Hello, I'm C Coulter, your writer for this fic.
I'd like to thank everyone for their wonderful words of kindness from the reviews-I can honestly say that I didn't expect quite so favorable a response from something out of flight of fancy, and I am grateful to each and every one of you. To the person who asked if I posted this to the LJ communities, no, I have not; I don't have quite the confidence needed to post it someplace other than here-and I have seen quite a few wonderful ones there, and am rather intimidated.
Nevertheless, as usual, I do hope everyone will enjoy the second episode. A word: I have attempted to follow by what I have mentioned at the final part of the first chapter, but it seemed that it went to a somewhat different direction from what I originally intended. All the same, I found it satisfying, as I always like Kurt's happiness the most, and it is something I felt he might have to go through to fully enjoy happiness.
I hope you like it, thank you. :)
(As always, I do not own the marvelousness that is Glee.)
Episode 2: Warbling
I'm Kurt. And this is Dalton Academy.
As you may know, I just transferred here in order to avoid some…difficulties in McKinley. Don't get me wrong: I love the glee club back at McKinley—but the truth is, push came to shove and now…here I am. I'm officially a student at Dalton.
Blaine, David, and Wes are helping me get used to things here, but after meeting the twins and seeing Windsor, I'm starting to get a little bit…concerned. And from the looks of things, this was only the beginning.
I just hope I know what I just got myself into.
Blaine, looking down at the book he had just pulled out from the stacks, turned a corner of the shelves and collided with a figure that was waiting for the opportunity to catch him in private. He looked up, startled, and then immediately rolled his eyes. "Dwight! I told you a million times to stop lurking in the shelves."
"Blaine," hissed the slightly taller, skinnier male, so pale that he was almost translucent, the only color on him being his lips (red from perpetual nervous biting), and the crop of black hair contrasting powerfully against his pallor. He was hugging a large tome with a pentagram on the cover. "I need to talk to you!"
"I thought you weren't allowed into the library anymore," Blaine blinked. He imagined that someone throwing rock salt onto the shelves was one incident that library staff was not going to overlook.
Dwight waved it away, irritated. "Whatever, I need my research material. I am this close to exorcising the church bell tower once and for all."
"Look, Dwight, intriguing as all this is…" Blaine rolled his eyes and glanced to the librarian who was starting to wonder where the noise was coming from, "…I need to get back to my geography assignment."
"I need to talk to you about that new kid."
"Kurt?" Blaine glanced at him as he headed back to the desk he had claimed. "What about him?"
"He's moving into Windsor, right? Shouldn't you consult me first before all this? What if there's something malignant in one of the empty rooms? Do you remember that time Reed went into one of the closets in an empty room and he came running out screaming?"
"One, Reed has the tendency to go extremely over the top with everything as he is terribly danger-prone," Blaine responded calmly, noting in great detail the tropical areas as detailed in the book. "And two, Reed didn't go into a closet—he went into one of the bathrooms to get some cleaning supplies left there, tripped and the shower curtain collapsed on him. Of course he would run out screaming."
"I'm still convinced it was a poltergeist," Dwight grumbled.
"This still doesn't explain to me anything you wanted to talk about with regards to Kurt."
"He's strange…" Dwight finally said. "It's worrisome. It could be dangerous. Almost suspicious."
Blaine graced him with his attention now, though he raised an eyebrow. "Really. How? Did you see him emitting a bright magenta aura?"
Dwight fidgeted, scratching at the corner of his book with his long fingernails. "…no, he seemed terribly unhappy."
Blaine finally lowered the book at this. "What do you mean unhappy?"
"Fine, not completely 'unhappy'. More…lost." Dwight took a pause, then looked up with big dark eyes filled with horror. "He's not possessed is, he? We don't need any more spirits wandering the halls!"
Blaine waved the accusation away almost irritably, summoning superhuman patience. "What makes you say he's lost?"
"I was in his Ecology and Environmental Studies class. He kept staring at floating dust specks. He wasn't paying attention to Mr. Newman. And only the truly suicidal do not pay attention to Mr. Newman when he's outlining the exam coverage!"
The two jumped as the librarian materialized at their elbows, frowning disapprovingly. "If you must carry on this way, you'll have to step outside and stop disturbing other students!"
Blaine decided not to tell her that the only other two students in the library were solidly asleep in their cubicles. "Sorry, Mrs. Abernathy."
"And Mr. Houston, what are you doing in here? And with that book again!"
Eyes wide, Dwight fled instantly, bounding away like an antelope, his open blazer flapping behind him like a cape and still taking the book with him. Blaine picked up his own bag and left at a less hasty pace, pulling out his Blackberry. An emergency mini-meeting was needed.
"Blaine, he's been here one day," David said, almost exasperated over the tall black coffee that he was attempting to down. "It's natural for him to be…confused."
"And after getting assaulted by these two earlier…" Wes jerked his thumb to the twins, who were sitting at the same table. They pretended as though Wes had mortally wounded them with the accusation. "And why, oh why would you listen to Dwight? This is the guy who carries a spritz bottle full of holy water everywhere he goes "just in case"."
"Dwight is observant, if anything," Blaine protested. "Because until he's actually boarded, he can repeal the transfer, so I don't want Kurt second-guessing his move here within twenty-four hours of doing so."
"He'll be doing that all day and tomorrow, until he finally gets used to it," said David sensibly, yanking out some tissues and wiping down his part of the table. "When you transferred here—"
"Shh!" coloring a deep crimson, Blaine all but threw his coffee at him, not wanting the subject broached again.
Wes swatted him off David. "I considered it a defining moment when we finally got you to start talking. Only to find out that you had a die-hard crush on Tom Felton." He sighed deeply, long-sufferingly, like a reminiscing war veteran. "It was like we had opened a dam and we couldn't get it to stop…"
The twins were choking on their frappes by now, laughing too hard to be coherent, having to hold onto each other to remain upright. Blaine glared with all the force he could muster in his current riot of emotions (anxiety, embarrassment, and the utter urge to decapitate one of his so-called "friends") and said, "We've got to do something to at least make him feel better."
"How about we have a few games…?" Wes asked, humoring their clearly enamored lead singer. "We can break out RockBand again."
"We're not allowed to play RockBand in the common room anymore," David reminded him. "The incident with the mop and Mr. Tamerlane's pet duck?" Everyone on the table winced.
"How about paintball?" chorused the twins.
"No. Also no longer allowed indoors. Charlie isn't even out of the hospital yet."
"Bake him a cake?"
"The kitchen ceiling is still scorched."
"There's got to be something we can do that won't do property damage," Blaine grumbled in one of those moments where he wished he lived in a quieter dormitory.
Everyone was silent for a moment, either thinking of what they could do for Kurt, or what they could do at all seeing as how their pastimes were being banned one by one. This was when the twins sat up, as though getting twin lightbulbs on their heads. They blinked at each other and nodded. They both looked at Blaine.
"We have an idea," said Ethan.
Evan nodded. "But we'll have to get started now, if we want to make it in time later for the Warbler meeting."
Kurt had earlier received a message from one of the student runners that a Mr. Greg Harvey and a Ms. Sylvia Medel were requesting him to come to the second music room early so that they would be able to formally meet him for the first time. His throat going dry, he recognized their names as the choir director and music teacher in charge of the Warblers, and that the second music room was also semi-officially "the Warblers' Hall".
As if that was not enough, a message had appeared on his iPhone during his last period:
Kurt, something important came up in the dorms. But I'll definitely be at Warblers' meeting with you. Meet you there. –Blaine
This left Kurt standing outside the hall feeling rather anxious and staring at his phone as though he willed it to somehow convey his need for Blaine to come as soon as humanly possible. He had never been one to be anxious or nervous about such a thing (he was quite sure that he could easily out-diva these boys if he had to) but he had seen the Warblers perform and if anything, they looked like a solid unit that worked seamlessly with one another.
And with Sectionals under a week, if he didn't manage to prove himself capable of adapting to their style, they might not think he was up to speed at all. Their style was definitely different from New Directions'.
And if he couldn't at least be in a glee club…
He looked around these large, imposing halls and sighed. He may have felt out of place back in Lima, but he also had yet to fit in here. Not for the first time, he felt that painful twinge of doubt, and then guilt. Everybody believed in him, and yet here he was, moping. Ridiculous. This was completely un-fabulous.
His phone started to vibrate in his pocket, and he pulled it out to find that it was a call.
From Rachel Berry.
Well this was a…surprise.
Kurt looked around and ducked to a nearby hallway near the open arches that overlooked the gardens. He answered the call, lifting it to his ear, not really sure what to expect.
"A-hem," Rachel cleared her throat, seeming to come from a slight distance. When she spoke, she wasn't speaking to him. He heard her say, "All right, he's on! All of you, look alive! Come on!"
That same imperious tone as always, and he heard, in the background, sound of minor grumbling—"He can't actually see us, Rachel…"—from the boys, and giggling from the girls, and the sound of shuffling feet. Kurt's heart jumped to his throat. The call was on speaker phone in Rachel's end and the whole McKinley glee club was there.
"Kurt!" Rachel called from wherever she was standing, sounding immensely pleased with herself. "I—" Finn coughed at this, and Rachel made an impatient noise, "I mean—we have something for you."
"What?" Kurt almost laughed, unable to believe his ears.
"We hope you like it!" Tina said happily, and he could hear her smile from her voice.
He could hardly believe this. "What are you guys—?"
The music started, slow and gentle. Kurt listened, gripping the phone to his ear. The flash of recognition came when he recognized the strains, and the glee club began to sing.
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led to those who help us most to grow
If we let them, and we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you…
They were singing a modified group rendition of Wicked's "For Good". He could hear Rachel's powerful voice soaring above the others, taking fine control, Mercedes' ardent vocals, Tina's pure tones, Quinn, Santana and Brittany lifting up their voices. Each girl had a turn at a solo line, and to his surprise the boys supplied the backing vocals with Artie's notes holding clear distinction.
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good…
Just like that, Kurt could already find himself standing by the piano in the McKinley club room, watching as his friends stood in front of him, singing to him. He could practically see them smiling up affectionately at him, their voices enveloping him with a single clear message:
No matter what, after all they had been through, Kurt and the Glee club had changed each other for good, and with hands held tight, they will be together, helping each other, in one way or another. Leaving did not mean forgetting, and it did not mean real parting. They all still had each other.
And just to clear the air, I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for
But then, I guess we know there's blame to share
And none of it seems to matter anymore…
Kurt didn't know when he started crying, but tears were flowing down his cheeks so much that he struggled to wipe them away. Assaulted by one hundred memories of each moment in Glee club—through the frustrating days, through the bright; from being utterly ignored in the middle of the courtyard, to the applause onstage—Kurt clutched onto their support at this moment.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better
And because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good...
When the song faded away, with Rachel and Mercedes holding the last notes to fade and the strains quieting, Kurt could barely speak, feeling as though his heart was liable to explode.
"Uh, you still there, Kurt?" he heard Sam ask after nearly a minute of silence from his end.
Kurt lifted his head, stifling a sob that he was sure they could hear (because the girls made soft exclamations of dismay), and finally managed to laugh to assuage their concerns. "You guys—what was that? You actually—you actually got Mr. Schue to bypass Journey?"
There was delighted laughter at the other end, sounding relieved. "We just put this together today…sort of behind Mr. Schue's back since he wants all the focus on Sectionals," Finn admitted, sounding sheepish. "Kind of a sudden thing."
"Whose idea was this?" Kurt demanded, grinning from ear to ear. "Mercedes?"
"Actually it was all of us," Mercedes said, laughing a bit. "We wanted to do something for you, but Rachel wanted to use Wicked—because you'd never accept anything otherwise. We just wanted to let you know that we're all here for you, Kurt." A pause. "Oh, and don't you dare hold back on Sectionals! I don't want any of your punches pulled—bring it."
"Oh it's on," Kurt preened a bit, smirking. "Once I join them officially, you all can expect to be steamrollered. Please, you'll be crying all the way back to McKinley."
There was a scoff from the female soloist, but she sounded amused. There was a pause, then Puck said in a low, almost guilty tone, "Hey Kurt. If any of those boys give you problems, you tell me, all right? I don't know about bullying policies or whatever, but they don't mess with you, you got that?"
"Yeah," Sam agreed, as Mike and Artie chimed in similarly.
"Don't you try and back out now," Rachel declared threateningly. "Don't you dare. We're expecting to see you on the other side. And…" her tone softened just slightly, "We're proud of you. I mean, we'll crush you for sure, of course, but we're proud of you."
Kurt smiled. He remembered when Rachel asked him to duet with her, and felt that this was so much like that time, and it was their way of telling each other it was going to be okay. He figured that if Rachel Berry of all people would put this together, he had better not let any of them down.
"I wish I could sing you guys something back," Kurt admitted. "Right now I can barely think of one."
"Come on, sure you can!" exclaimed Tina. "Something! Anything!"
"Like Happy Birthday…" Brittany said softly. He heard her murmur to someone, possibly Santana, "We're doing this because Kurt's birthday, right…?" And just received a sigh in answer.
"Uh, something you really really wanted to sing before that you couldn't," Artie suggested, possibly after a sidelong glance at his girlfriend.
But Kurt could only think of one. He looked around, found he was still alone, and smiled. "Fine."
And he did.
"…and Blaine says that he would make a fine addition," said a tall, beautiful woman in a well cut black blouse contrasted by a long flowing skirt that flipped around her ankles as she walked, her footfalls echoing in the hall. She was carrying a sheaf of sheet music, and her platinum blonde hair was cut in a shapely short bob, and she wore silver-rimmed glasses. "McKinley did win Sectionals last year and went on to Regionals."
"Hm…" the taller man with her, wearing a trim three-piece suit and wearing glasses rimmed in black, looked down at the student file in his hands. He scratched his head for a moment, pen resting between his fingers, and said, "He certainly seems promising enough…if he's from another club, then his repertoire should be expansive, but we'll see. Do the other boys have any opinions, Sylvia?"
Sylvia Medel shrugged gently. "They all seem quite curious. They don't know very much about him. I understand from Todd that he's to board in Windsor, though."
"Ah…" Gregory Harvey now smiled both knowingly and almost affectionately, his brown eyes warm with understanding. "Another Windsor boy. If we draft this boy, the Stuarts might start to protest favoritism." And he stopped abruptly, looking up.
"They won't if he earns it rightfully," Sylvia said sensibly, looking down at her sheet music. "I honestly have no clue as to what this boy's range might be, that tape from last year is just about—What? Greg, what is it?" She stared as the older man started urgently shushing her.
"Shh…" Greg stood at the corner of the wall where two halls met, listening intently.
The hall where they stood was where the Warblers' Hall was and for a moment, Sylvia thought that someone was playing music inside. But as she listened, she realized that the song she was hearing was pouring out from the adjoining hall where the open arches were.
And it was a voice the likes of which they had never heard in Dalton halls before.
It won't be easy, you'll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
That I still need your love after all that I've done...
The two music teachers looked at each other in surprise and peered into the next hall. A boy of slight build stood there, holding a phone to his ear, wet blue eyes staring into the open sunlight of the garden, and that voice—that impossible voice!—was coming from him.
He was singing a song from Evita into the phone.
I had to let it happen, I had to change…
Couldn't stay all my life down at heel…
Looking out of the window, staying out of the sun…
Sylvia stood staring, fascinated, just vaguely wondering if it was one of those apparitions that Dwight Houston kept going on about. Greg looked down at the student file in his hands, then back up at the boy. Immediately, he began to smile and he stepped out into the hall.
"Are you Kurt Hummel?"
Kurt nearly jumped a foot into the air, abruptly stopping mid-line, turning to deep brown voice that suddenly called him by name. A male teacher stood there, smiling kindly in an unimposing way.
"Kurt?" asked Mercedes over the phone, worried. "What happened?"
Flustered, Kurt stammered to the teacher, "Yes—I'm—I'm Kurt Hummel."
"Kurt, who are you talking to?" demanded Rachel's voice out of the phone.
The teacher held up his hands as though to show Kurt that it was okay. His every movement was quiet and calculated. He said clearly, for the benefit of those overhearing, "Mr. Hummel, I think that song would go quite a lot better with some musical accompaniment… Won't you join me and Ms. Medel into the Hall, so she may play it on the piano for you?" He gestured to the phone. "I'm sure whoever's listening to you would enjoy it better that way."
Kurt stared, stunned by this completely unexpected reaction. He looked to the phone and back to the smiling teacher. Standing a little further away was a lady in elegant dress—that skirt had to be a Valentino, said the fashionable part of his brain—and she was smiling as well.
"Say yes, Kurt," Brittany supplied helpfully, probably without being aware of what was happening.
Kurt swallowed and nodded. "S-Sure. Guys…give me a sec…"
"Oh man, I can't wait to see the look on his face when he sees!" exclaimed David as he and the other Warblers came running down the corridor, headed to the Hall. "That's got to be a record, even for us."
"There's nothing Windsor boys can't do if it's for one of their own," grinned Wes, jogging next to him. "Well, even a one of their own to-be. But credit where credit is due…" he looked to the twins. "I had no idea we even had all that stuff in Windsor.
"Wasn't exactly ours…" grinned Ethan. "It may have been from last year…"
"Or before that…" Evan considered.
"Or it could all be ancient," Ethan shrugged.
"But they say there's charm in antiques!"
"If Dwight hears that you both took down things from the "haunted" attic storeroom, he will maim and exorcise you two," Blaine replied, "and I don't want to imagine in what order he would do so."
"Hey look." David pulled the other boys to a stop, pointing down the hall. "What's that all about?
There was a small crowd of Warblers around the doorway of their Hall, not actually entering. They were all crushed to the slightly opened doors, listening intently and not making a sound. They barely noticed as the other Warblers approached.
"What's going on?" Blaine asked as they arrived, and in unison, all the boys listening hissed or held out their hands to him in the universal "Shut up!" gesture, listening.
"What is it?" Wes whispered, looking at them incredulously.
"Shh…" said Evan, looking up.
"Listen…" Ethan, being rather tall, was able to peer up higher from the door.
So I chose freedom…
Running around, trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all…
I never expected it to…
Music was coming from the Hall, the sound of musical accompaniment to a song that they would never have imagined being played in an all-boy's choir room, as no one would have been able to sing it. And yet as the music swelled, a voice rose from within the room, filling it with soaring notes and seeping out the door, causing them to stand transfixed.
Don't cry for me Argentina…
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days, my mad existence
I kept my promise…
Don't keep your distance…
"Who the hell is that?" hissed Wes, staring.
"We don't know," muttered one of the other Warblers. "When we got here, Harvey and Medel were already in there with him."
"That's a guy in there?" David said, aghast.
"Mm…" Evan, on tiptoes, agreed from where he was peering into the room. "Yeah, I can see the jacket."
They are illusions…
They are not the solutions they promised to be
The answer was here all the time
I love you and hope you love me
Don't cry for me Argentina…
As the music and the voice swelled further, Blaine looked up in sheer realization, eyes widening and backing from the door like he was shot. "Whoa, I think—is that—?"
"Guys! Guys!" hissed Ethan, jumping up and down on his toes, wild with excitement. "It's Alice! It's Alice singing in there!"
"I thought you said it was a guy? Who the heck is Alice?" demanded another Warbler.
"No—not Alice," snapped Blaine, pushing his way through the others to get a better look. "Kurt! That's Kurt Hummel singing in there."
"No way! The new kid?" the boys crowded further onto the door, their weight pushing the door open just a little bit more.
Greg, from where he was standing by the side of the door from the inside, was most amusedly watching the door creak further open as more boys piled on their weight. As David's head popped into the room, he leaned down to the crowd and said calmly, "Would you boys like to come inside?"
The Warblers looked up in surprise at their choir director, who was smiling broadly at them. Embarrassed, the group straightened up, brushing down their jackets and feigning composure. They carefully opened the door, coming in and jostling each other for room.
From the far end of the room, Sylvia was playing the piano, barely able to stop the grin on her face as Kurt, his back turned to the boys, continued to sing. He appeared happy to receive her obvious unspoken praise, and was singing with everything he had, oblivious of the watching eyes. Lying on top of the piano was his iPhone.
As the song slowly faded out, a burst of happy applause came from the iPhone.
"You go, Kurt! Yeah! That's our boy!" hooting and whistles accompanied the clapping from the McKinley club.
Kurt laughed in relief and pure joy, the likes of which he had not felt in a long time. It felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off his chest. He scooped up his phone and smiled to it. "…thanks, guys. And don't worry. I can take it from here."
A mix of happiness and confusion now came from the phone. "You were great! It was—geez, you guys, Schuester's coming!—crap!—quick, put it away!—Kurt, you were great!—Puck, move come on!—Hurry up!—We love you, Kurt! See you at Sectionals! Bye! Bye, Kurt!"
"Bye," Kurt laughed, hanging up. As he did, he heaved a great sigh of relief.
And the entire Warblers' Hall erupted into applause and cheering.
Kurt whirled around with wide eyes to see the Warblers grinning and clapping at him. "Yes!" David yelled, grinning. "That was great!"
"I cannot believe that was you!" Wes said, clapping while shaking his head in disbelief. The twins were clapping as well, the latecomer Warblers who had only managed to catch the last of the song applauding behind them.
Kurt looked at them, shocked and somehow delighted. His eyes locked on Blaine's warm ones, and he smiled as Blaine grinned at him, clapping with a knowing look, as though he knew all along that Kurt would win the Warblers over.
Over the din, Greg raised his voice to call for attention. "All right, all right now…" he was grinning at his boys. "Settle down, settle down…"
"I must say, that was quite refreshing," said Sylvia, shaking Kurt's hand with a smile as the boys now came further into the room, taking their places on the armchairs and divans. "There haven't been a lot of countertenors in Warbler history, Mr. Hummel—the last one was from twenty years ago. I was just about to stop hoping to be able to come across one, much less one with a voice like yours."
"W-wait…" Kurt looked from her to Greg and back again, "Do you mean…this was my audition?"
"We would gladly like to hear another one, if it wasn't yet," quipped a boy from the back, earning laughing agreement from majority of the group.
"Now, I don't think there's need for that…" Greg smiled over at the group as he brought Kurt, looking at the group in amazement, next to him. "Clearly you've heard Kurt's capabilities…"
"Boy, did we!" said another boy—hoots followed, checked by the director's warning hand. Greg continued, "Settle, settle. This is serious now." But his eyes sparkled. "We have to come to a vote. All those in favor of having Kurt join us, raise a hand."
A forest of hands—the twins held up both of theirs—went up. Sylvia laughed. "And as decreed by the group…" she looked at Kurt and smiled. "Welcome to the Warblers, Mr. Hummel."
And in a single cheering wave, the boys ran from their seats and up to Kurt, giving him heavy pats and cuffs on the shoulders before draping all of their jackets on top of him, as was unofficial tradition. Kurt, laughing harder than he'd done in weeks, could barely keep standing, both at the weight of their attentions and the clothing being heaped on him.
A hand clasped his, and he looked up to meet Blaine's eyes again.
"Feeling better?" Blaine asked him with a smirk.
Kurt grinned. "You have no idea."
"It's a shame you can't sing a solo for Sectionals," said David, looking deeply disappointed as the boys trooped back to Windsor house. "But when Harvey sets down the song, it's down. It's etched in stone."
"I don't mind, really," Kurt sighed, smiling as he clutched onto his bag strap. "I mean, Sectionals is in a week. It'll be a miracle if I learn how to do whatever military drill it is you do to have you all synchronizing perfectly with each other like that."
"Yes, fear Harvey," Wes grinned.
"He seemed nice though," Kurt said.
"Sure he is," Wes agreed. "But he's led show choirs to Nationals for years straight for a reason. Dalton booked him for us to launch us to Nationals too."
"But he'll definitely be thinking about giving you some spotlight," said Blaine, nodding. "I mean…we've never had a countertenor before this. Possibilities are endless."
"Sure Blaine," snickered Wes. "For you they are. If Kurt will stand out, you'll be the one who'll most likely end up singing with him." He shot him an added, and you like that idea… look.
Blaine shot him back an I hate you look before looking at Kurt with a grin that promised mischief. "Say Kurt—you're definitely boarding at Windsor, right?"
Puzzled, Kurt nodded. "Yeah. That's what I told Howard, and I will. And besides, all of you are there—someone needs to keep an eye on all of you." Then he sighed. "Getting my entire wardrobe to Dalton is going to be like Atlas carrying the globe. I suppose I could just take a few things…but I can't stand the thought of leaving dad, Carole and Finn with them. They probably don't even know which ones are meant to be dry-cleaned."
Blaine looked as though he sympathized. But then he looked up and said, "Hey before you go for the day, come by Windsor for a bit. Pick out which room you want."
"Now?" Kurt blinked.
"No time like the present," David grinned and grabbed Kurt's hand before Blaine had the chance to. He pulled the newest Warbler towards Windsor, running, leaving a slightly scandalized Blaine to follow after them, Wes snickering as he did the same.
"What's this?" David laughed as he picked up an envelope on the floor. He looked at it and tutted. "Ugh. That time of year again." He passed it to Blaine who just sighed and scratched his head.
"What is?" asked Kurt.
"Ah—the Fall Music Festival," Blaine explained. "School event, like a talent show. Like most school events, the houses will be sending out their best. If a day student wins it, the day students get extra holidays or stuff. If a boarder wins, him and his entire house get special privileges, like extra curfew hours and trips outside campus or whatever."
"Oh…" Kurt blinked, looking at the envelope. "You all don't look happy."
"It's a Music Festival. All of the houses will be sending out their Warblers who stay there," David grimaced. "Add working that out to actual Warblers practice where the whole group performs for the whole school—it's a lot of work. That's while we're expecting exams and deadlines before Christmas break."
"I guess being rockstars have downsides," Kurt flashed Blaine a catty grin. It earned him a playful punch to the arm and Blaine's arm around his shoulders again as they headed to the common room.
He barely had time to enjoy this as the moment they stepped in, the twins materialized in front of them, smiling their Cheshire grins once again.
"Hello, Alice!" they chirruped. "Congratulations on becoming a Warbler."
"Uh, thanks?" Kurt looked at them suspiciously—he did not trust those smiles, and the fact that Blaine, Wes and David had the same ones.
"We have something to show you," said Evan.
"And we're almost absolutely positive you'll like it," said Ethan.
"I'm unarmed with nerf guns, just so you know," Kurt supplied.
The twins laughed. "No, no," said Evan. "Nothing like that. Come with us."
"Come on," Wes clipped Kurt's elbow and followed the pair of blonds upstairs. With Blaine's reassuring squeeze on his shoulder, Kurt followed suit.
The dormitories looked surprisingly empty for this time of day, Kurt wondered as he followed them up the stairs to the hallways where Blaine's room was. In fact, they went right up to the room across Blaine's and stopped at the door. "Here we are!"
"I get this room?" Kurt asked, looking at them.
"You put it across mine?" Blaine turned to his friends, seemingly baffled now. When they had made plans, he left them at it as he went to fetch some things needed—he did not take part in choosing the room.
"Call it a bargain," David whispered to him. "We'll be eternally grateful if you stopped trying to describe how amazing his eyes are, thanks."
Blaine bit back his retort and turned back to the twins who now looked at Kurt with affectionate smiles. "Welcome to Windsor."
They threw open the doors.
Kurt walked in and stared, gaping in shock. The old world finery of Windsor was even more amplified now by the rich antique furnishings of the room. Kurt's new room had been decked out in both old and contemporary style: the gilded frames held blown up posters of musicals and not canvas paintings, and the jet black sound system that was in the room was clearly modern, but all the furnishings were chosen in such a way that they did not disrupt the harmony of the old room.
Even the carpet and the bed were made of fine materials, and Kurt had never in his life lain on sheets and pillowcases that had this kind of thread count. The cherrywood study desk was already fitted with a charming lamp, next to which were brand new glossy fashion magazines stacked nearly as tall as the lamp. The shelves held Kurt's schoolbooks.
Ethan followed Kurt's gaze and said, "Sure we had to break into your in-school locker to take them, but we promise we didn't touch anything else."
"You're ruining the mood," his twin admonished. He looked at Kurt. "We also didn't notice that you have a photo of Blaine and a mini-collage of "courage". Is it some kind of code, by the way?"
Kurt dropped his face into his hand, wanting the polished wood floor to open up and eat him. Blaine just smiled and said, "Come on, everyone has photos of their friends on their lockers. I have a whole bunch of them on the board next to my desk."
"How come you never make mini-collages for us, Blaine?" David pretended to whine. He looked at Kurt. "Will you make one for us too, Kurt?"
"That's enough from you," Blaine made a face at him before asking Kurt, "What do you think?"
"You guys…did all this…?" Kurt asked, looking around.
"Just a little thing from us," said Wes, smiling. "Blaine said you looked as though you had trouble earlier…and I guess the only way we could make you feel at home was to make you a little bit of one."
Kurt looked at them, struggling with words. "I…I don't even know what to say."
"Your wide-eyed expression of pure shock is gratitude enough—we'll want to see it again," said Evan. Ethan pushed Blaine onto him and added, "Now be a good little Alice and play with Blaine while Evan and I destroy Wes and David in a game of Halo."
Blaine and Kurt collided and turned red, glancing away from each other. The twins looked pleased and trooped out with Wes and David.
"We're leaving them together?" asked David.
"Sadly I don't expect anything to happen," Wes rolled his eyes. "At best they'll end up in Blaine's room watching some Disney on the widescreen before our gentleman takes "Alice" home."
David rolled his eyes. But Wes grinned, "Hey on the bright side—we won't have to hear Blaine playing Teenage Dream on infinite loop anymore."
On the next episode: Living in a dormitory is drastically different from living at home. And living in a Dalton House is different from normal dormitories. And living in Windsor House is different from living in any other Dalton House. While Kurt tries to make sense of dorm life and Dalton's unspoken social rules, Blaine finds that proud as he may be to see Kurt getting a chance to shine, it also brings in the competition. And not the show choir kind.