nodded. She couldn't let her worries control her. She needed to be strong for her son and meeting the boy who stole Blaine's heart was the next big step in their relationship. "Now, we need to head out before we're late. I don't want to feel the wrath of Wes." Julianne laughed lightly as Cooper grabbed her suitcase. "You think I'm kidding but I'm totally not. That kid can get scary." Julianne simply shook her head and followed her son out, anxious for the weekend to begin.

Burt leaned up against the wall in the Warbler rehearsal hall as the boys scrambled about, his thoughts recalling the day he first walked into Dalton. He remembered how worried he had been about Kurt and how much he prayed that Dalton would be his salvation. He could still clearly see the lost broken boy his son had become and it pained him to think of the torture Kurt had been put through. He knew that Kurt lied about what really happened at McKinley. He knew that something truly horrific had to have occurred for his strong-willed son to take such drastic measures. But he had yet to confront Kurt about it. He didn't want to bring forth any stress on his son, especially now that he was doing so well. Once school was over, however, they were going to have an adult talk whether Kurt wanted to have it or not.

"Burt." The sound of Cooper's voice broke his reverie. Burt straightened himself out and walked over to his future-in-laws direction. He had to control the laugh that wanted to escape. He could see Kurt scolding him for such a thought but he was certain that it was an inevitable future.

"Hey there, Cooper. It's good to see you." Burt greeted, shaking Cooper's hand before turning his attention to Julianne. "Mrs. Anderson I presume?"

"I am. Please call me Julianne." She replied with a smile. "Cooper tells me you're Kurt's father?"

"That I am and damn proud." Burt said with a laugh. "I'm proud of that boy of yours too. He's been real good to my son."

"Well from what I heard, Kurt's been just as good to Blaine." Julianne replied as Blaine and Kurt entered the hall, Blaine's arm wrapped around Kurt's torso and Kurt's arm draped over his shoulders.

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Burt snorted a laugh and shook his head. "I'm pretty sure they share the same brain at this point. That's too bad for them because next year they will not be sharing a dorm room."

"And you get to be the cool dad that tells them that." Cooper laughed.

"You just don't want to lose your 'Awesome Big Brother' title." Julianne teased. "Damn right." Cooper said with a scoff.

Just then, Blaine turned his head in their direction, smiling broadly when he saw them. "Kurt, your dad's talking with Cooper and my mom." He said excitedly. Seeing them together, knowing they were there to support them, fueled his desire to win.

Kurt turned his attention over to his dad just as he laughed at something Cooper said. "Your mom is very beautiful." He replied quietly. He was extremely nervous about meeting Blaine's mother but seeing his father interact with her eased his worries a bit.

"Yeah, she really is. I'm so glad she's here." Blaine said, his face lighting up brighter than a Christmas tree.

Kurt smiled back lovingly, gently squeezing Blaine's hand. "Me too."

Within the next five minutes, the rest of the Warblers and the other chaperones arrived, just in time for Wes' pep-talk. Wes was oddly calm while the rest of the boys talked excitedly amongst themselves. He was sure it was because of how confidant he felt. David however, knew that it was merely the calm before the storm. He was certain that as soon Wes woke up tomorrow, he'd be running around and panicking over the slightest things.

"Attention Warblers." Wes called out from the center of the room. Every Warbler stopped what they were doing and gave Wes their full attention. "We have a few things to discuss before we head out. First and foremost, you will behave like gentleman this weekend. No running off, no sneaking out, and absolutely no drinking. I don't care what the other choirs are doing. We are Dalton men and we will not tarnish our reputation because the cute show choir girl down the hall invited you over for a good time." He said sternly, his eyes landing on the Warbler boys who often broke the rules for a girl.

"We will go to bed early tonight and we will wake up by sunrise to have one final rehearsal before heading out. We're one of the first groups to perform and I expect each one of you be completely prepared. Mrs.

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Orion and Mr. Williams, you will be in charge of the freshman and sophomore boys. Mr. Hummel, Mrs. Anderson, and Cooper, you will be in charge of the juniors and seniors. It is just as important for you to follow my schedule as it is for the boys. We may need you to do something at any given time, so please try and keep up with us. Now, as far as the hotel rooms go, your assigned room is your assigned room. There will be no switching so suck it up."

As Wes handed out the room assignments, Julianne grabbed Cooper's arm, brought him closer, and whispered in his ear. "Why is it that he's the one stating the rules and not the dean?" she asked, glancing over towards Ms. Morrison who was silently watching in the background.

"Dalton's different, Mom. They teach the boys how to govern themselves and they trust them enough to let them. Wes is the head of the council. His word is law." Cooper replied with a small laugh. Julianne nodded but said nothing, turning her attention back on Wes.

"There's one final thing I need to say and then we can head out." Wes told the group after handing out the room assignments. "I have never been prouder of you guys than I am right now. These last three weeks have been grueling and not once did any of you complain, not once did any of you go against the set schedule. You've all worked incredibly hard and you should proud of yourselves for it. This is the last year for some of us so let's end it with a bang. When we perform tomorrow, give it your best and leave your heart on the stage. It does not matter if we win or lose. We are brothers, we are one, and nothing is going to change that."

The Warblers glanced at each other, all wearing the same proud smile. "Let me get an, OH YEAH!" Blaine called out.

"OH YEAH!" The Warblers called back.

Wes beamed at his fellow Warblers. Nothing could ever compare to the pride and devotion he felt towards them. He would miss their camaraderie greatly once he graduated. "Alright. The buses should be loaded. Let's move out."

The Warblers quickly dispersed, their excitement for competition making them giddy. As the boys exited the hall, Blaine ushered Kurt over to where their family was standing. He was dying for Kurt to meet his mother. He knew that it would most likely be awkward at first and he wanted them both to enjoy the trip, not worry over what the other was thinking.

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"That was some speech there. He's not practicing for his presidential speeches already is he?" Cooper said laughing as soon as Blaine and Kurt were in earshot.

"Naw. President's don't use gavels nearly enough for Wes' liking." Blaine joked as he glanced over at Wes and David. Wes was trying to take his gavel with him and David was desperately trying to pry it out of his hands. "I'm sure he'll be a Supreme Court judge one day though."

"Yeah, if he doesn't give himself an aneurysm first." Kurt snorted as he gave his father a greeting hug.

"Definitely." Blaine laughed as he turned his attention towards his mother. "Mom, this is my boyfriend Kurt. Kurt, this is my mom."

Kurt turned his attention over to Mrs. Anderson, a shy smile playing at his lips. "It's nice to finally meet you, Mrs. Anderson."

"It's nice to finally meet you too, Kurt. Blaine never shuts up about you." Julianne replied, smirking at the way Blaine whined in embarrassment.

"All good things I hope." Kurt said, glancing over at Blaine who was blushing.

"Always my dear." Blaine replied before leaning over and kissing Kurt's cheek lightly. All three adults smiled sweetly at the two boys, unable to contain themselves. There was something magical about their relationship and there really was no denying how deep their love went. "Let's get out to the buses before Wes has a fit."

"Yes, let's." Cooper said, swiftly squeezing in between the boys, draping his arms over both their shoulders, and ushering them out of the building with Burt and Julianne close behind.

The bus ride to the airport and the plane ride to New York was loud, obnoxiously so. Once they were officially on their way, the boys could no longer contain their excitement. On the freshman and sophomore bus, the chaperones struggled to keep the boys quiet and eventually gave up, knowing that they were too anxious to calm down. On the junior and senior bus, however, Cooper was the one initiating the crazy. When Wes pulled him aside about it, he simply stated that it was better for the boys for get it out of there

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systems before arriving at New York. Wes disgruntledly agreed and soon enough, he was laughing along with his friends.

While Cooper and even Burt joined in with the boys, Julianne watched her son. She couldn't remember the last time she'd seen him smile that much. She couldn't remember the last time she'd heard him laugh. She watched Blaine as he conversed with his friends and with Kurt, noticing the utter devotion in his eyes. She knew that Blaine was in love with Kurt but actually seeing them interact was a little mind boggling. In a lot of ways, she still saw Blaine as her little boy. Seeing him as someone's boyfriend made her realize that he was no longer a little boy but practically a grown man. She hated herself for missing all those years of his youth but she was determined to make up for lost time.

As soon as the plane landed, Wes was back to barking orders and organizing the boys. He meant what he said about the boys going to bed early. After they checked into the hotel and ate dinner, they had a quick rehearsal before Wes demanded they go to their rooms for the night. It was still relatively early and several other choirs that were staying in the same hotel were still running around, but Wes was adamant that they stick to their plan.

At the crack of dawn, the council members and the chaperones woke the Warblers up with breakfast and coffee. Once they ate, they all quickly got dressed in their Dalton sweats and met in the rehearsal space the hotel provided for them. They practiced for the next few hours, their passion and determination to win perfecting their performance. Never had the Dalton boys felt as confidant as they did the moment Sebastian sang out the last note of their final practice run.

"That was amazing!" Wes exclaimed. "Absolutely amazing! Do that again on stage and we'll totally win this thing!"

"How much coffee have you had this morning, Wesley?" David teased, making the others laugh.

"Not much." Wes said dismissively. "Only like...seven cups or so. I'm fine. Totally fine. No need to worry." The Warblers broke out into giggles. Hyper Wes was always entertaining. "We have an hour left before we need to go so take fast showers. We'll meet in exactly 58 minutes. Do not be late. You're dismissed." He said in one short breath. The Warblers dispersed and excitedly headed to their rooms to get ready. They

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felt really good about their performance. Even if they didn't win, they were confident that the crowd would thoroughly enjoy their performance and that was good enough for them.

The first four acts that performed were good but they weren't great. While the audience members were enthusiastic, the judges were not impressed. The fifth act was Vocal Adrenaline and they blew the crowd away with their precision. At one point during their performance, Wes couldn't help but comment on how stiff they were. Yes, they sang amazingly and yes, their dance moves were flawless, but they seemed too robotic for Wes' taste. He was certain that the Warblers combination of precision and passion would set them apart. He was sure that the genuine smiles the Warblers would send to the audience would outshine Vocal Adrenaline's practiced expressions by a long shot.

There was small intermission after Vocal Adrenaline performed which gave the next five acts time to get ready. As the Warblers made their way backstage, Julianne pulled Blaine aside for a quick moment.

"How are you feeling?" she asked curiously.

"I feel good, real good." Blaine said confidently. "Vocal Adrenaline is our biggest competition and we are so going to be better than them!"

Julianne chuckled softly and shook her head. "You always were competitive. I still remember the days you and Cooper had me judge your sing-offs. Or rather, your Duran Duran-offs." She joked. "I know you need to get backstage but I wanted you know how incredibly proud I am of you. You've grown so much Blaine, and whether you win this or not, I'll always be proud of you."

Blaine smiled broadly and embraced his mother. "Thank you, Mom. It means so much to me that you're here. I love you so much."

Julianne squeezed Blaine tightly, a few tears running down her cheeks. It was the first time that Blaine had told her he loved her since she returned into his life and she was overwhelmed by how those three words made her feel. "I love you too, son." She replied softly as they parted. "Now go kick some Vocal Adrenaline ass." Blaine laughed as he wiped his own stray tear away. He kissed her on the cheek and ran backstage, more than ready to prove to the judges just why they deserved to win.

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"Ladies and Gentleman from Westerville, Ohio, the Dalton Academy Warblers!"

Burt, Cooper, and Julianne cheered louder than anyone else in the stadium when they announcer called the boys out. The chaperones hadn't been allowed to see any of their rehearsals and they were all excited to see them perform. The curtains drew back revealing Blaine, Jeff, Nick, David, and Wes standing in a line, the rest of the Warblers in formation behind them. Squeals could be heard from girls throughout the audience members when they recognized the song. Several of the Warblers smirked at the reaction. They knew choosing One Direction was the smart choice.

David:

Lately I found myself thinking

Been dreaming about you a lot

And up in my head I'm your boyfriend But that's one thing you've already got

Jeff:

He drives to school every morning While I walk alone in the rain He'd kill me without any warning If he took a look in my brain

Blaine:

Would he say he's in L-O-V-E?

Well if it was me then I would (I would) Would he hold you when you're feeling low Baby you should know that I would (I would)

Warbler:

Would he say he's in L-O-V-E?

Well if it was me then I would (I would) Would he hold you when you're feeling low Baby you should know that I would (I would)

Julianne watched in awe as the boys performed. She had heard Wes say something about the other performances lacking the magic they created but she hadn't understood what he meant until that moment.

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It wasn't their perfected harmonies or their fun dance moves. It was them. They performed with such ease that no one would guess how much work actually went into it. They were comfortable on stage and they were completely in sync with one another. She could tell that they were truly having fun and that was where the magic lay.

Wes:

Back in my head we were kissing

I thought things were going alright With a sign on my back saying kick me Reality ruined my life

Nick:

Feels like I'm constantly playing

A game that I'm destined to lose

Cause I can't compete with your boyfriend He's got 27 tattoos

Blaine:

Would he say he's in L-O-V-E?

Well if it was me then I would (I would) Would he hold you when you're feeling low Baby you should know that I would (I would)

Warbler:

Would he say he's in L-O-V-E?

Well if it was me then I would (I would) Would he hold you when you're feeling low Baby you should know that I would (I would)

The Warblers repeated the chorus two more times before their beats and harmonies transitioned over to the next song flawlessly. Cooper had glanced behind him to look at the judges, a satisfied smile tugging at his lips when he noticed their impressed expressions. The Warblers had this in the bag.

Blaine:

Oh, I just wanna take you any way that you like

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We could go out any day, any night Baby I'll take you there, take you there Baby I'll take you there, yeah

Jeff:

Oh, tell me tell me tell me how to turn your love on You can get, get anything that you want

Baby just shout it out, shout it out

Baby just shout it out, yeah

David:

And if you, you want me to Let's make a move

Nick:

Yeah, so tell me girl if every time we

Warblers:

To-o-uch

You get this kind of, ru-u-ush

Baby say yeah, yeah

If you don't wanna, take it slow And you just wanna, take me home Baby say yeah, yeah

Blaine:

And let me kiss you

The crowd went wild as they swooned over the Warblers. All the One Direction fans in the audience sang along with them and several people were recording their performance. It was clear as day just how much fun the boys were having and their energy was electric. Even those who weren't fans of the boy band had difficulties not falling into the Warblers grasp. Their joy was so infectious that the judges forgot to take notes and simply enjoyed the performance.

Blaine:

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Oh baby, baby don't you know you got what I need Looking so good from your head to your feet Come on come over here, over here

Come on come over here, yeah

Wes:

Oh, I just wanna show you off to all of my friends Making them drool down their chinny-chin-chins Baby be mine tonight, mine tonight

Baby be mine tonight, yeah

David:

And if you, you want me to Let's make a move

Nick:

Yeah, so tell me girl if every time we

Warblers:

To-o-uch

You get this kind of, ru-u-ush

Baby say yeah, yeah

If you don't wanna, take it slow And you just wanna, take me home Baby say yeah, yeah

Blaine:

And let me kiss you

The Warblers once again began to slowly transition over into their last song until they were all back in formation, leaving Sebastian front and center. They oohed behind him as he started singing Glad You Came. Most of the Warblers had wanted Blaine to sing the solo but he had offered it to Sebastian, knowing that he would knock it out of park, and that was exactly what he did. They ended their performance strong and received a rousing applause from the audience. There was still an entire day of performances left but many doubted that any of them would top the Warblers.

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None of the other show choirs were able to outshine the Warblers, though they certainly tried, and none were surprised when they won. Expect maybe the Warblers themselves. After they performed and sat to watch the rest of the competition, their nerves got the better of them and they began doubting their performance. They had been on edge the rest of the day, a few of them even throwing up from the sudden tension. When the results were posted and they saw that they were in the top three, they just about lost their shit. Hearing the announcer name them the winners instead of Vocal Adrenaline was the best feeling in the world. All their hard work and grueling hours had paid off. All that was left to do was celebrate.

"Warblers, Warblers! Settle down!" Blaine yelled over the shouting boys. They were jammed together in one of the hotel rooms celebrating their win with a pizza party.

"Yo! Everybody shut up!" David shouted in his councilman voice, successfully quieting the group down. "The floor is yours, Blaine."

"Thank you, David." Blaine said with a nod before turning his attention to the group. "I just wanted to tell you guys that I'm so incredibly lucky to have each and every one of you in my life. You all know that this hasn't been the best year for me and thanks to you, I've found my way. Today is a day that will go down in Dalton history. This is the first National's competition the Warblers have won in more than a decade and I couldn't be prouder to have been a part of it. As Wes reminded us earlier, several of you are graduating and while we'll miss you guys, we're also glad that you're moving forward with your lives."

"You just want my councilman seat!" Thad yelled out, making the group laugh.

"Speaking of councilmen seats, remember the election is next week." Wes directed at the underclassman.

"Anyway," Blaine cut back in. "Seniors, we'll miss you when you're gone. Juniors, next year is our year. Let's keep the Dalton pride alive and go for two straight National championships!" The juniors hooted in agreement. "For now, let's eat! OH YEAH!"

"OH YEAH!"

Blaine made his way from the middle of the room and back over to Kurt, who was talking with Sebastian. Without warning, Blaine grabbed Kurt's arm, pulled him into his body, and slammed their lips together.

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"Keep it PG guys." Sebastian teased, though neither made a move separate. After a few minutes, they finally parted, both laughing from the exhilaration.

"I love you." Kurt breathed out, his arms securely wrapped around Blaine's neck.

"I love you." Blaine replied before kissing Kurt once more. Only when they heard Cooper catcalling from the other side of the room did they pull apart completely. Blaine glared playfully at him but laughed. It didn't matter that they were surrounded by a group of boys and adults. He was entirely too happy to care. He had an amazing boyfriend, they won Nationals, and his family was there to witness the whole thing. It was a good day to be a Warbler.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

Anderson-Hummel

"Warblers, settle down!" Wes hollered over the excited chatter. The boys were allowed to have an entire day in the city and they were anxious to get out. Wes had been trying to get their attention for over fifteen minutes already but the boys were too excited to listen to their lead councilman. "We're never going to get out of here." Wes grumbled to himself, just loud enough for Burt to hear him.

Burt shook his head and chuckled before grabbing a seat and standing up on it. He inserted his thumb and index finger into his mouth and whistled loudly, finally grabbing the Warblers attention. "Gentleman, I believe Wes has something to say and if you don't keep your mouths shut you will be spending the whole day stuck in your hotel room. Is that clear?" He said firmly in his Papa Bear Hummel voice. The boys instantly stopped talking and gave Wes their full attention.

"Thanks, Mr. Hummel." Wes replied, relief evident in his voice.

"Sure, kid." Burt said with a nod as he stepped down from the chair.

"I know you're all eager to get out in the city," Wes started. "But it is crucial that you don't stray from your group. Getting lost in a small town like Westerville is nothing compared to getting lost in a city like New York. Many of you have anxiety and it would be terrible to get stuck somewhere you don't know with no one to help you. Do not stray from your group. Do not go off on your own. This is for your safety. Understood?" The Warblers nodded fervently, eager to get out.

"Good. Freshman and sophomores, once you're ready meet up at Mrs. Orion's room. She will have your schedule for the day. Juniors and seniors, meet up at Mr. Hummel's room. Remember everyone, we're meeting at Central Park at 6:30 and heading out to dinner from there. After dinner, we are coming back to the hotel. We have an early flight. You're dismissed." The boys quickly dissipated to get ready for the day.

Beatz and Sebastian approached Burt and pulled him off to the side for a private word. They had their own plan for the day and Kurt couldn't be anywhere near them if they wanted to pull it off.

"Were you not listening when Wes said that we are to stick together?" Burt questioned, crossing his arms

across his chest.

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"We never listen to Wes." Beatz said with a shrug, earning him a glare from Burt.

Sebastian held back a laugh and shook his head. "Wes' warning was more for the freshman and sophomores anyway, Mr. Hummel. We'll still stick together; we'll just do it away from the adults...and Kurt. We'll even convince Wes and the other guys to go with us. We just need you to tell Wes you're cool with it."

"And what exactly is so important that you have to hide from my son?" Burt asked.

Sebastian and Beatz glanced around the room for a moment, making sure that Kurt was nowhere around. "His birthday is a few weeks and we're throwing him a surprise party. Nothing big, just us Warblers. We need to pick some things up for him while we're here but he's so addicted to shopping that we'll never be able to get passed him what we buy." Beatz said.

Burt slipped his hands into his pocket, a wide smile spreading across his face. "You realize that Kurt hates surprises, right?"

Beatz and Sebastian both grinned from ear to ear and nodded. "We know." They replied simultaneously.

Burt threw his head back in laughter. Who was he to deny Kurt's best friends a chance to plot against him? "You know what, go ahead. I'll keep Kurt busy for the day. He'll be too excited to the see the city to care that you're gone anyway."

"Yes!" Beatz exclaimed, high-fiving Sebastian. "Thanks Mr. Hummel. We really appreciate it."

"Sure thing." Burt nodded. "And enough with this Mr. Hummel. I know you guys are supposed to be all proper but you're making me feel old. Call me Burt."

Both boys laughed and nodded. "Thanks Burt." Sebastian said. "Now, let's go see if we can get Wes to remove the stick out of his ass."

Convincing Wes and the others to skip their original plan with the chaperones was easier than Sebastian and Beatz had expected. As soon as they said that they were planning something for Kurt's birthday, the rest of their classmates eagerly agreed. By the time they left the hotel, every junior and senior Warbler

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had a list of things they would be buying for Kurt's birthday. Without a word to either Kurt or Blaine, the junior and senior Warblers disappeared into the city, leaving Kurt and Blaine alone with their families.

"Wait, where are they going?" Kurt asked his dad when he noticed the group going the opposite way of their planned destination.

"Oh um...I let them head off on their own." Burt replied nonchalantly. "Why?" Kurt questioned.

"Because...because I wanted to spend some alone time with you and the Andersons and they understood that." Burt answered quickly.

"Oh...ok." Kurt replied slowly.

Burt smiled at his son and walked away toward Cooper and Julianne just as Blaine walked over to him. "Hey, where are the guys going?"

Kurt grabbed hold of Blaine's hand and glanced back at their friends once more. "Apparently my dad told them to go off on their own so that our families can spend some time together."

"Oh, cool." Blaine said with a smile, clearly happy to spend the day with his family.

"Mhm." Kurt nodded as they walked over to their families. Something told him the boys were up to something but he decided not to question it. "So, since it's just us, what are the plans?" he asked his dad.

"Well I know you want to go shopping so I figured we could do that first and get it out of the way." Burt smirked.

"OH! I want to go shopping!" Cooper cut in excitedly, making the others laugh. "Shopping it is." Burt said with a nod and started walking away.

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The next few hours were spent going in and out of shops. Burt and Julianne watched in amusement as their sons excitedly went shopping. Kurt was in heaven as he sifted through the scarves, Cooper found himself trying on hat after hat, insisting that his wardrobe needed a new accessory, and Blaine got stuck at the bowties. Kurt reveled in dressing up the Anderson brothers. He picked out different suits for Cooper to try on, making sure to mention how much he looked like Neal Caffrey, comparing the similarities and differences. After much debate, it was decided that Cooper was better looking than Neal and Cooper simply preened at the compliment. Once Kurt was satisfied with Cooper's new clothes, he moved on to Blaine.

Blaine was much more difficult to dress than Cooper. Kurt kept trying to put Blaine in too tight colorful pants and cardigans while Blaine just wanted to buy new bowties, insisting that he didn't need new clothes. After a highly entertaining disagreement, Kurt gave up and started finding outfits for himself instead. As he went through the racks, Blaine walked over to his brother, who was once again trying on hats.

"What do you think, Squirt? Should I get the one with the green or the one with the blue?" Cooper asked Blaine, holding out two fedoras.

"Hm, I say the blue. It'll make your eyes pop." Blaine replied thoughtfully.

Cooper tried the blue hat once more, giving himself a onceover in the mirror. "You're right. Good choice." Blaine nodded happily and took the green one to put away.

Cooper turned around to look at a black bowler and ran straight into a pretty blond. "I'm so sorry. I didn't see you there." He apologized.

"No, no it's fine." The woman assured him. "It was my fault." The woman looked up at Cooper and instantly got caught in his eyes. "Nice hat. It matches your eyes." She said a little breathily.

Cooper smiled charmingly and tipped the fedora on his head. "Thank you. I'm Cooper." He introduced himself.

"Hilary." She replied with a brilliant smile as she shook his hand.

Cooper nodded slowly, his eyes locked with the beautiful blond. "Hilary. Gorgeous name."

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Hilary blushed at the compliment, reluctantly letting go of Cooper's hand. "Thank you."

Blaine rolled his eyes fondly and walked away, giving his brother space to undoubtedly swoon the young woman. He walked back over to the dressing rooms where Kurt was trying on clothes, and found him checking himself out in one of the full length mirrors. Blaine set his things down in a nearby chair, came up behind Kurt, and wrapped his arms around his waist.

"You look gorgeous." Blaine muttered against Kurt's skin as he kissed his neck lightly. Kurt giggled lightly and tilted his head to allow Blaine to continue kissing him. "Yeah?" "Mhm." Blaine nodded. "Very sexy."

Julianne, who had been watching Kurt from afar, smiled softly as Blaine wrapped his arms around Kurt. She was amazed by how comfortable they were with one another, how in love they were. Never in her life had she witnessed such utter devotion. Even with her soon to be ex-husband, there was never a moment where they shared such a deep love. Her marriage was one of convenience, not love, and it wasn't until she witnessed her youngest son melt into the arms of his boyfriend that she realized it. The love Kurt and Blaine shared was pure and true, and it brought a slight tear to her eye. She couldn't help but wonder how she lasted so long in a marriage that contained so much hatred.

"Beautiful, ain't they?" Burt said as he walked up behind her, breaking her reverie.

"Yes, they really are." She agreed with a sigh. She glanced over at Burt and smiled. Burt Hummel was not at all what she had expected him to be. He was strong and had a sense of power much like Nathan, but he was also kind and good-hearted. He had accepted her son as his own the instant the boys started dating and she would forever be grateful for the man. "Burt, I need to thank you for what you've done."

"For what I've done?" Burt questioned, raising an eyebrow. "What did I do?"

"You accepted Blaine." Julianne replied with a half shrug. "You let him into your heart and into your home, and you've shown him how a real man should act. Blaine's father...he was never one to show affection to our boys, even before everything went to hell. He believed that showing affection made a man weak. But you, you are proof that my husband was full of shit." She said with a small laugh. "You raised your son with equal parts strength and love and he's grown up to be an impressive young man. You didn't have to accept

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Blaine the way you have. You didn't have to treat him like family but you did, and for that I couldn't be more grateful."

"I accepted your son because he is an amazing young man. He helped Kurt find himself again and for that, I will always love him as my own." Burt said softly. "I'm sorry for what your husband put your family through but know that you are always welcome in my home. Those two are it for each other. We're family now and the Hummels take care of their family."

Julianne smiled and glanced back at the boys again. "Do you really think they'll stay together? They haven't even turned 18."

"I met my Lizzy when I was 15 and I knew the moment I met her that she was the one." Burt replied with a fond smile. "They're young, but I would bet you anything that those two will be married one day."

The certainty in Burt's voice made Julianne believe it to be true. She wanted it to be true, she wanted it to be real. She wanted her son to live a life full of love and laughter and she wanted Kurt to be the one to give it to him. There was so much sadness and hatred in her life that it was hard to believe in the good things. If there was one thing she could believe in, however, it was the love between the boys.

As the day progressed, Julianne stopped thinking of her husband and the pain he caused and focused on her boys. Watching her sons and Kurt interact with one another brought so much joy to her heart that she couldn't help but want to cry. Not that bad kind of crying though, but the kind that came from being truly happy. It was such an unusual feeling for her, being happy, and it overwhelmed her to tears. She knew that a big part of her happiness was due to Kurt's presence. It was Kurt who made Blaine smile like a small child in a candy store and it was Kurt who made Cooper act like a boy once more. Seeing her children so happy, maybe for the first time, made her happy, and she needed Kurt to know how much she appreciated him.

Shortly after they arrived at Central Park, before the rest of the Warblers showed up, Julianne pulled Kurt aside. She was nervous to talk to him without her sons there to help the conversation flow, but it was something she needed to do so she swallowed her nerves and asked him to go for a walk. They walked through Central Park in silence first, neither one knowing what to say. When they were a good distance away from their family, Julianne finally found the courage to speak.

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"Kurt, I brought you out here because I needed to thank you." She said softly as she stopped walking and turned to face him. "I've never seen Blaine so happy before and that's because of you. I haven't been the best mother and Blaine's had it real hard, partially because of me. I didn't think I would ever be able to have a relationship with him again and I can't tell you how grateful I am that he's given me the chance. The smile on his face, the one that comes from his utter love and devotion to you, is the most beautiful thing I have ever had the honor to witness and I can only thank you for putting that smile there. Blaine means everything to me and seeing him so happy is all I could ever want for him."

Kurt smiled softly at Julianne as he wiped a tear away. "If anyone here has to thank someone, it's me thanking you. You see, when I first came to Dalton, I was a mess. I was so lost and broken and I was sure that no one would be able to understand me. I was sure that no one would be able to love me. But Blaine? From the moment we met, he's been nothing but kind and sincere. His smile was what made me feel normal again. His smile is what broke through my walls."

"His smile is what I first fell in love with. You say that the smile he has with me is the happiest you've ever seen? Well, the smile he had when he told me that you were back in his life, the smile he has anytime he talks about you, that smile is the most beautiful thing I've ever had the honor to witness. You mean so much to Blaine, more than you could possibly know, and I can't thank you enough for loving him. I can't thank you enough for taking the chance to be back in his life. I may be his boyfriend, but you are his mother. Blaine hasn't been truly happy in a long time, and letting you in is what's making him this happy."

"I was so worried that he wouldn't want me in his life anymore and after what happened, I wouldn't have blamed him." Julianne replied with a sad smile.

"There's no need to worry, Mrs. Anderson. Blaine loves you and he needs you. Thank you for not giving up on him." Kurt said sincerely.

"Thank you for loving him." Julianne replied. "And thank you for not holding my past mistakes against me. I don't know what I would've done if my future son-in-law hated me." She teased, making Kurt blush.

"Don't you think it's kind of early for that?" Kurt asked, ducking his head shyly.

Julianne smiled, reached for Kurt's face, and lifted it so that he would look at her. "Not at all. You and my son are soul mates, you're meant to be together, and I cannot wait to be able to call you son."

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Kurt laughed lightly as Julianne pulled him in for a hug. They held each other for a moment, both reveling in the comfort. When they parted, they both laughed at the tears that were streaming down. Kurt intertwined his arm with Julianne's and started heading back towards their family.

"You know, your father told me you loved to plan weddings. I don't want to step on your toes, but I've always had a knack for event planning. When the time comes, maybe I could help you?" Julianne suggested, a teasing smile playing at her lips.

Kurt blushed under her gaze and nodded. "I think we could work something out." Julianne smiled brightly and squeezed Kurt's arm lovingly. Life was still hard and it was still going to throw curveballs at her, but at least she had her family and a new one to help her through it.

Blaine watched his mother and his boyfriend talking in the distance, a nervous bubble forming in the pit of his stomach. He had no idea what they were talking about but he prayed that it was going well.

"Relax, son. They're only talking." Burt said from a few feet away. Blaine's heart soared at how Burt called him son.

"I know. I just...I really want them to get along." Blaine admitted quietly.

Burt came over to him, placed an arm over his shoulder, and watched Kurt and Julianne talk. Both smiled broadly when they saw them hugging. "I think they're getting along just fine."

"Knowing Mom, she's planning your wedding right now." Cooper teased as he came up behind them. "Coop." Blaine whined, nervously glancing over at Burt.

Burt simply smiled and shrugged. "Knowing my son, he already has your wedding all planned out."

Blaine ducked his head and blushed. Had Kurt really been planning their wedding already? Did he really want to marry Blaine? Did Blaine want to spend the rest of his life with Kurt? Yes, he definitely did. There was no doubt about it. He couldn't deny that spending a life with Kurt would make him the happiest person alive. But they were so young. Would they be able to make it to that point? Blaine glanced at his brother and Burt, and then back to Kurt and his mother who were now walking back. After everything

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they'd already been through, he was sure that they would indeed make it to the end. His life may have started out rocky, but as he looked at his new family, he knew it would end perfectly.

When the Warblers pulled up to Dalton, the entire school was waiting to congratulate them. The dean was so proud of her boys that she gave the entire school a day off. The Warblers brought such pride to Dalton that it was only fitting for the whole school to celebrate with them. Once all the excited chatter began to die down, Julianne pulled Blaine aside in order to say goodbye.

"I am so proud of you, son." She said as they hugged. "You were incredible this weekend." "Thanks, Mom. I can't thank you enough for coming to support us." Blaine replied as they parted.

"Thank you for sharing this with me. I know I wasn't always there for you before but I promise to always be there for you now." She said gently.

"That's all I ask." Blaine said with a small smile.

Just then, Kurt came into Julianne's line of vision, and she smiled as she remembered their conversation. "You know, I'm really glad that Kurt's in your life. He really loves you, Blaine. You're lucky to have such an amazing young man as your boyfriend."

Blaine blushed and smiled, feeling happier than ever before. "Thank you for accepting him, for accepting us. He really is incredible."

"So are you. That's why you were made for each other." She teased. "Mom." Blaine whined in embarrassment, although he was smiling.

"I'm just stating facts, sweetheart." She said nonchalantly as she pulled him in for one more hug. "I love you, Blaine."

"I love you, Mom." They embraced for a moment longer before she finally let him go. Julianne gave a kiss farewell on the cheek and headed out to the car where Cooper was waiting for her.

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Blaine watched his mother walk away, a tear streaming down his face. He turned around to find Kurt just as Kurt approached him. "Hey, are you ok?"

Blaine grabbed Kurt's face and pulled him in for a deep kiss, not caring who was around. "I'm perfect." He replied with a huge grin. Kurt smiled back and lunged himself into Blaine's arm, hugging him tightly. Nothing and no one was going to stand in their way now. Not Karofsky and not Blaine's father. The time for fear was over. There were still a few bumps ahead, but together, they would make it through anything.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

Stronger

Not long after their parents left, Blaine dragged Kurt to their dorm room for some alone time. He couldn't stop thinking about the jokes their families made about them getting married and he needed to discuss it with Kurt. He was also dying to know exactly what Kurt and his mother had talked about. Whatever it was had obviously solidified a bond between them because they went from not talking at all to giggling together over the woman Cooper met while shopping. It was definitely a welcomed sight, but it increased his curiosity tenfold and he needed to know before he went crazy.

As soon as Kurt closed the dorm room door behind them, Blaine grabbed him by the hips and tossed him into their bed. Blaine then pounced on the bed and started tickling Kurt mercilessly.

"AH!" Kurt half screamed, half squealed. "No! Stop it!"

"No way." Blaine laughed out.

"Stop it! Stop it!" Kurt giggled, unable to contain the snorts of laughter. "Please!"

"Not until you tell me what you and my mom talked about." Blaine replied.

"What?" Kurt breathed as he tried his best to get out Blaine's grasp.

"I said," Blaine moved to straddle Kurt, grabbed hold of Kurt's wrist, and pinned them above his head. "Not until you tell me what you and my mom talked about."

Kurt struggled for only a moment before desire suddenly coursed through him. He hadn't said anything to Blaine yet, but he was ready for more. He was ready for Blaine to take him and with their current position, he couldn't help but feel turned on. He bit his lower lip as Blaine's favorite shade of pink rose up his cheeks, and locked eyes with his boyfriend. Blaine instantly noticed the change in atmosphere. He briefly thought about getting off of Kurt so they could talk, but the look of pure want in Kurt's eyes was entirely too intoxicating to pass up. Blaine leaned forward to catch Kurt's lips in a searing kiss, his pants tightening due to his growing erection. He maneuvered Kurt's wrists so that he could hold them with one hand and moved his free hand down Kurt's side.

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Kurt shivered in anticipation as Blaine's hand found its way under his shirt. Blaine began teasing Kurt's nipple, making Kurt arch his back in search of friction. Blaine grinded down roughly, both groaning into the kiss. He released Kurt's lips and attached his mouth to the spot just underneath Kurt's jaw, eliciting the breathy moans he loved so much.

"I want to fuck you so bad." Blaine muttered against Kurt's skin unintentionally. He had no time to chastise himself for the bold statement because Kurt whined in such desire it went straight to his cock.

"Yes! God yes!" Kurt replied desperately.

Blaine stopped his ministrations and looked up at Kurt questionably. "Are you sure?" "Yes." Kurt answered instantly. "Please, baby. I want you so bad."

Blaine didn't need to be told twice. He swiftly maneuvered himself in-between Kurt's legs, which naturally wrapped around his torso, all the while still firmly holding Kurt's hand above his head. Blaine started sucking the spot underneath Kurt's jaw again as they began a steady but rough rhythm between them. Just as Blaine's free started unbuttoning Kurt's shirt, Thad walked into their room.

Thad stood frozen in the doorway for a moment, his eyes wide in surprise. Neither boy had noticed the intrusion yet so they continued their grinding and panting. Realizing that he was staring, and admittedly getting hard, Thad shook his head and cleared his throat loudly, finally grabbing their attention.

"Bas wasn't kidding. You two are hot when you're like this." Thad said with a smirk, his cheeks a bright shade of pink.

Blaine let go of Kurt and sat up quickly, embarrassed at being caught by their councilman. "Thad!" he squeaked. "Wh-what's up?"

"Oh, I think you know." Thad replied with a cheeky grin and a crude glance.

"Oh my God." Kurt grumbled, his hands covering his face. "You are most definitely Bastian's boyfriend."

Thad smiled proudly and finished stepping into their room. "That I am. Now, I hate to interrupt your fun, but Dean Morrison wants everyone down in the gymnasium. Apparently the whole school is having a

pizza party to celebrate our win.

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Kurt fell backwards on his pillow in complete frustration. "Only at Dalton would we be cockblocked by pizza." Kurt muttered more to himself than the others.

Blaine held back a chuckle and nodded. "We'll be down in a minute."

"Uh, huh." Thad nodded, clearly unconvinced, and walked out of their room.

Blaine gave Kurt one last kiss then reluctantly got off Kurt's lap. "Our friends have the worst timing ever." he pouted.

Kurt sighed and nodded in agreement as he sat up. "Do you want me to tell you what your mom and I talked about before we head down?"

Blaine contemplated it for a moment before shaking his head. "How about you tell me something else?" Kurt raised an eyebrow as he re-buttoned his shirt. "Ok. What?" he inquired.

"Do you...have you put any thought into what the future holds for us?" Blaine asked shyly.

"I...maybe." Kurt answered just as shyly.

"Yeah? What do you think about?" Blaine questioned.

"I don't know." Kurt shrugged, an entirely new blush setting in. "I guess...I think about how I want us to live in New York, and I think about what kind of careers we'll have."

"Oh? And what are our careers?" Blaine asked, pulling Kurt closer so that Kurt was straddling him.

"Well, I'm a fashion designer with my very own, very successful fashion line." Kurt said as he wrapped his arms around Blaine's neck. "And you are a huge Broadway star with millions of adoring fans."

"Fashion designer and Broadway star? That's pretty far in the future, babe." Blaine commented with a wide grin. "Does that mean you want to marry me and spend the rest of your life with me?"

Kurt's blush deepened as he nodded. "Well, yeah. I do."

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Blaine smiled brighter than ever before at Kurt's admission. "Me too." he replied softly.

Kurt leaned in to kiss Blaine again but was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Stop making out and get your asses out of the room before the dean decides to come get you herself." David said from the other side of the door.

Kurt rolled his eyes and got off Blaine's lap. The last thing they needed was for the dean to catch them in a questionable position. He started making his way towards the door but stopped when Blaine grabbed his arm and pulled him back into a tender kiss. They kissed for only a moment but it was enough to make Kurt's head spin.

"I love you." Blaine whispered against Kurt's lips.

"I love you, too." Kurt replied with a happy sigh. David pounded on their door again and they finally left the room.

The rest of the week was filled with homework and exams. With Nationals out of the way, the boys were able to relax in-between study sessions. When they weren't doing schoolwork, they were hanging out in the common room or Warbler hall, simply talking and laughing with each other. With only four weeks left of school, the Warblers made it a point to spend as much time together, especially the seniors who had special relationships with the underclassman. While there was much excitement about graduation, there was sadness too about leaving the friends that depended on them.

On Friday, the Warblers elected two new councilmen. With Wes and Thad graduating, they needed someone who would be able to control the boys and someone who would be the voice of reason. Those who wanted a chance on the council stated their cases before the boys voted. Once the votes had been counted, the three councilmen discussed who would take Wes' place and who would take Thad's. It hadn't been a difficult decision. They had all agreed on who they wanted to take over before the election was complete and they were thrilled to see that their fellow Warblers agreed.

"Before we tell you who you've voted into the council, know that we whole-heartedly agree with your decision." Wes said. "These two Warblers have proved time and time again what being a Warbler is all

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about and we're confident that they will be able to take the Warblers to Nationals again." The boys glanced at each other, all wearing the same eager expressions.

"The Warbler who will be taking my place is," Thad let the statement hang for a moment before turning his head in the direction of the Warbler. "Warbler Danny."

Danny's jaw dropped in surprise as the rest of the Warblers cheered him on. He hadn't expected to be voted on simply because he was a sophomore. Trent wasn't in the least bit surprised that his boyfriend was voted onto the council though. Danny was incredibly sweet and mature for his age and the boys often went to him for advice. He was a quiet boy but he was extremely compassionate. The Warblers were thrilled to have him as their councilman.

"Congratulations, Warbler Danny." Wes said with a nod. "Now, the Warbler who be taking my place as Council Leader is," Wes glanced around the room, his eyes landing on the Warbler. "Warbler Kurt."

Kurt yelped excitedly as the rest of the room erupted. Sebastian and Beatz had convinced him to run for councilman not only because he was strong-willed and determined, but because he was well organized and the other Warblers respected him the same way they respected Wes. Kurt had a sense of authority that the others lacked but he wasn't a control freak like Wes. Between David's knowledge and experience, Danny's compassionate nature, and Kurt's firm authority, the council would be strong next year and the Warblers would be unstoppable.

"Congratulations, Warbler Kurt. We will have a councilman meeting at the end of next week and you are both expected to attend. We'll discuss what the council will need from you and how to make sure you have a successful year. That's all for today boys. Have a good weekend." Wes dismissed.

As the boys dissipated, Kurt grabbed Sebastian by the hand and walked with him out to the courtyard. Kurt would be going home that weekend to sleepover at Santana's house and he still needed to talk to Sebastian about what he'd suggested to Blaine about Santana's past. He wasn't exactly angry with Sebastian, but simply annoyed that he would make such a bold statement about a girl he barely knew.

"What's this about, Kurt? I'm supposed to go home with Thad this weekend and I can't do that if you kidnap me." Sebastian teased as they sat down on the bench.

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"I have to head home too so I'll make this short." Kurt started. "I want to know what you meant when you told Blaine that you saw a lot of us in Santana."

"Oh. That's what this is about." Sebastian replied with an eye roll.

Kurt glared at his best friend and smacked him on the arm. "Don't roll your eyes at me, Smythe. Now talk.

What did you mean by that?"

"Just that, Kurt." Sebastian shrugged. "I could be wrong, but I know a defense mechanism when I see one

and her, 'I'm a badass bitch' attitude is exactly that."

"Santana is a badass bitch though. She always has been." Kurt argued.

"Like I said, I could be wrong, but I doubt it." Sebastian replied apologetically.

Kurt was quiet for a moment as he thought of Santana. He'd known her most of his life and she'd always been the hardass she was now. But Kurt knew better than anyone nothing was ever what it seemed and lately, Santana had indeed been acting different. Could something really have happened to her? Could she have been taken advantage of like he and Sebastian had been? Or was it something else, something worse?

"Do you really think what happened to us happened to her?" Kurt asked quietly.

"I don't know. Maybe?" Sebastian shrugged. "What I do know is that I see the same look of distrust in her eyes that I see in ours."

Kurt sighed and nodded. "We're having a sleepover tomorrow and she said she needed to talk about something."

"Whatever it is she tells you, just remember to listen. Our biggest hurdle is letting people in, Kurt. Don't push her to tell you anything but let her know that you will be there for her no matter what." Sebastian said softly.

"Yeah, ok." Kurt said. "Come on. We should go before our boyfriend's think we've run away together."

Sebastian gasped loudly, placing a hand over his heart as if it hurt. "You mean to tell me that you don't want to run away with me? I thought I meant something to you!"

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Kurt snorted a laugh and shook his head as they started walking back. "You're such a dork. I'm going to miss you next year."

Sebastian grinned, draping an arm around Kurt's shoulder, and kissed his forehead lightly. "I'm going to miss you too." Kurt rested his head on Sebastian's shoulder and continued walking. He was going to have to plan a special best friend date before graduation. He wasn't sure if Sebastian knew just how much he appreciated their friendship but he would make sure he knew by the end of the school year.

By the time Kurt made it to Santana's house Saturday evening, Santana was a mess. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been so nervous. She couldn't remember the last she'd felt so vulnerable and they hadn't even talked yet. She thought about cancelling their sleepover all together but she knew if she did, she'd regret it. Instead, she dolled herself up and pushed her feelings away like she always did.

They didn't talk about anything heavy for the first few hours. They chit chatted about school and their friends, Santana listened jealously about the Warblers win at Nationals, and Kurt laughed at all the drama surrounding the New Directions. Kurt couldn't stop thinking about what Sebastian had told him. It was hard for him to imagine that something like what happened to him had happened to Santana, but as the night when on and Santana became visibly nervous, Kurt started to think that maybe Sebastian was right.

After talking for a while, they settled in to watch a movie. Kurt could tell that Santana wasn't really paying attention to the movie though and halfway through, he couldn't help but ask her what was wrong.

"What makes you think something's wrong?" she questioned him, her eyes glued to the TV.

"I don't know." Kurt shrugged. "Maybe because you asked me over to have a sleepover and the last time I checked, you didn't even like me all that much." He teased.

"That's where you're wrong, lady lips. Didn't you know you were my favorite gay?" Santana quipped with a smirk.

"Am I now?" Kurt asked with a laugh. Santana shrugged in response but said nothing. Kurt reached over Santana's bed and grabbed her hand to hold. "San, are you sure you're ok? You can tell me if something's wrong. I won't judge you or make fun of you, if that's what you're worried about."

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The softness of Kurt's voice broke through Santana's hard exterior and before she knew it, tears were streaming down her face. "I'm sorry."

"Hey, no. Don't apologize. Don't ever apologize for crying." Kurt replied, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

"Could we...could we lay down?" Santana asked through her tears.

Kurt was surprised by her request but laid down nonetheless. Santana nestled her body next to his, resting her head on his chest, one arm tucked underneath her and the other wrapping around Kurt's torso. Kurt gently caressed her arm and held her protectively as she continued to cry. Never in the entirety of their friendship had he ever seen Santana so broken and it threw him for a loop. The old Kurt never would've known how to handle the sudden emotion. The new Kurt, however, the one Dalton build, knew that he needed to hold her and show her that she wasn't alone. After what seemed like hours, Santana's crying subsided and she finally opened up about what had happened to her.

"I was only 11 when he did it." She started. Kurt's heart constricted but he stayed quiet as she continued. "He was my brother's friend and I...I used to follow them around because I thought he was cute. And he...he used to tell me how pretty I was and how the guys were going to love me when I got older. I remember telling him how cute I thought he was and how none of the boys at school were as cute as him. He brushed it off and told me that I was still young and had plenty of time for boyfriends and basically rejected me right there in front of my brother and I was so heartbroken. But then, that night, he came into my room and started kissing me and telling me how much he liked me." Santana started crying harder as the memories of that night came rushing back.

"Shh, it's ok. You're ok. Take your time." Kurt said gently.

Santana forced herself to stop crying and wiped her tears away before continuing. "I don't know how it happened, but one moment we're kissing and the next he was telling me how to give him a blow job. Then...then we were naked and he was fucking me and telling me how special I was and how it would be our secret and I just let him. I let him have sex with me, Kurt. How could I do that?"

"You didn't let him do anything, Santana. You were young and naïve and he took advantage of that." Kurt replied.

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"When I got a little older, I felt so stupid. He completely ignored me whenever he saw me after that. I was such a moron for believing him. He was 17 for fuck's sake! What kind of 17 year old wants a dumb little girl? But back then, I actually believed that we would be together and that we would have some secret romance and I just...I felt so used. I still feel used. There are days where I can't even look at myself in the mirror without wanting to punch myself for my own stupidity!"

"You are not now nor were you ever stupid." Kurt chided softly. "You were only a little girl. How could you possibly defend yourself against him?"

"But I threw myself at him, Kurt!" Santana said angrily as she sat up in the bed. "I kept telling him how much I liked him and how cute I thought he was and-"

"Telling someone you think they're cute is not throwing yourself at them, San. You were only 11 and he was 17 years old. He knew better, you didn't. I'm sure at the time kissing was all you could possibly have even imagined doing with him. You said it yourself, you didn't even know how to do what he was asking you to. You trusted him and he abused that trust. He abused you. He raped you, Santana, and there was absolutely nothing about what happened that was your fault. Nothing you said or did or even wanted gave him the right to steal away the innocence of an 11 year old girl. He was a monster disguised as a cute boy. Please believe me when I tell you that you didn't do anything wrong and you certainly did not allow him to do anything." Kurt replied firmly.

"Then why do I feel so dirty? Why do I feel like such a whore?" Santana cried.

"Because he poisoned your mind, but I promise you, I promise that you aren't a whore." Kurt assured her.

Santana began to cry hysterically, falling into Kurt's arms and clutching onto him for dear life. "I just want to stop feeling like a bad person. I want to stop feeling like I'm worthless."

"I know, sweetie. I know." Kurt cooed. "I know it's hard right now, but it'll get better."

"How could it possibly get better? It's been years and I'm still disgusted by what happened."

"Fight it, San. You are so much stronger now then you were when you were 11. You can fight it. You just have to believe in yourself. Fight the poison he injected you with." Kurt said.

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"Yes." Kurt replied as she sat back up. "His cum was poison and it's been killing you for years. San, you are the most beautiful, strongest girl I have ever met. You can fight this. I'm not saying it won't be hard because it will, but if anyone can fight this and come back ten times stronger, it's you."

Santana offered him a watery smile and nodded. "I've never told anyone what happened."

"Doesn't it feel good getting it off your chest?" Kurt asked. Santana nodded slowly, wiping the tears away. "Well then, good. Telling me was the first step to fighting, San. Letting people in, allowing others to see you like this will help you."

"Like what? A blubbering mess with mascara running down my face?" She quipped.

Kurt smiled softly and wiped away a bit of smudged mascara. "No. Human." Santana rolled her eyes but smiled. "I'm not saying tell the whole world or that you even need to tell anyone else. But letting those you trust and love in, like your parents or Brittany, will be a big help. You can never truly love someone until you love yourself, San. And you should love yourself because you are amazing and one day, you will do amazing things."

Santana took a deep breath and looked away. "Thank you for listening to me and not judging me, Kurt."

"Oh, I'm totally judging you, Satan. This is some very cheap mascara. Not even waterproof! Who plans a night like this without waterproof mascara? Besides, it'll do terrible things to your skin." Kurt teased, earning him a laugh from Santana.

"Yeah well, I guess it's a good thing I have my favorite gay to show me the way." She replied softly.

"Exactly." Kurt said with a small smile. "How about I get my face creams so we can do a proper skin regimen and I can remind you how undeniably beautiful you are?"

"Sure, lady lips. Whatever gets your rocks off." Santana said with a scoff. Kurt shook his head and rolled his eyes as he got off her bed to grab his things.

On the outside, Kurt was calm and collected. On the inside, however, he was angry and heartbroken. He wanted to find the guy that took advantage of Santana and give him a piece of his mind. He wanted to call Beatz and Sebastian, give them the guy's address, and instruct them to beat his ass for putting Santana through such turmoil. He didn't of course, knowing that it wouldn't change anything, but boy did he want

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to. He hoped that talking about what happened to her would help Santana come to terms with it. He hoped she would be able to move on and live a life full of love. He was honored that she would even share such a tragic event with him and he vowed to himself that he would do everything he could to help Santana with her inner demons.

Late that night, Blaine got a text from Kurt thanking him for being such an amazing friend and boyfriend. Blaine knew that Kurt was having his sleepover with Santana and the text made him think that Sebastian had been right about Santana's past. He sent Kurt a quick reply telling him that he loved him and thanking him for being just as amazing before connecting his phone to its charger for the night. Just as he got settled for bed, Cooper knocked on his bedroom door.

"Hey, you got a minute?" Cooper asked from the doorway.

"For you, I have two." Blaine replied as he sat up in bed. "What's up?"

Cooper walked over to Blaine's bed and took a seat at the end. "I wanted to talk to you about Dad."

Blaine stiffened instantly. "What about him?"

"The P.I. found something, something really incriminating, something that would ruin his career." Cooper said

"Seriously?" Blaine asked just a tad too enthusiastically.

Cooper chuckled and nodded. "Seriously, but I'm not going to tell you what it is yet. I want to tell Mom first." Blaine nodded understandingly. "I was hoping the three of us could go to the house once school's out and confront him together. Mom still needs to get some of her things but I don't want her to go by herself. Is that alright with you? Will you be able to confront Dad in just a few weeks?"

Blaine was quiet for a moment, briefly remembering his last encounter with his father. A part of him was still scared of the man, but a stronger, more determined part refused to let his father win. "Yeah, I'll be ready."

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"I'm sure." Blaine said resolutely. "It's going to suck seeing him again anyway, no matter when I do it. I'd rather do it sooner with you and mom then wait. I don't want to spend my summer worrying about him. I don't want to spend another minute being scared of him. The only way that's going to happen is if I confront him and prove to him that I'm more of a man than he'll ever be."

Cooper smiled proudly at his baby brother. "Alright then. We'll confront him together, as a family." "As a family." Blaine repeated.

"Goodnight, Squirt. I love you." Cooper said, ruffling Blaine ungelled hair.

"Night, Coop." Blaine replied. "I love you too." Cooper leaned forward, kissed Blaine on the forehead, and walked out of the room. He was so unbelievably proud of Blaine and their mother for refusing to let Nathan control them. He couldn't wait to finally break them free of his grasp. It was only a matter of time.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

Happy Birthday, Kurt

The Warblers stealthily made their way to the Warbler hall late Monday night. They still needed to finalize the details of Kurt's birthday party but with them always being together, the only chance they had to plan in secret was by sneaking out of their dorms. Wes really wanted to scold them, and himself, for sneaking out but he knew it was the only way.

"Would you chill out, already?" David had said to him at one point. "We have like, three weeks of school left."

"Exactly!" Wes whispered frantically. "If we get caught sneaking out and get in trouble so close to the end of the year then I can just kiss my college career goodbye!"

David rolled his eyes at his best friend and held back a laugh. "Dude, we're just going to the Warbler hall to plan a surprise party. We're not committing a crime. How many times have Kurt and Jeff snuck Santana and Quinn out without getting caught?"

Wes' eyes widened in surprise before narrowing in on David. "I don't know, David. Why don't you tell me how many times they have snuck the girls out because I certainly had no idea they were even sneaking in!" Wes nearly shrieked.

"I thought you were all knowing, Wesley." David teased as they entered the Warbler hall. "Oh, shut up." Wes snapped.

"You really don't like breaking the rules do you?" Sebastian asked Wes in amusement. He was standing in the middle of the room with a box full of gag items they bought in New York.

"No, I don't." Wes grumbled.

"What about Warbler Starry Night? We have to sneak up on the roof for that one." Trent commented.

"One, that's tradition so it's different. Two, since it is tradition, we're not actually sneaking out because the

dean knows." Wes said matter-of-factly.

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"Well gee, Wes, thanks for ruining our fun." Beatz mumbled, clearly upset by the news that the dean was in on their sneaking out to the rooftop.

Wes simply shrugged, a smug smile playing at his lips. "Speaking of which, there's a meteor shower the night before graduation."

"I don't wanna go now." Beatz pouted. "Dean approved fun isn't fun at all."

Sebastian rolled his eyes and started unpacking the box of decorations to organize as they waited for the rest of the Warblers to show up. Once all the boys were in the hall, Beatz and Sebastian began discussing exactly what they wanted to do for Kurt's birthday. It was nothing elaborate but it was sure to embarrass Kurt which was the plan. They briefly discussed inviting the New Directions but Sebastian was quick to squash the idea.

"This is something that we as his brothers are doing for him. We don't need the Nude Erections here causing drama." Sebastian had said resolutely.

"With the exception of Quinn and Santana, of course." Jeff cut in.

"Right." Sebastian agreed, knowing full well how much the two girls meant to Kurt. "Quinn and Santana are more than welcomed but that's it."

"What about his brother?" David asked.

Sebastian mulled over for a moment before shaking his head. "Naw. Leave Sasquatch outta this. He can't keep a secret to save his life. He'll just end up telling the others. Let's leave it just us and the girls." The Warblers agreed and continued planning for the next hour before heading back to the dorms.

Friday morning, Blaine woke Kurt up with a birthday blow job. Kurt had been surprised by the gesture but didn't question it. He figured it was for his birthday so he laid back and enjoyed the way Blaine's tongue lapped over his length. While yes, the blow job was something Blaine wanted to do for Kurt's birthday, it was also a way to keep Kurt in the room for a little longer while the boys prepared the hallway. Once Kurt was thoroughly satisfied, he asked Blaine to shower with him, where he then returned the favor.

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"You are seriously the best boyfriend ever." Kurt said with a content sigh as Blaine finished drying him off.

"I try." Blaine replied with a wink. "Would you like your birthday present now or later?"

"You mean that fabulous blow job wasn't it?" Kurt asked as he slipped his boxers on. Blaine smiled brightly, practically bouncing in excitement as he quickly dried his body off and shook his head no. "Well, since you're obviously very excited, I'd like my present now please."

Blaine kissed Kurt on the nose, slipped his boxers on, and hurried out of the bathroom. Kurt giggled at Blaine's enthusiasm. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been excited for his birthday. The last few years had been so difficult that it was hard for him to enjoy his birthday. But this year was different. He was happy, healthy, safe, and head-over-heels in love. Nothing was going to ruin his birthday this year. He gave Blaine a few moments alone in their dorm before walking out of the bathroom.

Blaine was standing in the middle of the room clad in boxers only with his hands behind his back and a nervous smile gracing his face. Kurt walked over to him, held out his hands, and closed his eyes. A moment later, he felt a small box on the palm of his hands. He opened his eyes slowly, gasping when he saw it was a red jewelry box.

"Open it." Blaine whispered. Kurt took a deep breath, willing his racing heart to slow down, and opened the box.

"You made me bowtie ring using my favorite gum wrappers?" Kurt asked softly, his eyes welling up with tears.

Blaine grabbed the ring out of the box and nodded. "I did." He said as he grabbed Kurt's left hand. "It's a promise ring to keep your hand company until it's time for a real one."

"Blaine." Kurt breathed out as Blaine slipped the ring on.

Blaine locked eyes with Kurt and took a deep breath before speaking his promise. "Kurt Hummel, I promise to always love you and defend you. To always be here for you and to help guide you, no matter how dark or bumpy the road gets. To make you laugh. To let you hide in my arms when you're scared. To always catch you when you fall. But mostly, to be the best boyfriend I can be and to remind you that you are never, nor will you ever be, alone."

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Kurt wiped a tear away with his free hand before launching himself into Blaine's arms. "You're amazing. I love you so much."

"I love you too." Blaine whispered in his ear, leaving a feathery kiss on his jaw before parting. "Come on. We need to get ready for school."

Kurt dressed and gathered his things quickly, excited for the rest of the day. Blaine's promise set the bar for his birthday pretty high and he was certain that nothing could top it nor ruin it. He was more than ready for whatever the Warblers had inevitably planned for him. With his bowtie ring securely on his finger, Kurt draped his messenger bag over his shoulder and headed out of their dorm with Blaine.

As soon as he waked out, a bucket of glittery confetti was dumped on his head. Before he could comment on it, the Warblers hummed softly in the background as Sebastian came around the corner in nothing but his boxers and a white dress shirt.

"Happy Birthday, to you." Sebastian sang seductively as he tried to imitate Marilyn Monroe. "Oh dear God." Kurt laughed.

"Happy Birthday, to you." Beatz, who was dressed exactly like Sebastian, sang from the opposite side of the hall.

"This is so inappropriate!" Kurt said as he covered his eyes.

"Happy Birthday, Mr. Hummel." Beatz and Sebastian sang together as they continued walking over to Kurt. "Happy Birthday, to you."

Kurt rolled his eyes and clapped. "That was great, really. Now go get dressed before I have to burn my eyes out."

"Not yet, princess." Sebastian said, earning him a glare from Kurt. "We still need to dress you appropriately."

"I am dressed appropriately." Kurt replied flatly. Sebastian glanced at Blaine with a wicked grin, prompting him to cover Kurt's eyes. "Blaine!" Kurt tried to remove Blaine's hands but Blaine refused to let go. Kurt then felt two pairs of hands put some sort of sash around him and something on his head. As soon

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as Blaine removed his hands, Kurt glanced down at his body to see that he was wearing a Kiss the Birthday Princess sash. "Oh, no way! I am so not wearing this!"

"Oh, yes you are." Sebastian said before grabbing Kurt's face and kissing him.

"BASTIAN!" Kurt squealed. Beatz then grabbed Kurt's face and kissed him as well. Before Kurt could begin to truly protest, every single Warbler was kissing him.

"Shouldn't you be upset that all these guys are kissing me?" He asked Blaine in between getting kissed. Blaine merely shrugged before kissing Kurt's lips as well.

"You are to wear that all day, Warbler Kurt." Wes said firmly in his councilman voice. "Seriously?"

"Seriously." Wes replied before kissing Kurt.

"I hate you guys." Kurt mumbled as he fixed the tiara on his head.

"No you don't." Jeff smirked. "We thought about getting you a wand too but we figured you'd probably beat us with it."

"You figured right." Kurt quipped.

"Come on, princess. We have an entire school of boys who I'm sure are dying to kiss those pretty lips of yours." Trent said as he and Danny wrapped their arms around him and led him towards the cafeteria. Kurt glanced behind him and mouthed the words help me to Blaine. Blaine smiled and shook his head, laughing when Kurt pouted.

"Did you guys really set up confetti bombs throughout the whole school?" Blaine asked Jeff. "Yes, yes we did." Jeff laughed.

"The janitors are going to hate you guys." Blaine said, laughing along.

Jeff merely shrugged. "It's worth it."

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Throughout the rest of the day, Kurt was kissed by every Dalton boy who knew him personally. Those who didn't blew kisses his way instead. Several times at random moments, Kurt would suddenly be covered with confetti. The first couple of times had been funny. But by fourth period, Kurt was infuriated with his friends for it. He never knew when or where the confetti would drop, which made the entire school a hazard zone.

By the end of the day, Kurt was more than ready to head home. He loved his friends, really he did, but he was certain that he was going to kill one of at any given moment. But before he was allowed to head home, he and Danny needed to sit in the councilman meeting to discuss the following year. He waited for Danny in the sophomore common room so they could walk to the Warbler hall together, only to receive a text from him saying that he was already there. With a frustrated sigh, Kurt readjusted the tiara he was forced to wear all day and headed to the Warbler hall.

As soon as Kurt opened the double doors, more confetti was dropped on his head. "Are you fucking kidding me?!"

"SURPRISE!"

Kurt glared at his friends as they hooted. One more confetti bomb and he would lose it. "That better be the last one."

"It is." Sebastian grinned.

"Happy Birthday, Kurt!" Quinn squealed as she ran up to him to give a kiss.

"Happy Birthday." Santana said with a smile, kissing him on the cheek.

"Thanks, girls." Kurt smiled.

"Hey! How come they don't get yelled at like we did?" Jeff pouted.

"Because they're special to me and you're just annoying." Kurt quipped. "Can I please take this off now?"

he asked, gesturing to the sash.

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"No!" The boys answered simultaneously.

"Now get your ass in here so we can embarrass you some more!" Beatz shouted.

Kurt shook his head as Santana and Quinn led him to the center of the room where there was a chair disguised as a throne. "Now this, I could get used to." He said haughtily.

"Alright, now that the princess is settled, it's time to show him exactly why we love him so much." Sebastian said from the front of the room as the Warblers settled around him. "Ladies and gentleman, we present to you the beauty that is Kurt Hummel."

The lights were suddenly turned off as the projector screen lowered from the ceiling. Kurt was going to ask what was going on when the movie started. Or rather, the slide show. Beatz, who had a knack for videography, compiled a slideshow of all the pictures of Kurt that showed him being anything but graceful. There were some of him making weird faces while performing, some of him falling down, some of him yelling at people, some of him with facial creams on, and some of him stuffing his face with food. The ones that got the most laughs were the ones where he was caught yelling at people. The pictures were funny sure, but it was the commentary from Beatz and Jeff that made them hilarious.

Once the slideshow of funny Kurt was over, the nice pictures started. They ranged from candids of him laughing to some of Blaine and him cuddling in various places, and a few of him talking with the underclassman. By the end of the video, Kurt had cried both from laughing so hard at the funny pictures and being touched by the sweet ones. It was by far his best birthday ever.

"You guys didn't have to do all this for me." Kurt said when the lights were turned back on. "Yes, we did." Sebastian smiled. "Now get up there and tell us how much you love us."

Kurt got out of the chair, finally removing the sash and tiara despite the yells of protest, and stood in front of the boys.

"Well, today has certainly been eventful and while I'll be getting glitter out of my hair for the rest of my life, I truly appreciate what you've all done for me." Kurt said with a nod. "I've had this song in my back pocket for a while now but it never seemed like the right time to sing it. I guess now is a good a time as ever. This is dedicated to all of you. It's been a rough year and if it hadn't been for you guys, I don't know where I'd be. So, thank you."

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Kurt took a deep breath as he glanced around the room, his eyes landing on Blaine's last. The song may be dedicated to the group as a whole, but it was meant for Blaine and he wanted Blaine to know that.

It's not so easy lovin' me It gets so complicated

All the things you gotta be Everything's changing But you're the truth

I'm amazed by all your patience Everything I put you through

And when I'm about to fall Somehow you're always waiting Your open arms to catch me You're gonna save me from myself From myself, yes

You're gonna save me from myself

Just like the first time the Warblers ever heard Kurt truly sing, they were in tears. There was something almost haunting about the way he sang and the emotion he put forth while singing was moving. Kurt lost himself on the lyrics of the song. It wasn't just Blaine and the Warblers that saved him, it was Dalton. As silly as it may sound, he silently dedicated the song to the school that had become his home.

My love is tainted by your touch Well some guys have shown me aces But you got that royal flush

I know it's crazy every day

Well tomorrow may be shaky

But you never turn away

Don't ask me why I'm crying 'Cause when I start to crumble You know how to keep me smiling You always save me from myself From myself, myself

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You're gonna save me from myself

I know it's hard, it's hard

But you've broken all my walls You've been my strength, so strong

And don't ask me why I love you It's obvious your tenderness

Is what I need to make me

A better man

To myself

To myself, myself

You're gonna save me from my Myself

The room erupted as Kurt held out the last note. He laughed at their enthusiasm as he wiped his own set of tears away. Beatz was the first to react. He ran clear across the room and embraced Kurt in a hug. Within the next few moments, all the Warblers were piling up to hug Kurt.

"Why do you always gotta make me cry, man?" David grumbled.

"It's a gift." Kurt shrugged. "I can't thank you guys enough for everything you've done for me." "Stop it! Stop trying to make me cry!" David shouted dramatically, making the room laugh. "It's time for cake anyway!" Beatz hollered above the laughter.

The rest of the evening was spent eating cake, opening presents, most of which were gag gifts, and making jokes at Kurt's expense. When curfew hit, Santana and Quinn went home and the boys went back to their dorms.

Kurt called his dad and told him that he would be home the next day, using the excuse that he was too tired to drive all the way to Lima. Burt told him it was fine, wished him happy birthday again, and promised to have a special meal for him that following day. As soon as Burt hung up with Kurt, he looked

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up at Cooper with a questioning glance. The two men were having a late dinner together at Breadstix to discuss their summer plans for the boys and Burt was eager to ask Cooper about his son.

"Kurt too tired to drive home?" Cooper asked as he sipped on his drink.

"Yeah. The boys threw him a surprise birthday party. I'm sure he's just about ready to strangle them all." Burt joked. "Hey Cooper, can I ask you a question concerning my son?"

"Of course." Cooper replied.

"I'm sure he's talked with Blaine about what happened to him at McKinley and I know Blaine shares a lot with you. So, I guess I was just wondering if Blaine's told you anything." Burt said nervously.

Cooper sat back in his seat and nodded. "Yes, Blaine has told me some things. In fact, Kurt's told me everything."

"He has?" Burt asked, both surprised and hurt that Kurt hadn't shared the details with him.

"He has." Cooper nodded. "I'm sure he didn't want to, but when my father decided to pay Blaine a visit at school, Kurt and a few other boys talked about what happened to them in order to get Blaine to open up."

"I see." Burt nodded.

"I take it Kurt hasn't given you the details?" Cooper asked softly.

"No, he hasn't." Burt sighed. "Well, he gave me some bullshit story about that Karofsky kid giving him a hard time but I gotta be honest with you, I don't believe it for a second. I know my son. I raised him to be a strong man and I refuse to believe that all that happened was simple taunting."

Cooper took a deep breath and nodded. "You're right. It was much more than simple taunting."

"How bad, Cooper? You don't have to tell me everything. I don't want you to break Kurt's trust but...how bad was it? Really?" Burt asked desperately.

Cooper really didn't want to be the one to tell Burt that his son was raped in school. But the look of desperation and fear in Burt's eyes made him tell him some sort of truth. "Kurt was sexually assaulted."

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"HE WHAT?!" Burt bellowed.

"I can't tell you the details, but that Dave boy really messed him up." Cooper said apologetically. "I'll kill him! I don't care that he's just a kid! He touched my son! I'll kill him!" Burt rambled angrily. "Burt, you need to calm down." Cooper said softly.

"HOW COULD I POSSIBLY CALM DOWN?!"

Cooper reached over the table and grabbed Burt's hands in his own. "This is why Kurt hasn't told you anything. He's scared that you're going to have another heart attack and if you don't calm down, you just might."

Burt took deep shaky breaths to calm himself, all the while thinking of ways that he could commit murder without getting caught. "When you say, sexually assaulted, what exactly do you mean?"

Cooper shook his head. "Talk with Kurt when he gets home tomorrow. You need to hear it from him." Cooper replied.

"Just...tell me he's ok, Cooper. Tell me that whatever that monster did to my son didn't ruin him." Burt pleaded.

"Now you know it didn't. If anything it made him stronger. Sending him to Dalton when you did was a smart choice." Cooper sighed.

"Does Finn know?" Burt asked.

"Possibly. I'm not entirely sure." Cooper shrugged. "Come on. Let's get out of here and go for a walk. That way you can calm down a bit more. Sound good?"

"Fine." Burt grumbled. He didn't want to go for a walk. He didn't want to calm down. He wanted to force Cooper to tell him exactly what he knew. But he didn't. He knew that Cooper was right. He needed to take a breather before he landed in the hospital again. As it was his heart hurt from the mere thought of what horrendous torture Kurt was put through. He knew one thing for sure though. Screw waiting until school

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was over to talk. Tomorrow afternoon, they were going to go for a drive and Kurt was going to tell him exactly what happened whether he wanted to or not.

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CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

The End is Only the Beginning

"Sit." Burt instructed, his tone leaving no room for discussion.

Kurt cautiously sat in the chair, unsure of what was going on. As soon as he walked through the door that Sunday morning, his dad pulled him into his office to talk. Burt was using his Papa Bear Hummel voice which Kurt knew meant he was in trouble, though he had no idea what for. Burt took the seat across from his son, doing his best to contain his anger. He had talked with Finn the night before after his dinner with Cooper and now had a pretty good idea of exactly what happened to his son. But he needed to hear it from Kurt.

"I'm going to get straight to the point, son." Burt started. "I talked with Cooper, I talked with Finn, and now, I want you tell me."

Kurt blanched. Was his dad really saying what he thought he was? "What?" he stammered.

"Don't act like you have no idea what I'm talking about, Kurt." Burt said firmly. "I know what happened,

what really happened, and you are going to tell me everything right now. From beginning to end." "But Dad, your heart! I don't-"

"My heart is fine, Kurt. Tell me. Now."

Kurt looked down at his hands, wringing them nervously. As much as he didn't want to delve into the details, he knew there was no way out of telling his father the truth. Kurt took a shuddering breath and glanced up at his dad, unshed tears already filling his eyes.

"It started at the beginning of sophomore year."

Burt listened intently as Kurt told him everything from the first kiss to the horrific moments in the janitor's closest. Kurt also told him about the New Directions plan to get Karofsky back and how the Warblers stepped in. The more he told his dad, the harder it was for him to keep level headed. He hadn't thought about what happened in months. His memories hadn't taunted him in so long that he had actually

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forgotten how painful it all was. By the time Kurt was done telling his story, both he and Burt were in tears.

"I'm so sorry, Dad." Kurt cried into his father's shoulder. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I was just so scared."

Burt hugged his son tighter as his own set of tears fell. "Stop apologizing, son. You did nothing wrong." Burt couldn't be angry with his son. He understood why Kurt hadn't told him and while he wished that he had known what happened sooner, he couldn't hold it against Kurt. "I'm sorry for not seeing the signs sooner. I should've known that something was wrong. Maybe if I had-"

"No, Dad!" Kurt said quickly, backing away from the hug. "Don't do that. Don't blame yourself. No one could've known how truly bad it was because I didn't let them."

"Kurt, you were raped, in school! That's not right!" Burt said angrily. "I'm going up there first thing tomorrow and-"

"And what, Dad?" Kurt interrupted. "There's no proof that it happened and Karofsky's gone. Yelling at Figgins will do no good."

"Kurt-"

"Dad, please! This is another reason why I didn't tell you. I knew you'd go up to the school and try and get justice for me but there's no point. It's not worth the heartache." Kurt implored.

"Of course it is!" Burt shouted. "Kurt, you are worth the heartache. You are worth so much more!"

"I know that Dad but please, please let this go." Kurt begged. "It's done and over with. It happened and I've moved on. I'm ok now but if you dredge this all up I won't be."

Burt looked at his son, the desperation for him to let it go evident on Kurt's face. With a reluctant sigh, Burt nodded. "Fine. But you and I are going to see this doctor at Dalton. You said he checked you out and everything was ok? Well, I want to talk to him and make sure that everything really is ok. Understood?"

"Yes, of course." Kurt nodded. "Thank you, Dad."

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"Sure thing, son." Burt replied, giving Kurt a tight hug. "Come on. Let's go eat some lunch and then I'll take you to school."

Kurt nodded and sighed, and headed towards the door. "Dad, how much trouble is Finn in?" "Oh, he is in deep shit." Burt replied seriously.

"Don't be too hard on him, please?"

"No can do, Bud. What he and your friends did was not only dangerous, it was illegal, and you better believe that I will be contacting their parents." Burt said as they walked past Finn who had been lingering in the hallway. Kurt sent Finn an apologetic look but Finn shrugged it off. He wasn't mad at Kurt for telling his dad everything. He knew what they had done would end up catching up with them. If anything, he was grateful that it was finally all out on the open. He would have to text the New Directions and tell them the jig was up before Burt and his mom took his cell phone away. He suddenly realized that his summer was going to suck, big time.

After a long, awkward talk with Dalton's physician, Burt left satisfied that Kurt's health was intact. As soon as Burt was gone, Kurt hurried up to the dorms to meet Blaine. He had texted Blaine on the drive back to Dalton and filled him in. Blaine then quickly made it back to Dalton in order to be there for Kurt. He knew that Kurt delving into his past once more and telling his father the details would put Kurt in a rough place and he wanted to be there to comfort him. But Blaine didn't find what he'd expected. Instead of tears and cuddles, Kurt instantly pulled him into a passionate kiss.

"Baby, slow down." Blaine said breathlessly as Kurt's lips made their way down his neck.

Kurt looked up, his eyes pleading. "I need you, Blaine. I can't stop thinking about it and I just...I need you. I

need to feel you. I'm ready. I've been ready. Please, Blaine. Take me."

"Are you sure?" Blaine asked gently, though his voice was laced with desire.

Kurt nodded frantically, his hands pulling at Blaine's collar in desperation. They had talked enough about it for Blaine to know what Kurt wanted, needed even. Kurt didn't want the slow love-making for his first time bottoming. He didn't want Blaine to be sweet and caring. He wanted Blaine to dominate him. He

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wanted Blaine to take total control of his body. At first he thought it was because, like Sebastian had told him, he was turned on by the idea of BDSM. As time went on and Kurt thought about it though, he realized the real reason was because he needed Blaine, the one person he trusted most, to take away his control. He knew Blaine would take care of him. He knew Blaine would be attentive to his needs. He didn't fear Blaine the way he had Karofsky and he needed to be shown that love controlled all else.

With one more tug of Blaine's shirt, the air around them shifted. Blaine's fingers dug into Kurt's waist possessively as he pinned Kurt against the door. Kurt gasped, an entirely new kind of arousal coursing through him. Blaine wasted no time, attaching his lips to the spot on Kurt's neck that never ceased to turn Kurt into a mumbling mess. Kurt threw his head back against the door, biting his lower lip to prevent from moaning out too loud. As Blaine's tongue lapped Kurt's skin, creating a hickey Kurt was sure to kill him for later, his hands roamed down Kurt's thighs roughly.

"Blaine." Kurt whimpered. "Bed."

Blaine quickly obliged. In one swift motion, Blaine pulled Kurt away from the door and tossed him on the bed. He looked Kurt up and down, an almost predatory look in his eyes, sending shivers down Kurt's spine.

"Off." Blaine demanded as he unbuttoned his shirt.

Kurt literally shivered from anticipation and arousal. He quickly discarded his clothes, his eyes locked with Blaine. Kurt bit his lip, stroking himself as his eyes scanned his boyfriend's now naked body. Blaine slapped Kurt's hand away though, taking Kurt's length firmly in his grasp.

"Nu, uh gorgeous. That's my job." Blaine said, his voice dripping with seduction.

Kurt whined, unable to control himself. He loved it when Blaine's voice went low and gritty. Blaine settled his body in-between Kurt's legs, which naturally wrapped around Blaine's torso.

"So sexy." Blaine murmured against Kurt's skin as he kissed down Kurt's neck. "So beautiful." Kurt squirmed under Blaine's touch. He was never one for patience and Blaine loved to tease.

Blaine slotted their cocks together, both moaning from the contact, before placing his hands on Kurt's hips possessively. He continued to lick and nip Kurt's chest, reveling in the breathy, needy moans that escaped Kurt's lips. Kurt wanted desperately to beg for more. His fingers gripped the bed sheets, his body writhing

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uncontrollably as his boyfriend teased him. But he wouldn't ask for more. He wouldn't say a single word. He needed Blaine to do whatever he saw fit, no matter how long it took.

It didn't take much longer for Blaine to finally stop teasing though. The whimpers Kurt emanated were driving him wild and he was about ready to explode. Blaine sat back on his legs, letting his eyes roam down Kurt's lithe body.

"Turn over." Blaine all but growled.

An eager whimper escaped Kurt's lips as he untangled his legs and turned onto his stomach. As Blaine reached underneath the bed for the lube, Kurt grabbed their pillows, placing them underneath his stomach. He could feel Blaine shift around behind him, a new sense of excitement setting in. He loved everything about Blaine's cock and the realization that he was going to be filled with it made another needy whine escape his lips.

Blaine chuckled behind him, coating his fingers thoroughly. "You're so sexy like this." Kurt gasped in response as Blaine's finger teased his puckered hole. "So sexy."

"Blaine." Kurt breathed out, lifting his ass instinctively, forcing Blaine's finger inside him. "Oh God." He mewled at the new sensation.

Blaine slowly worked Kurt open despite Kurt's desperate moans. He wanted to make sure that Kurt was fully stretched for him, not wanting to risk hurting his beloved. As he entered his third finger, brushing up against the bundle of nerves, Kurt's resolve broke.

"Blaine, please!" Kurt begged, no longer willing to let Blaine have full control. "Please, baby. I need you so bad." Blaine ignored him though and continued to work his boyfriend open. "Blaine! I'm going to cum baby! Please! I need you in me now!"

Blaine pulled his fingers out, chuckling softly. Blaine had been waiting for him to beg, craving it. He wanted to make Kurt completely desperate for it. But not because it was hot, which it was, but because he wanted Kurt to need him so badly that any thoughts of Karofsky couldn't possibly pass through his mind. Kurt whined loudly waiting for Blaine. The room was spinning with his desire and he needed release. Blaine coated his throbbing cock, lined it up with Kurt entrance, and slid only his head in before leaning over Kurt's body.

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"You're the most amazing person in the entire world." Blaine whispered into Kurt's ear, holding Kurt's hips still so that Kurt couldn't force himself onto Blaine's cock. "You're beautiful and powerful," Blaine said, leaving feathery kisses on the back of Kurt's neck. "And you're mine. All mine."

"Yes! Yours! All yours!" Kurt panted desperately.

Blaine finally slid inside Kurt, a deep guttural moan escaping his lips. "God you feel good." "Good. So good." Kurt said in a whisper.

Blaine pulled out slowly and thrust back in with more fervor. It didn't take long for them to find a steady rhythm. The closer they got to falling off the edge, the harder Blaine thrust in. With one final hard thrust, hitting the nerve bundle perfectly, Kurt threw his head back, moaning Blaine's name as he came. Blaine came right after, his fingers digging into Kurt's skin, no doubt leaving marks. As Kurt's body became lax, Blaine slowly pulled out before resting his body on top of Kurt's.

They laid there for a moment as they came down from their orgasm high. When Kurt finally caught his breath, he started laughing. "That was...just perfect." Kurt breathed out. "You're perfect."

Blaine kissed the side of Kurt's neck with a smile. "You're perfect. I love you."

Kurt turned his head, catching Blaine's lips in a sweet kiss. "I love you." he whispered against Blaine's lips. They kissed languidly for only a moment before getting up to shower together. What a perfect way to end such a stressful day.

The final two weeks of school flew by and before they knew it, it was Graduation. Many of the underclassmen cried throughout the ceremony. They were proud of their oldest brothers for making it to such an important event in their lives but they were also sad to see them go. It was a bittersweet ending but they all knew that they couldn't stay hidden inside the walls of Dalton forever. They too would be graduating one day and they hoped to be as strong as their senior brothers.

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After Wes delivered a heart wrenching Valedictorian speech, before the diplomas were handed out, Blaine

took the stage.

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"Good morning, everyone." Blaine greeted the crowd, taking a seat on a stool, his guitar hanging off the side. "I was asked to sing a song that represented what it means to be a Dalton boy, and although it took me a while to decide on a song that fit, I did find one which I truly feel speaks to us all. Many of us haven't had the easiest of times. We've got scars that are so deep that we feel like we'll never be able to heal and move on. But the scars and the pain are what make us who we are, it's what makes us strong. I know that if it wasn't for my own scars, I never would've learned how to fight back, and I know it's the same for many of you."

"These walls, our teachers and our friends, they kept us safe when we were in danger, be it from the outside world or ourselves. They helped make us strong and gave us the tools to keep fighting. Out there, in the real world, we will be tested by obstacles that will try to break the strength Dalton has provided, but we will fight back, and we will win. Never forget the things we've learned here, about ourselves, about each other. It's a part of us, it's what makes us who we are, and as long as we hold on to that strength, nothing will tear us down." Blaine closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath before singing out to his brothers.

Days like this,

I want to drive away

Pack my bags

And watch your shadow fade You chewed me up

And spit me out

Like I was poison in your mouth

You took my light You drained me down But that was then And this is now

Now look at me,

This is the part of me

That you're never gonna ever take away from me, no This is the part of me

That you're never gonna ever take away from me, no

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Throw your sticks and your stones, Throw your bombs and your blows, But you're not gonna break my soul

This is the part of me

That you're never gonna ever take away from me, no

Blaine sang with such passion that by the time he finished the song, there wasn't a dry eye in the auditorium. The dean met him center stage and shook his hand proudly. Blaine smiled and then looked out into the audience, out to Kurt and his mother and Cooper. He knew that no matter what happened, no one could take them or Dalton away from him.

The Warblers gathered in the rehearsal hall one last time right after the ceremony to say goodbye. As the newly graduated seniors made summer plans with the underclassmen, Kurt pulled Sebastian away, leading him to the secluded corner in the library where their friendship truly began.

"I have something for you." Kurt said softly, pulling out a square velvet box from his blazer. "I wanted to take you on a best friend date and give you this but these past few weeks have been so hectic that I never got the chance."

Sebastian took the box from Kurt, a small smile on his lips, and opened it. Inside was a red and navy blue stainless steel bangle from the Love and Pride store. Engraved inside the bangle was a simple message that meant the world to both of them.

K S Kindred Spirits

"It's beautiful, Kurt. Thank you." Sebastian said with a teasing smirk. "I got you something too, to show you how much I've appreciated your friendship and if this doesn't prove we're best friends then nothing will."

Kurt watched Sebastian in confusion as he pulled out a square velvet box from his blazer. Kurt raised a curious brow as Sebastian handed it to him. Inside was a plain stainless steel bangle from the Love and Pride store, its logo marking the front, and on the inside had the same message engraved. Kurt let out a choked laugh before throwing himself into Sebastian's arms.

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"I'm going to miss you so much next year." Kurt cried. Sebastian meant so much to him, almost as much as Blaine, and the realization of not having him around on a daily basis was almost too much to bare.

Sebastian shushed Kurt, gently stroking his hair. "I know. I'm going to miss you too."

"Promise me we'll Skype all the time." Kurt said as they parted. "Promise me we'll still be best friends even though you're in New York and I'm stuck here."

"I promise." Sebastian replied with an amused grin.

"I'm serious, Bastian." Kurt said firmly. "I swear to God if you find yourself another fabulous gay best friend I will-"

"I won't find another fabulous gay best friend because there is no one as fabulous as you." Sebastian assured him. "We will be 80 years old and you will still be my number one fabulous gay."

"You swear it?" Kurt asked.

"I swear it." Sebastian said with a nod. "Will you stop crying now? We're spending two weeks in Paris together in like a month, Kurt. You're going to see me again."

"I know." Kurt grumbled as he wiped his tears away. "But we'll never have this again." He said sadly, gesturing to their surroundings.

"We'll always have this." Sebastian said. "Who knows, maybe next year you'll be able to take someone under your wing and this spot could be as special for you two as it has been for us."

Kurt shook his head fervently. "No way. This spot will only ever be the Kurtbastian spot."

Sebastian threw his head back in laughter. "Beatz really needs to stop coming up with combined names."

"Hey, I like Kurtbastian." Kurt laughed as they stood up and made their way out of the library. "It's better than what he calls Trent and Danny."

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Sebastian snorted and nodded. Sebastian could still see Trent throwing himself across the table to attack Beatz the day he'd dubbed them Tranny. Sebastian had laughed so hard that day that he nearly choked on his food. He was going to miss his brothers' shenanigans.

It was a week after school let out that Blaine, Cooper, and Julianne went back to the Anderson home. The plan was for Blaine and Julianne to pack whatever they needed and then wait for Nathan to come home. Nathan always came home for a couple of hours at lunch time so they went early in the morning, packed and loaded the cars, then waited in his office.

Nathan drove into the driveway just past one in the afternoon, immediately noticing his wife's car and Cooper's car parked on the street. He scoffed when he saw that both cars were filled with boxes. If Julianne truly believed that she was going to get any of his hard earned money than she was dumber than he thought. He wasted no time walking into the house and straight over to his office where he was sure they were waiting for him. He was shocked though to see that Blaine was with them too. Cooper was sitting at his desk, a smug grin in place, while Julianne and Blaine stood behind him.

"What the hell are you doing in my house?" Nathan glowered, his eyes filled with rage.

"Hello, Dad." Cooper said politely. "Why don't you take a seat so we can talk?"

"There's nothing to talk about!" Nathan snapped. "This is my office, my house, and I want you out!"

"Now Dad, let's at least try and be civil." Blaine said feigning confidence that hid his overwhelming nerves.

"Don't you dare speak to me you fucking queer!" Nathan bellowed. "Get out or I'll call the cops for trespassing!"

"Oh yes, please call the police." Cooper encouraged. "In fact, call your employer too. That way they're all here together to hear how you've been stealing from the company."

Nathan's eyes went wide at the accusation. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Blaine." Cooper said, raising his hand above his head. Blaine handed Cooper a manila envelope before crossing his arms and staring at his father somberly. Cooper opened the envelope and removed its

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contents. "Let's see here, you have approximately 2.3 million dollars in a combined total of 6 different off shore accounts. I believe these are the bank statements." Cooper said, placing the first few sheets of paper down. "On these next few pages, it shows how you've been skimming money off the top for over 20 years."

Cooper set the sheets down on top of the first. "And lastly, we have pictures of you and your boss' wife having a lovely, private dinner, on her husband's yacht this past summer." Cooper placed the pictures down facing up. "Now the pictures were the hardest to come by since it was a while back but fortunately that dock has a very good security system and I hired a very good P.I." Nathan snatched the pictures and sheets of paper off his desk, looking at them incredulously before angrily ripping them apart. "Those were your copies by the way. I have the original documents at home." Cooper sat back in his father's chair, reveling in the undeniable fear in Nathan's eyes.

"What do you want?" Nathan asked through gritted teeth.

Cooper smiled victoriously, gesturing to the chair in front of the desk. "Have a seat. There's a lot we need to discuss."

Later that night, just as the Hudmel's were settling in for the night, there was a knock on the front door. Burt paused halfway up the stairs, and turned back around to answer the door.

He opened the front door to find an exhausted looking Blaine standing on his porch, an overnight bag hung on his shoulder "Blaine? What are you doing here? Is everything alright?" Burt asked, ushering him in, immediately concerned.

"Yes, Burt, everything's ok." Blaine said with a long sigh. "I'm sorry for dropping in so late. I just needed to see Kurt."

"No need to apologize. I'm just glad you're ok." Burt said warmly. "You staying the night?" "If that's alright." Blaine said sheepishly.

"Yes, of course. Is Kurt expecting you?" Burt wondered.

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Blaine shook his head. "No. I haven't had the chance to talk much with him today. We went to see my dad this afternoon and it's been a really long day and I just..."

"Needed to see Kurt?" Burt supplied.

"Yeah."

"Well go on up. I think he's still in Finn's room watching The Avengers again." Burt told him. "Thanks, Burt." Blaine smiled. "And not just for letting me stay, for everything."

Burt smiled gently, pulling Blaine in for hug. "No need to thank me son. You're always welcome here." Blaine held onto Burt tightly, reveling in the warmth and protection that only came from a father, before releasing the hug and heading upstairs.

Just as Loki threw Tony Stark through the glass window, Blaine knocked on Finn's open door. "Surprise."

"Blaine?" Kurt said in surprise, quickly getting up and running into his boyfriend's arms. "What's going on? What are you doing here?"

"Long day." Blaine shrugged. "I needed to see you. Your dad said I can stay the night."

"Are you ok?" Kurt asked with concern.

"Yeah, I'm ok." Blaine said with a small smile.

"We're going to bed, Finn. Night." Kurt grabbed hold of Blaine's hand and hurried him to his room, not waiting for Finn to say goodnight back.

Once they were alone in Kurt's room, Kurt quickly surveyed Blaine for any physical signs of something being wrong. "Well, you look ok. Tired, but ok." Kurt concluded.

"I told you I was alright." Blaine said with a small chuckle. "We went to see my dad today but could I maybe shower before I tell you?"

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"Of course." Kurt said, kissing Blaine's forehead lightly. "I'll be waiting right here for you." Blaine smiled gratefully, giving Kurt a quick kiss before leaving the bedroom.

Twenty minutes later, a significantly more relaxed Blaine came shuffling back into Kurt's room. He dropped his bag on the floor and plopped down on the bed next to Kurt, his face buried into the pillow. Kurt chuckled softly and laid down, reaching over to run his fingers through Blaine's hair. Blaine hummed in contentment.

"You sure you're alright?" Kurt asked softly.

Blaine sighed and nodded, turning his body to face Kurt, draping an arm around Kurt's torso. "Yeah, I'm good."

"So, what happened?" Kurt asked cautiously.

"Cliff notes version is my mother is getting a very generous divorce settlement, he's paying for Dalton next year and for my college, and he is never to speak to us again." Blaine said with a satisfied grin.

"Wow. How'd you manage that?" Kurt questioned.

"Let's just say that daddy dearest has some very big skeletons in his closet he'd rather keep hidden." Blaine laughed. "Honestly, I'd rather expose him for the fraud that he is and see him rot in jail, but this is what Coop and Mom want, so I went along with it." Kurt nodded, snuggling closer to Blaine and kissing him gently. "I'm glad it's over though."

"Me too." Kurt smiled.

"Can we go to sleep now? We spent all day moving out of my grandmother's house and into Uncle Peter's. Between the emotional roller-coaster with my dad and moving, I'm exhausted." Blaine yawned.

Kurt snuggled closer, wrapping his arms around Blaine. Blaine placed his head on Kurt's chest and intertwined their legs. "Goodnight. I love you." Kurt whispered, kissing the top of Blaine's head.

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"Night. Love you too." Blaine mumbled as sleep began to take over. Kurt played with Blaine's curls for a while, humming softly as the boy he loved slept. It had been one hell of a year but somehow they got through it all together. And together, they would make it through anything.

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EPILOGUE

Ten years later

"Guys! It's starting!" Sebastian shouted out, raising the volume on the TV.

Thad, Nick, and Beatz rushed into the living room, plopping down on the couch eagerly as the red carpet started. They watched as celebrity after celebrity walked down and were interviewed, keeping their eyes out for their friends. They still couldn't believe it. They couldn't get over the fact that Blaine had become a huge movie star. After Blaine's leading role in the Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, his acting career skyrocketed. He still preferred performing on stage, but Hollywood had snatched him up and refused to give him back.

"There they are!" Nick exclaimed as Kurt and Blaine appeared on the TV. "Man, they look good!" Both men were wearing one of a kind, Kurt Anderson-Hummel originals. Kurt's fashion design career was just as successful as Blaine's acting career, if not more so. Men and women from all over the world paid top dollar to wear his clothing and only a lucky few were able to say that the suit or dress they wore were custom made for them.

"We are now joined by Hollywood's hottest couple, the Anderson-Hummel's." The interviewer said as Kurt and Blaine stepped up. "Blaine, Kurt, it's a pleasure to see you guys."

"It's a pleasure to be seen." Kurt preened, showing off his tux.

"Well dressed like that I can't blame you." The interviewer said. "You're both wearing K.A.H. originals, yes?"

"Of course." Blaine answered. "As if he'd let us leave the house wearing anything else." He joked.

Kurt playfully smacked Blaine's arm and Blaine leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. "You two are adorable." The interviewer gushed. "Now Blaine, you're up for Best Male Actor tonight. How does that feel?"

"It's surreal. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that I would be here." Blaine replied modestly. "You're up against some big names; do you think you'll win?"

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"I have no idea." Blaine laughed. "To be nominated for an Oscar is a huge honor, but to actually win? I don't know what I'd do with myself."

"What about you, Kurt? Do you think he'll win Best Actor tonight?"

"I think he has a real shot but then again, I'm biased so I'm not sure how much my opinion matters." Kurt said

with a small laugh.

"Don't tell the other nominees I said this but I think he's got a real shot too." The interviewer said conspiringly. Kurt laughed and Blaine blushed bashfully. "And hey look at it this way, even if you don't win, you'll most certainly be the best dressed."

"That's what I said!" Kurt exclaimed.

"Well, good luck to you, Blaine." The interviewer said as she kissed his cheek. "We'll see you in there."

The ex-Warblers watched the Oscars anxiously, pointing Kurt and Blaine out any time they were on screen. When it came to the Best Male Actor category and they announced the nominees, Beatz began to panic.

"Oh man, he's not going to win. There's no way he's going to win." "Dude, shut up!" Sebastian snapped.

"He's going up against Ryan Gosling and Leonardo DiCaprio! There's no way he's going to win!" Beatz argued.

"I swear to God Beatz-"

Sebastian didn't get to finish his threat though because the presenter ripped open the envelope to announce the winner.

"And the Oscar for Best Male Actor Blaine Anderson-Hummel!" - 475 -

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