Blaine was careless. His guard was down, his mask was peeling. He couldn’t help how Kurt made him feel, how alive he was when they were together. He should have known it wasn’t safe.
He should have known it was too good to be true.
Apparently, Vocal Adrenaline still saw The New Directions as a threat. And apparently, Sebastian had found out about it and decided to use it to his advantage.
How was he supposed to know their spies had memorized his fake smoke breaks schedule? How was he to know, Sebastian had struck a deal with them to get two strong male voices out of the picture for Regionals? How was he to know they knew the only thing that would keep him from attacking them, was capturing Kurt first?
The truth is… he wasn’t.
And he didn’t.
And Kurt had no choice but to watch.
Kurt felt like the tears would never stop. His voice was hoarse from his screams and his pleas, the begging and the insults that had sprouted from his face.
Blaine lay on the ground, gasping for breath as the assault of punches and kicks finally ceased. He was choking on the blood from his nose dripping into his mouth, and the cut on his lip burned. His eyebrow and ears bled where his studs had been ripped out.
A hand grabbed his chin roughly, and forced his head up. Three bodies moved behind him to pin his arms down. He glared at the leering face in front of him, hatred burning within his brown eyes.
“And now, the finale! I’m sure you’ll find it enjoyable,” Sebastian crooned, mockingly patting Blaine on the cheek. The Italian spit in his face.
Sebastian scowled and punched him in the face. Blaine cursed as his head reared back, his eye beginning to swell instantly.
“Pay close attention, tiger!” Sebastian sneered, backpedaling towards Kurt. Blaine’s eyes widened in fear, his heart beginning to hammer. They had left Kurt untouched, he could handle anything they threw at him, just not Kurt.
No, no no, not Kurt, not Kurt notKurtnotKurtnoNO!
Sebastian pulled out a small switch blade. The medal glinted in the sunlight, menacing and utterly horrifying. Kurt whimpered in terror.
A few murmurs broke out among the crowd. Apparently Sebastard had kept the specifics of the ‘finale’ from them.
Sebastian went up to Kurt, his lips close to the boy’s ear as he ran his finger across the smooth blade.
“I wonder,” he whispered, raising the hairs on the back of the pale male’s neck. “Who would possibly hire, respect, or even want you… if they knew exactly what you were?”
Kurt’s heart hammered in his chest, pounding so hard it could be heard in the silence that had ensued. Blaine began to struggle, prompting more people to come in and hold him down.
“GET AWAY FROM HIM!” Blaine cried, his voice breaking in his fear. “It’s ME you want! LET HIM GO!”
Sebastian kept his back to the boxer, but Kurt could see the sinister sneer sprout across his face.
“You’re right Anderson… it IS you I want. I could care less if this fairy has several slurs carved and scarred into his face. Wouldn’t make any difference to me. You, however,” Sebastian drawled, pivoting to smirk at the seething boy. “You, my fine prize, would most likely care, wouldn’t you?”
A hush fell upon the group. Then a man slid next to Sebastian, murmuring in his ear. Kurt was close enough to catch it.
“This wasn’t the deal, Smythe! We rough up Anderson, scare the two from competing, that’s all! We never agreed to… to torture them!”
Sebastian shrugged him off. “Fuck off. Like I care about the specifics of the damn deal.”
He turned back to Blaine, his face turning solemn.
“What will it be, Anderson?” he asked, his voice soft and hushed; it contradicted both the knife and the body language he was using. Blaine and Kurt shook a little, petrified.
“Will you transfer to Dalton, join the Warblers, and be mine? Or…”
The knife drew up to Kurt’s face, causing the boy to flinch back and gasp. The tip grazed the pale flesh of his temple, and Blaine cried out in fury, veins in his neck throbbing from a combination of fury and his determination to break free.
“…Will little gay-face here… have to pay the price?” Smythe asked, voice just as soft as before.
The pressure on the knife tip increased ever so slightly. Kurt trembled as his blue eyes poured a fresh trail of tears.
“Stop it, STOP IT! PLEASE! DON’T HURT HIM, don’t, please, please…” Blaine sobbed, his own tears pooling down his face and mixing with the dried blood and dirt already crusted there.
“This isn’t… right,” one of the guys holding Blaine back murmured hesitantly. The rest of them around him seemed to agree.
“Yeah, this is just messed up,” another, more feminine voice, added, prompting a few nods. Blaine felt a surge of hope burrow in his chest.
The largest one pinning Blaine paused for a few moments, indicated with his head, and the guy restraining Kurt blinked in comprehension.
“I’m waiting,” Sebastian drawled, gaze still fixed onto Blaine, missing every exchange.
Slowly, the guy holding Kurt began to backpedal, pulling Kurt way from the knife. Sebastian didn’t notice the change in pressure upon the blade’s tip. A few guys came up to flank him, and they pushed Kurt behind them.
The largest one whispered into Blaine’s ear, and Blaine felt a wave or gratitude washing over him and clearing his head.
“Kick his crazy ass, man.”
All the guys restraining Blaine released him at once, and immediately Blaine dropped into his fighter stance, malice and bloodlust morphing his face like a grotesque metamorphosis.
Sebastian startled, glancing back to see Kurt was gone, and being guarded by Vocal Adrenaline members, boy and girl alike.
“What the fuck are you doing?” he hissed, disbelief and rage coloring his own features.
“I’ll tell you what we’re doing,” the girl directly in front of Kurt said. Her face was a mask of shame and defiance. “The right thing.”
“Drop the knife, Sebastian,” Blaine called, his voice calm and smooth, with venom dripping from every word. “Fight me. Fight me like a man.”
Smirking, Smythe threw the blade to the side, where the girl who spoke scrabbled to grab it and keep it out of reach. He crossed his arms across his chest and raised his eyebrow.
“If you wanted some foreplay, all you had to do was ask,” Smythe responded with a condescending tone.
Blaine blinked in surprise. He wasn’t expecting anyone to interfere.
“Blaine, don’t!” Kurt said again, struggling to get through the barricade of protectors he suddenly had.
“Let him through,” the girl spoke again. Blaine was surprised at how much she was doing; she hadn’t seemed like anyone with power in the group before. Perhaps she just had the largest wake-up call of them all.
The crowd parted and Kurt came scrambling through, running straight to Blaine. A bit dazed from the adrenaline and anger, Blaine opened his arms without thought, a look of bewilderment on his face and the chestnut haired boy collided with his chest.
“I don’t understand,” Blaine said. Kurt pulled back to look at him in confusion.
“Why don’t you want me to beat the asshole who was about to scar your face?” Blaine asked, puzzlement and a bit of hurt on his face.
Kurt just shook his head. “It isn’t who you are; it never was. I want revenge as much as you do, and I know you could win without a doubt. But attempting to right or fix violence with more violence is just… counterproductive. It’s not worth the fight, Blaine.”
Vaguely, Blaine saw movement out of the corner of his eye, and turned to look just in time to see Sebastian pulling back his fist. Blaine reacted, pushing himself in front of Kurt-
-only to watch a petite hand grab Smythe’s wrist, halting his action.
There was a general gasp among the crowd. Sebastian looking ready to burst. The girl who stood up for Kurt was doing it again.
“For fucks sakes, Ginevra, I’m going to hurt you too if you don’t back the fuck off,” he growled at her. She met his gaze unflinchingly, straightening her back and appearing taller than she was.
“You never told us they were a couple,” she seethed.
He looked momentarily throw for a loop. “The hell does that have to do with anything?”
“You just said they were strong voices and you wanted some payback in return for strength in numbers,” she replied. “We aren’t strangers to these things, it’s a tradition here to egg the completion. We were all for that, but you convinced us you had a better plan.
“We are ambitious, and cunning, and will turn on each other to get solos here. But we do NOT torture, nor do we punish people based off their sexuality or gender. Talent? Yes. But for loving someone? Never.”
There was shocked silence. Sebastian was quietly seething.
“And I would rather take a beating from you, than stand by and watch you punish these two boys, just for falling in love.”
Her speech seemed to be drawing forth courage in others. More girls flanked her, lifting their fists as if they were preparing to fight back. The guys, most likely to keep from being shown up, surrounded them as well.
Blaine and Kurt looked on in amazement as the people who had attacked them had suddenly taken their side.
“The deal’s off, Sebastard,” Ginevra smirked, crossing her arms over her chest and cocking her hip.
Sebastian was enraged. Two hands shot out and pulled him out of the center, where there was a slight scuffle, and Vocal Adrenaline began to herd him away from the two boys.
A lot of the guys patted Blaine on the back and muttered apologies as they passed by, and a few girls did the same. Kurt looked to see Ginevra returning with their stolen bags, shame encompassing every feature. She looked near to tears.
“Stop,” Kurt said, reaching out and placing a soft, comforting hand on her shoulder. She chanced a glance up, fear and apprehension shinning in her blue-green eyes. He smiled at her in gratitude.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
She began to sob.
Blaine reached out and hugged her on reflex, and she curled her face into his shoulder as her body began to shake. Kurt rubbed her back slowly, concern starting to break through the shock of what had just happened.
“Y-you don’t unders-stand,” she sniffed. “M-my parents are l-lesbians; I’ve spent my ent-tire life being an advocate and ally. I, I couldn’t stand myself if had let him hurt you. I’m ashamed I e-even agreed to this plan in the f-first place!”
“Everyone makes bad choices every now and then,” Kurt told her sagely. “What matters is making the right choice in the end, and admitting to your faults. Hey,” he said gently, guiding her head up to look into his. He smiled. “I’m really glad you did.”
She sniffed loudly and nodded her head, the ghost of a smile pulling at her lips. She backed out of Blaine’s arms, frowning at him.
“I can’t believe they tore your jewelry off,” she said, referring to the missing ear and eyebrow studs.
Blaine tried to shrug it off. “Always a bit of a hazard with those things,” he said. “Besides, at least they left my tongue one alone. Though, it did cut my cheek on a few of those punches…”
“Okay, thank you Blaine!” Kurt said quickly as Ginevra’s eyes began to water again. “Seriously, sweetie, don’t worry about it, okay? Blaine will heal, I wasn’t hurt, and we can still compete; everything’s okay.”
She nodded, albeit still looking unhappy.
“If it means that much to you,” Blaine said, “do us a favor and use all that choir money you guys flaunt around and try to keep that guy away from us, eh?”
She smiled, her face still distorted from the redness of crying and her present disappointment. Her eyes were bloodshot… they made the green of her eyes seem to glow, like a beacon of emerald. Kurt really emphasized with her; to be pulled into something as horrible as this.
“I have to go,” she said, as a car horn suddenly echoed across the pavement. She turned away and started walking. After about ten feet she stopped, and turned around.
“I wish you two… every happiness.”
And then she sprinted away from them as fast as she could.
They could hear tires squealing in the distance moments later.
The curly-haired boy was ignored. He sighed from underneath his umbrella.
“Kurt, c’mon. You need to come in. Standing in the rain isn’t healthy for you.”
He was met by silence.
He frowned even harder. Kurt had driven Blaine to the police station, telling them Sebastian had attacked them and they both wanted restraining orders. Parents were called, photos of injuries were taken, the whole ordeal.
The shock of what happened… what could have happened, seemed to have finally settled into Kurt, now that there was nothing left to do about the matter. He seemed… lost.
The second it had begun to rain, he had marched straight outside and stood in the middle of his lawn, without an umbrella, without changing out of his designer clothes, without a word.
Blaine was worried. But he knew everyone had different ways to cope about the matter. Blaine’s outlet was boxing.
Kurt’s was in song.
"She never slows down.
She doesn't know why but she knows that when she's all alone, feels like its all coming down.
She won't turn around.
The shadows are long and she fears if she cries that first tear, the tears will not stop raining down.
She won't make a sound.
Alone in this fight with herself and the fears whispering if she stands she'll fall down.
She wants to be found.
The only way out is through everything she's running from wants to give up and lie down.
So stand in the rain,
Stand your ground.
Stand up when it's all crashing down.
You stand through the pain,
You won't drown.
And one day, what's lost can be found.
You stand in the rain."
Blaine approached cautiously, moving the umbrella over Kurt’s head as a sort of truce. Kurt seemed to blink unseeingly. He turned and locked gazes with Blaine.
And when he knocked the umbrella out of Blaine’s hands and captured him in a desperate kiss, there was nothing Blaine could do but give in to it. They kissed in the rain for what felt like hours, feeding off each other’s fear and relief and desperation and emotion for the other.
However, Blaine drew the line when he heard thunder crack through the air.
“So, I see you finally pulled yourself away from the boyfriend,” a slightly smug voice drawled as the front door opened and closed.
Blaine shook his head; his blissed look drooping from his face at an alarming pace.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” he mumbled, passing her and heading up the long spiral stairs to his room.
“…What?!” he heard her exclaim, followed by several loud footsteps on the stairs as she hurried to catch up to him.
“How is that possible? You’re telling me even something like that wasn’t enough for you two to get your acts together-,”
“I’m trying to PROTECT HIM!”
She froze on the steps, looking up at him in alarm. Then she blinked and her face morphed into confusion. His turned his back on her and continued up the steps at a faster pace than before.
“Protect him?” she called after him.
“I don’t want to talk about it, Katianna, ok?” he sighed, reaching his room and attempting to close the door.
“Blaine Devon Anderson, if you lock me out I will rub chili peppers over all your underwear next time I do the laundry!”
“Fine!” he shouted in exasperation, storming away and promptly falling face first into the center of his bed.
She followed him in and closed the door softly, coming to stand by him for a few moments. She sat on the bed gingerly, as if afraid of startling him.
“Protect him?” she asked gently.
His groan was muffled from the comforter. He pulled his head up and began to pace his room, his fist clenched tightly.
“Don’t you get it? I can’t be with him! Look at all the awful things that happen to him without us dating! How can I put him at risk for the sake of my own selfishness?”
“Blaine, surely you don’t believe that…” Katianna tried, standing up and attempting to intercept him.
“It doesn’t matter if I do or don’t!” he yelled, face hurt and angry. “Because that is what has happened, and it is what will happen again! No matter what I do, I’m not good enough for him! I’m not-,”
He paused, breathing heavily and blinking rapidly. He marched back to his bed and sat down upon it. His whole body tensed; and then relaxed with a large, depressed sigh.
“I’m not… strong enough,” he whispered to the ground, his hands coming up to hide his face. Katianna saw him inhale deeply, releasing with a heavy sounding sigh.
"I don't understand what's happening," he murmured.
She looked over at him sadly, seeing so much the little brother she never had, and never knew she wanted. She sat beside him on his bed, reaching up to run her fingers soothingly through his unruly black locks.
"Did I ever tell you about Antonio?" she asked gently.
She waited patiently as the boxer continued to breathe into his palms. After a moment or two, she saw his shoulder rise slightly in a small shrug. She smiled softly.
"I was a junior in High school when we first met," she began, continuing her menstruations on his hair. "He was a junior as well, and we met through a mutual friend. We had the same gym period, but different classes, so I saw him every day. And he made it clear just how cool he thought I was.
"It was really exciting at first. I had been single since the second day of sophomore year, and the few dates I had at the dances didn't even have kisses. Heck, I kissed my best girl friend first, and that was because of Truth-or-Dare. So to have someone be into me, and into me so strongly, I was ecstatic. I'm a hopeless romantic at heart, and being single never sat well with me, even though I lived life perfectly happy without dating.
"Mind you, we never actually dated. We flirted, boy did we flirt and tease, but that was it. Then one day I invited him over to give me a guitar lesson. I'd always wanted to learn, and true alone time was always a good way to judge the extent of a crush. But as I was getting ready for him to come over, I realized I had opted to leave my glasses on instead of putting in my contacts. I had never done that before, not even for my boyfriends. Only this wasn't a good sign; not for me."
By this time Blaine was looking up at her, genuine interest in his warm honey eyes. She felt her heart warm at the sight. Her own brother had never been interested in spending time with her, talking with her, even acknowledging her. He was always so embarrassed by her, how she was the opposite of conforming, and he was the very definition of it. Aside from threatening her ex after their breakup her sophomore year, it was more like having a live-in tenant than a twin. The fact that Blaine truly wanted to listen to her was the kind of affection she never knew she craved.
"And it was confusing, because I liked when he put his arm around my waist, I liked when he teased me, I liked when he called me nick-names. But if I didn't care about him seeing me at perfection only, because in my mind the boys I like deserve someone so pretty... I realized that I wasn't trying to capture his interest; I was simply taking."
Blaine cocked an eyebrow, the stud shinning in the lighting from his desk lamp. "What do you mean by that?"
She shrugged her shoulders sadly. "What I thought was a crush on him, was really a crush on the idea of him."
Blaine frowned at that, confusion shinning stronger.
Katianna smiled meekly. "As I've said, I'm a romantic at heart. It was damaging to my ego to not be asked out, to not be the catch I - modestly, I should say - saw myself as. I wanted to experience love, like I had with my ex, and I didn't want to wait. I connect with people through physical affection, and Antonio was always providing it, all without crossing any barriers. I never felt uncomfortable, but I never let him do anything more than kiss me. And just kissing, there was no touching or biting or even tongue. He fed my ego, my hormonal need for affection, and curbed my loneliness."
"But you didn't like him enough to date him. You were settling," Blaine filled in, piecing it together.
She nodded. "I'm not proud of it. But I also just had the feeling that... he would never be able to fully commit to me, you know? He just... never made me feel like I could trust him to not cheat on me. And I had never seen this, but he always made comments about his drinking habits, and I was never comfortable with that either.
"It continued through most of senior year, actually. He asked several times if I had changed my mind, I told him every time that I just didn't see him that way, he said okay, and then we went back to our habits. He walked me to class, I walked him to the bus. I sat on his lap in GSA, he agreed to sing a duet with me during open-mic. And once in a blue moon, I would let him kiss me.
"I felt horrible afterwards. He acted okay with what we had, so I told myself there was no harm, no foul. In a sense we were a couple during school hours only, only without the dates and without the expectations, and no titles. He even brought me flowers and cute stuffed animals every once in a while, again for no reason, just because he wanted to.
"He was so good to me, too. He called me bae, cuddled with me, listened to me rant and complain, we had inside jokes and he made an effort to learn about my fandoms and celebrity crushes and all the little details I told him, like how I didn't like soda, or how I wanted tattoos but didn't want to pierce my ears; no topic was taboo between us, and I held nothing back. It was... practically flawless."
"Why didn't you give him a chance?" Blaine asked, confusion and a bit of fear creeping into his voice. "Why not just make it official?"
"Besides the reasons I previously mentioned? For what were, most likely, the same reasons you haven't with Kurt," she said softly, hesitance in her tone.
Blaine felt the tips of his triangular eyebrows touch his hairline.
"What?" he said in shock. "What are you saying?"
She held up her hands passively. "I'm not implying, just guessing. Hear me out."
He cocked an eyebrow, but crossed his arms and gestured for her to speak.
“I think you know you two are going to have to face homophobia, whether it’s with each other or someone else. I think you know everyone assumes you two are together anyway, so making it official won’t really change anything,” she said softly.
"Antonio and I were seniors in High school," she continued. "I was going to Illinois to study Architecture; he was staying there. There was a part of me that was afraid. I didn't want to give in to him, to start to gain actual feelings for him just as I was about to leave him and, possibly never see him again. I didn't want a boyfriend keeping me from experiencing college, I didn't want the possible heartbreak, and in all honesty... I didn't see him as worth the risk. I mean, I didn't love him. Why would I try then? So I didn't.
"It didn't last anyway. One day, two months from graduation, he just... up and stopped talking to me. No explanation, no confrontation... nothing. One day he was kissing my cheek; the next he didn't meet me at my locker, he kept his headphones on instead of talking to me, and practically ran from me whenever we happened to be near each other in the hall. I was perfectly fine without him in my life, but it still stung. I mean, how horrible could I be that he would run from me?"
There was silence. Blaine looked across the room to his desk, where the framed photo of Kurt leaning against his motorcycle stood proudly. He was startled when Katianna broke the silence again.
"But it's different for you and Kurt," she said, placing her hand gently on top of Blaine's, who looked up at her in surprise. She smiled fondly, like an older sister whose little sibling was experiencing their first crush.
"You're both seniors; but you're both bound for New York, NYADA acceptance or not. You're both going into the performing arts; you'll understand why you might have to cancel a date, or why it takes so long to have one at all. You have a passion that will keep you bonded together. And you're both fighters."
Blaine opened his mouth, but she held up her hand to ask for a few more moments of silence. "Yes, you're a boxer and he's a designer, but I didn't mean physically. You're both openly gay teenagers in Ohio, Blaine. Tell me you two don't have to fight to be who you are everyday of your lives. Tell me Kurt won’t have risk of being attacked for being gay, regardless if he’s in a relationship with you or not."
Blaine went to speak, but his mouth closed after a few moments of contemplation. He remained silent.
Katianna grinned, a smile meant more for herself than anything else. "You two, are unlike anything I have seen in High school before. All my friends were single or dated for a few weeks. I've never witnessed a relationship that would survive college.
"But from the moment I first saw you two together, I knew this was different. This was the exception. I don't have to know anything else to believe this, and I do."
She took his hand into hers, closing it tightly and looking at him with the most serious look he had ever seen her give him.
"What you're doing with Kurt, is just like what I did with Antonio," she whispered. "Don't keep stringing him along like this; don't act like a couple and then keep claiming you aren't. It makes it sound like you're ashamed of him. It wasn't right of me, but I had reasons and they included not returning his feelings and being too lonely to resist. You, on the other hand, are near about in love with this boy, aren't you?"
The shy blush that grazed his cheeks was answer enough for her.
"So stop fighting this," she whispered, her tone leaving no room for argument. "There is a boy that will do anything for you, who stands up against the world not just for himself, but for you as well. You only live this lifetime once, Blaine; and I believe soul mates do exist. I know you mean to protect him, but don't you think what you may have is worth the fight?"
"Without a doubt in my heart," Blaine said instantly, not even blinking at the potency behind his words. "Kurt is worth the fight; he's worth every fight."
With a final smile, she squeezed his hands gently before releasing them. She stood up from the bed, looking down on the boy who was becoming a man before her very eager eyes. "Then don't lose him over fear. Love… is worth every risk, Blaine. Love is everything."
Right before she reached the door, she heard a voice call out to her. Turning her body back towards the teen, she raised her eyebrow in acknowledgement.
"Do you really think there's someone out there who is meant to be with you?" he asked, hope shinning so brilliantly beneath his eyes.
She smiled softly, her face glowing with pride and conviction.
"I don't think," she said firmly. "My very soul... knows there is. And I promise you this; not even death will keep me from him."
With that, she walked out the room and closed the door behind her, leaving behind a boy so desperately crazy in love, it was a wonder he functioned normally at all.