Written for: sotto_voice, who loves marching band aus and Blaine and Kurt.
Characters/Pairings: Blaine Anderson/Kurt Hummel, Tina Cohen-Chang/Mike Chang, Mercedes Jones, Quinn Fabray, Rachel Berry, Matt Rutherford, Lauren Zizes, Will Schuester, Jesse St. James
Word Count: 5000+
Author's note: This is a transformative work of fiction for the television show Glee. It is also an alternate universe in which they are all in marching band instead of glee club. This is story two, and follows "Burn This Town Down Tonight" (Lauren/Puck, 16+ for underage sexual activities): AO3, Part One LJ, DW | Part Two LJ, DW | Part Three LJ, DW | Part Four LJ, DW.
Summary: No matter how Blaine pretends, he is not the man he wants to be.
I am just a man
I'm not superhuman
Someone save me from the hate
The Lima Bean is crowded. There are a lot of adults in business suits, carrying newspapers and briefcases, but mostly it’s crowded with people his age. The adults go fast, mostly medium or large drips and maybe a muffin, but the others -- his classmates, in their whirl of bright colors and mismatched outfits. Blaine hesitates just inside the door, staring at them, and he doesn't realize how tight he’s gripping the strap of his bag until the little bird pin jabs its beak into his palm -- order frothy sweet iced drinks and cookies and donuts.
McKinley will be riding a sugar high until lunch, he can already tell.
He rises up on his toes a bit, looking around. Kurt’s a little taller than he is, but not enough so it makes much difference, not like his giant stepbrother, not in this crowded room. Still, Blaine can’t help but think he should be able to pick him out. Kurt is -- exceptional, and Blaine should have a better sense of him.
“Your first day without a uniform and that’s all the effort you made?” Kurt’s at his elbow, hands on his hips and shaking his head in dismay. Blaine fights hard against his flush and wishes for a mirror. He looks good in brand new but artfully worn jeans and a fitted black and white stripped t-shirt under a dark red sweater, or at least that’s what he thought before he left his house.
(It’s too hot for the sweater, but he likes the bright pop of color juxtaposed against the black and white. It’s more than an aesthetically pleasing addition, though. When he got dressed, the shirt by itself was too thin and he was too exposed. He misses the crisp lines of his Dalton blazer and the perfect knot of the tie at his throat.)
“My fashion fairy godfather failed to show up with his magic wand this morning.” Blaine smiles brightly to cover his nerves. He spent extra time on his hair, carefully smoothing gel through it. His mother shook her head when she saw him -- why do you want to look like something you’re not? she asked the first time she saw him struggling to hide the curls, and smoothed her hands along his cheeks, and kissed his forehead -- but told him she loved him and hoped he had a good first day at his new school.
(His parents don’t understand why he transferred. For all his vast vocabulary, he doesn’t have the words that will make sense to them. He doesn't even have words that make sense to himself.)
They make small talk through the line, until they have their coffees and move off to the side to add sugar. Or Blaine does, at least.
“Are you ready for public school?” Kurt asks.
Blaine pops the lid off his coffee and blows on it lightly, the steam curling up around his face. He looks at Kurt through it and smiles. “Of course. Everyone will love me, I am a delight.” His grin widens when Kurt doesn’t even bother to hide his little snort of laughter. “And I have a secret weapon.”
“Oh?” Kurt lifts one eyebrow.
“Yes.” He snaps the lid back into place and takes a slow drink. Kurt was right. The coffee here is good. His gaze lingers on Kurt’s mouth for a moment, and then he meets his eyes. “You, obviously.”
Kurt’s cheeks go slightly pink, and he breathes in sharply, but he doesn’t smile. That’s okay. Blaine’s already figured out that sometimes, the less he smiles, the more he wants to. “I am your secret weapon?”
“I see no wrong with aligning myself with the best dressed person in school.”
That earns him the tiniest hint of a smile. “One harm,” Kurt says, lightly tapping his finger against the top of his coffee.
“Your outfit looks so much worse in comparison.”
Blaine laughs, long and loud, and he doesn’t care that there’s an impatient line behind them or that they’ll have to leave for school soon or that, actually, he is really nervous, because right there, with Kurt, he’s so glad he left Dalton, so glad he decided to take that risk.
They’re sitting together in band while Mr. Schuester takes roll -- so many names, and it’s no wonder they leave their instruments put away -- when Blaine leans closer to Kurt, who has his head down, looking at something on his phone. Something from Mercedes, or at least that’s the impression Blaine gets from the way they keep looking at each other and laughing without saying anything, even though they’re sitting side by side. (One benefit of no instruments means they can mingle without worrying about staying with their sections. Only the drumline stays together, though Lauren looks very unhappy and sits with her arms crossed over her chest, glowering at Mr. Schuester. Blaine has no idea what’s going on there.)
Still, Kurt looks at him when he speaks. “Do you have dvds of previous competitions?” He keeps his voice low not so much because he’s worried about interrupting Mr. Schuester, but because it’s probably not the best idea to admit he knows this little about marching band in the middle of the band.
Kurt nods. “Somewhere. Quinn might know.” She’s on the far side of their group, looking intently at Mr. Schuester. “Why?”
Blaine lowers his voice even more, in part because he doesn’t want everyone to hear, and in part because it gives him an excuse to scoot even closer to Kurt. “I’ve never seen a high school marching band.”
“Never?” Kurt’s voice is sharp and loud. Everyone turns to look at them, and Blaine sits back quickly, his cheeks warm. Kurt ignores everyone else, and they don’t stare long when nothing interesting is going on. “Never?” he says again, quieter, and Blaine shakes his head.
Mercedes nudges Kurt, and he types something frantically into his phone. Mercedes types something back -- of course they’re texting while sitting right next to each other. Blaine’s phone is safely locked away in his locker, because at Dalton, they weren’t allowed them during classes -- and Kurt nods.
He puts his hand on Blaine’s shoulder and urges him closer. (It doesn’t take much.) “Two birds, one stone,” he murmurs. Blaine shrugs, confused, and Kurt’s grin is slightly twisted. “You’ll see a competitive marching band, and we’ll check out the competition. Friday’s an away game for us, and the band doesn’t travel this early in the season.”
“So we’re going to check out Carmel’s show.” He sits back, smug and pleased, and Blaine shrugs again, because there is no way he’s going to turn down the chance to spend Friday night with Kurt, even though he doesn't understand why Kurt seems so pleased with himself.
Their trip to Carmel takes an interesting turn. Blaine assumes it will be the usual suspects, and he is glad for it. He finds himself unexpectedly missing their daily band camp lunches. It hasn’t been the same this week. All marching band members have the same lunch, but the dynamics are different when Wes, David, and Matt join their table, and Lauren has been scarce all week.
His plans are shot down fast. Tina can’t go because she already has a date, and she’s so giddy and smiling no one can really be upset with her for ditching them. Wednesday at lunch, Matt announces a drumline sectional after school Friday, and later, Lauren storms through the school, glaring at anyone who looks at her.
And then there were four.
Friday, Quinn spends so much time staring hungrily at the cheerleaders walking around in their uniforms, their skirts swishing across their thighs, that finally Blaine asks Kurt, leaning in close because it’s another good excuse to rest his chin on Kurt’s shoulder and whisper near his ear, if she’s gay.
It’s a good thing he’s watching so close, or he would miss the way Kurt shivers a little. His voice is even when he says she’s not and that he will fill Blaine in later. Which is fine. Blaine’s curiosity is piqued, but better still is the promise of a private conversation with Kurt, even if they will be discussing someone else.
They’re supposed to meet at Kurt’s car after school, but Blaine hurries out of his last class, working his way through the crowd of students frenetic with weekend freedom, and manages to beat Kurt. He’s leaning casually against Kurt’s locker when he shows up, and if Kurt is surprised to see him, he doesn’t show it. Blaine, meanwhile, beams and bounces out of his way.
“This is going to be fun,” he says, unable to temper his enthusiasm.
Kurt shakes his head slowly. “I still can’t believe you’ve never seen a high school marching band.”
Blaine rocks forward onto the balls of his feet, shoving his hands into his back pockets. “I’ve seen the Pride of the Buckeyes,” he offers. “Dalton didn’t have a football team.”
Kurt huffs a little. “It’s not about football,” he says, but he smiles too, slings his bag over his shoulder, and shuts his locker. “Come along then, it’s high time you saw the competition.”
Quinn is waiting at Kurt’s big, shiny black Navigator. Even though it is sunny and warm, she’s wearing her red and white letterman jacket, her hair pulled back in a tight, sleek ponytail. Her hands are shoved into her coat pockets, and she’s leaning against the passenger door. She doesn’t look up until Kurt remotely unlocks the doors.
“Where’s Mercedes?” Quinn asks and smiles. If she looked sad a moment before, she doesn’t now, and Blaine doubts what he thinks he saw.
Kurt lifts one shoulder in a languid shrug. “I thought she would be out here already.”
Blaine catches sight of her headed toward them, and just as he says, “There she is,” Quinn looks too and groans.
“Why am I being punished?” she asks, but she’s looking at the sky, not at them.
There’s a short brunette walking -- more like skipping -- next to Mercedes. They’re both carrying backpacks and similar black instrument cases, so he's guessing she plays the trumpet too, but Blaine has no idea who the newcomer is.
He looks at Kurt, ready to ask, but his expression matches Quinn’s. Never mind then, he’ll work it out for himself. Turns out, he doesn’t have to, because she is more than willing to tell him all about her.
She’s Rachel Berry. With a gold star, because it is a metaphor for her being a star. (Not a very subtle metaphor, that one, but he manages to grin instead of laugh, and she beams back at him.) She has two gay dads, she's a junior like they are, and she will play for the New York Philharmonic and then the London Philharmonic -- its official logo is a star, which is a sign, and Rachel bounces in her seat while she talks about it -- but she would also like to be the first woman to be the principal trumpet player for the London Symphony Orchestra. She is so talented she cannot restrict her music to one country only.
(Mercedes rolls her eyes and snorts, but doesn’t look up from her phone. Blaine still hasn’t figured out the dynamics between them all. Quinn sits, her hands tucked together neatly in her lap, staring out the window. Mercedes is next to her, playing with her phone. In the seat behind them, Rachel leans forward, her hands on the back of their seat. He doesn’t think they’re friends, but if they’re not, why would Mercedes bring her?)
Kurt plugs in his iPod and music fills the car. Blaine doesn’t have time to take a breath before the other three are singing along, belting out the words, and they sound good. He sits and listens to them through the end, and when Kurt sneaks a little look at him, he grins his approval and gives him two thumbs up.
The next song, he joins in too, and he likes the way his voice sounds with Kurt’s.
Carmel High School is packed. Their football team must actually be good. They can’t find a spot in the lot and have to park a few blocks away. Blaine is relieved when Quinn sheds her McKinley colors and leaves her jacket in the car. Still, Blaine wonders if they will fit in, because none of them are exactly showing school spirit for Carmel either, and at Dalton, you could always pick out the new guys immediately because you’d never seen them before. Not at Carmel, though. Both the home and the visitor sections are packed with people. Many of the students wear school colors, but not all of them.
Blaine starts to sit near the band -- that’s why they’re here, after all -- but Kurt nudges him up into the stands. “You want a better view than that,” he says, his hand on Blaine’s elbow, “and we don’t want to get too close. They do know what we look like.”
“And they’ll what, pelt us with used reeds?” Which is actually disgusting, and not at all what he wants to be thinking about when Kurt is touching him like that, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind and it spills out.
Luckily, Kurt laughs even while he grimaces.
“Last year, they threw eggs at Rachel,” Mercedes says. Rachel gamely smiles and edges her way down the bench until there’s room for all of them. There’s a vulnerable tremble to the set of her mouth.
They sound like that is something normal, but it is not. “Why would they do that?”
Mercedes sits next to Rachel and takes her hand. “Because they’re entitled assholes,” she says.
“Rachel’s vegan,” Kurt adds in a quiet aside.
“It was cruel.” Quinn takes the end seat, but doesn’t sit down. Instead she stands, arms crossed over her stomach, and stares down toward the football field. He can’t tell if she’s frowning at the marching band or the Carmel booster section or the cheerleaders, but her expression is pinched, her eyebrows drawn down tight.
The band gets up and files away from the bleachers, in silent, perfect rows. They line up along the far side of the field while the football teams finish warming up and finally leave the field.
Mercedes tugs Rachel to her feet, and the five of them stand together in a row, watching the band. It’s a little creepy; Blaine is used to McKinley’s marching band -- their marching band -- and they do not hold attention like that, so still it’s hard to tell if they’re breathing.
“They’re the ones to beat in Ohio,” Kurt tells him. They’re standing very close together, and Blaine is sharply aware of every time Kurt’s arm bumps against his. “They’re horrible.”
Their four drum majors call them to attention, and the sound of their “hut” rolls across the field like thunder. The band is massive, probably four hundred people, but they sound like one voice, and when they start marching onto the field, every step is right in time.
They perform pre-game in a solid block, the color guard around the outside, the drumline horizontally across the center. It’s similar to the simple, standard opening fair that the freshman and transfers (the freshman and Blaine, he’s the only transfer in marching band and maybe the only transfer in the entire high school) learned during their pre-band camp week of practice, but Carmel sounds incredible, pitch perfect and full. (Blaine recognizes two of the songs they play, “The Star Spangled Banner” of course, but also “Carmen Ohio” which he knows from Ohio State games. He’s guessing the other two are school songs, and from the way the crowd reacts to one of them, it’s definitely the fight song.)
“Wow,” Blaine says when they’re done.
“Just wait.” Kurt grimaces, but he also turns and dusts off the bleacher before sitting down, so Blaine isn’t sure if the face he pulls is aimed at the band or the dirty seat. Blaine sits too, close enough their legs touch and he cares less about the intimidating perfection of the band.
Blaine and Quinn actually watch the football game. Kurt, Mercedes, and Rachel sit and gossip for awhile -- maybe they are friends? Blaine considers it, but there’s a football game on! Football, and Carmel looks like a pretty good team, and he’s easily distracted -- and then Mercedes pulls some glossy fashion magazines out of her bag and she and Kurt start talking Homecoming.
(Which is weeks away, but Kurt pats Blaine’s arm whenever he wants his attention, and Blaine happily drags his attention away from the game to admire the cut of a particular jacket or the smooth line of a tie.)
During the first time-out of the second quarter, the cheerleaders kick off a quick dance routine, and Quinn leans forward, her hands clenched tight together. Blaine knows she’s been watching the game -- they both cheered hard for a good tackle about a minute into the game, and she turned to look at him a moment, smiling, and then she actually started talking about the plays sometimes -- but now she looks...well, he’s not sure how she looks. Desperate, maybe, or heart-broken.
(He’s been so focused on Kurt -- on Kurt, on Kurt, on Kurt, the repetition like the chorus of the song in his heart -- and on learning his way through the trials of marching band that he hasn’t caught up on all the gossip he needs. And Kurt, though he has a cruel-yet-on-point comment for everyone else, is protective of his girls, and Blaine has heard little from him about Mercedes, Quinn, Tina, and Lauren. Rachel, too, it seems. He is silent about Finn as well, but the way he shies away from gossip about his step-brother feels different somehow.)
When there’s five minutes left on the clock, the band starts to make their way out of the stands. They are absolutely silent, the wind fluttering their plumes, and even though it’s so hot sweat trickles down the small of his back, he shivers. There was no marching band at Dalton, but he knows well the heavy weight of tradition.
The crowd cheers as the quarter ends and the football teams head to the locker rooms. They cheer again, rising to their feet, as the marching band takes the field. The drum majors do their salute, complicated and flashy, and spread out, three up front, one at the back. The band stands so still at attention, chins up, expressions fierce. Not even the color guard or the twirlers smile.
It drags on, and though Blaine can see how it is intentional, making the audience wait, he finds himself standing without fully considering it, leaning forward a little as the anticipation builds.
Kurt huffs, but he stands too and places one hand on Blaine’s shoulder. “Wait,” he says, his voice low.
There’s no warning when the show begins, just sudden movement and music. The brass comes in first, the trumpets clear and bright and beneath that the rumble of the trombones and sousaphones.
It goes on and on, perfect sound and perfect marching. Their white shoes flash against the field, and every misstep would be visible except there is none. The second the music begins, guard and twirlers flash smiles so big and so wide they should look fake, but don't.
Even though it’s only the first week of school, they have all four songs on the field, and they are good. Really, really good. Competition ready, Blaine thinks, even though he’s not entirely sure what that means for a marching band. But they are powerhouses of sound and movement, and the way their drumline slams out rhythms that make his heart stutter, he’s reminded of Lauren that first day at lunch -- the day he met Kurt, and Blaine hopes he will never want to stop referring to it like that -- and the only real thing she’s said to him in three weeks. Carmel’s drumline is the heartbeat of this band and their sound pulses through him.
Blaine reaches out and grabs Kurt’s arm, because this is horrible. He can’t imagine how they will ever be good enough to beat Carmel, no matter how confident everyone seems during rehearsals and no matter how hard they worked during band camp. They are not even good enough to compete with that, no where near good enough to win.
During the fourth song, one of their trumpets steps onto the fifty yard line. The band moves around him in a slick spiral, and he lifts his trumpet high, aiming at the press box. The sound that comes out is a wail, the most beautiful tone Blaine has ever heard come from a brass instrument. His solo goes on and on, ringing through the band, silencing the stands, and he closes out the show, this star around which everyone else turns.
Even when he snaps down his trumpet, his head stays up, and it’s like he’s staring at them, sneering at them, daring them to do something about it.
“Rachel, get down,” Mercedes says, and Blaine can finally look away from the soloist. Rachel’s actually standing on the bench so she can see over the people in front of her; all the color has drained out of her face, and her eyes are very wide and very dark.
“We should go.” Quinn immediately steps onto the stairs. “We need to get out of here before the band gets back.”
The marching band is leaving the field on one end, the football teams entering from the other end, and the crowd is full of energy, surging around them. Blaine stumbles after her. Kurt catches his arm when he actually trips against the edge of the metal bench, and they stop on the stairs a second, letting Rachel and Mercedes go ahead of them.
“Come on, girl,” Mercedes says, her hands on Rachel’s shoulders. “He is not worth it.”
“I didn’t say I was going to do anything,” Rachel argues, her voice shrill.
“You don’t have to say it.” Mercedes nudges her down the stairs. “Everything going on in that head of yours right now needs to stop.”
Blaine turns to Kurt, not sure what he’s going to say first -- “What’s up with Rachel?” or “How are we supposed to beat that? -- but the crowd pushes against them and they have to start walking or be crushed. People are moving fast now, hurrying to the concession stand before the second half starts, or to the bathroom, or just to go talk in big groups in everyone else’s way.
There are too many people, and they push too close. Someone dodges in between Kurt and Blaine, and even though he’s out of the way a second later, Blaine is sure he’s about to lose the only people he knows in the whole stadium. He reaches out again, grabs Kurt again, and this time, Kurt takes his hand right back, his fingers curling around Blaine’s. The girls are already out of sight, and he’s moving fast, even though he’s the driver and therefore they’re not going anywhere without him.
It’s not how he’s been imagining holding Kurt’s hand, but it’s pretty great. They reach the bottom of the bleachers, but Blaine just holds tighter, and Kurt doesn’t let go. There’s a bottleneck near the gate, where people aren’t really leaving, but keep meeting up with their friends and only some of them cut off toward the concession stand. They have to stop, and Kurt turns to look at him thoughtfully.
Blaine wants to say something smooth, something that will hide the fact he’s never done this before, never had a boyfriend, never even really dated, he’s just had crushes on unattainable guys because, as much as he likes who he is, unattainable guys are safe, and he’s not always ready to be the person he needs to be. He’s not even sure who that person is, most days.
“Fucking faggots.” And something hard -- an elbow, maybe a fist -- slams into the small of Blaine’s back. He stumbles into Kurt, falling, falling, but Kurt takes his weight like it's nothing, braces him until his balance is back.
Blaine is speechless, but not Kurt. “Big words for someone who only needs to know how to say ‘do you want fries with that.’” Though he sounds cold and calm, his hands are tight on Blaine’s arms.
When he finally turns, Blaine can’t tell who said it. Some people are eyeing them, the way they stand so close, but no one is in their faces.
“I hate Ohio,” Kurt says, his voice low. He squeezes Blaine’s arms and lets him go. “Will you be okay?”
It’s then that Blaine realizes he’s shaking. He tries to smile, to reassure Kurt that everything is fine, and it is a sad statement about that person’s self esteem that he has to pick on two people for their sexuality, but his tongue is numb.
“Come on.” Kurt takes his hand again, a hard set to his jaw. “Let’s go home.”
The girls know something’s wrong, but Kurt won’t talk about it, and Blaine can’t. He buckles himself into the front seat and stares out the window the entire ride back to Lima. Mercedes and Kurt keep the conversation going, but there are more things left unsaid than any of their words could cover.
Kurt drops off Rachel first. She crawls out of the third row, but as she’s sliding out Quinn’s door, she stops and puts her hand on Blaine’s shoulder.
“People can say horrible things.” She squeezes his shoulder and offers a small smile to Kurt and then she’s gone.
“Rachel Berry.” Kurt sighs, like that says everything. Probably it does, to Mercedes and Quinn, but all Blaine cares about is how she possibly knew without being there.
After Kurt takes Mercedes and Quinn home, he and Blaine sit in silence until the door shuts behind the girls. The radio is on too low for Blaine to make out any of the words. Kurt stares at him, his face slightly green in the light cast off the dash.
“Do you want to go home?” he asks.
“I didn’t think so.” Kurt puts the car into gear, and Blaine turns back to the window again, trusting in Kurt.
They end up back at the Lima Bean. Every seat inside is taken, but even if they could get a table, Blaine wouldn’t want it. Kurt leaves Blaine in the car with the radio while he gets them coffee. When he gets back, he hands over Blaine’s coffee. It’s so hot it burns his fingers even through the paper cuff.
“Is that,” Kurt is hesitant and his words come slow. Blaine has never heard him sound like this, not once in the three week’s they’ve spent so many hours together, “the first time someone called you that?”
Blaine could lie, could brush it off and change the conversation. Sitting in the dark with Kurt, tucked away from the rest of the world, safe in Kurt’s space, he wants to talk about it.
“No.” Blaine stares down at his coffee. “At my old school, it was bad. The harassment was bad.”
“Is that why you left Dalton?”
“What?” Blaine’s head comes up fast, but it makes sense. He doesn’t talk about that part of his life much. How could Kurt know? “My old, old school. I transferred to Dalton freshman year to get away from everything.”
Kurt nods. “Did they hurt you?”
“No.” Blaine has to look away, because Kurt looks so sympathetic, so knowing that he can’t handle it. “Just words. Really horrible, hurtful words, and notes in my bag, and abuse written on my locker and spray painted on my car. But it sucked, and it made me so mad.” He stops, because he hates what comes next almost as much as he hates the memory of the harassment. “There was this guy, he was younger, but he wanted -- I don’t know. He wanted to be popular, I guess. He called me an ass licker and poured his soda all over my history report. It was the end of the year, that was half my grade, and I just -- I snapped. I hit him.” Blaine’s hands are shaking so hard the coffee spills up through the lid, and he quickly sets it in the cup holder. “I hit him a lot. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but he didn’t either, and he was little, and I couldn’t stop.”
Kurt’s silent, and Blaine can’t help himself, he can’t, not when he cares so much about what Kurt thinks. He has to look, has to know if he’s ruined everything between them because he cannot, will not, lie. Not to Kurt.
So he looks up, and Kurt is staring at him, but there’s no horror, no disgust, just this endless sympathy and sadness and understanding. Blaine hates that he knows, that he can empathize, but at the same time, he’s warmed through and through.
“It was wrong,” he says, not because this is a lesson he wants to impart, but because he needs to remind himself. Sometimes still, the anger burns so deep inside of him, and he doesn’t ever want to be that person again. “Prejudice is just ignorance, and you can’t fix ignorance with violence. I shouldn’t have hit him, and I shouldn’t have run away after.”
He nods. “I was in trouble for hitting him, even though no one, no one, cared when I complained about the bullying. I was the bad guy. I should have understood I was doing something wrong, should have known if I was going to choose to be gay, that was the consequence.” Even now, as he tries so hard to be calm, frustration and fury burns him up inside. “I told my parents I couldn’t go back, and they got me into Dalton.”
Kurt keeps waiting, keeps listening, even when he stops and the silence is so thick.
“I ran, Kurt.” He clenches his hands into fists and presses them against his thighs. “I let them scare me away, and I regret it. Because no matter how I pretend to be brave, no matter how hard I want to stay at McKinley and deal with things like tonight, all I can think about is that I ran away last time, and I’m not brave at all.”
Kurt puts his hand over Blaine’s. His fingers are soft, and he strokes his thumb across Blaine’s skin. “I think you’re brave.” His voice is gentle, quiet, but there’s more strength, more intensity in it than Blaine’s ever heard directed at him before. His eyes burn, and he blinks quickly. The last thing he wants to do is look away from Kurt. “And even when it feels like you’re not,” he squeezes Blaine’s hand, “we can be brave together.”
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