Chapter 11

Chapter Eleven

The moment that Blaine first set eyes on Kurt, he knew that he was special. He had watched them lower Kurt into the pit where he sat waiting, deciding to take it upon himself to disguise himself as a fellow prisoner to gain Kurt's trust and get him to talk. His Council had not wanted him to do this, but Blaine had wanted to, and whatever Blaine wanted, he got.

As soon as Kurt's feet brushed against the ground, they dropped him, making the boy collapse to the ground with a hard thud. Blaine subconsciously winced as the boy fell, a wave of pity washing over him as the boy ripped his gag from his mouth and let out a quiet sob.

Stop that! Blaine reprimanded himself. He's just a prisoner, a spoiled brat of the Governor. He's probably just upset that he's getting his clothes dirty.

Blaine waited for a minute for the boy to move, to look around, but he remained curled up on the ground, sobbing quietly to himself.

Ok, Blaine smiled, stepping forward. It's show time!

"Hey," he called out, making his voice sound soft and kind. The boy looked up, but wasn't able to see him due to the blindfold. Blaine watched as he started to reach for it, but quickly knelt down and took it off for him.

And then he saw those eyes.

Those beautiful blue eyes. No, not blue... but at the same time, yes. They were so much more than just plain, old blue. They were beautiful. They were magical.

Focus, Blaine! he snapped himself out of his daze.

"Are you okay?" he asked, watching as Kurt's mouth opened and closed with no words coming out. He looked like a fish out of water and Blaine couldn't help but find himself wanting to chuckle, though he held it in and gave him a friendly smile instead.

"I'm Blaine," he told him. "What's your name?"

"K-Kurt," the boy stuttered. No, not boy. Now that he saw him up close, Kurt looked like he could be as old as Blaine was.

"That's a nice name," Blaine smiled, truly meaning it. "Do you have a last name, Kurt?"

Without waiting a second, Kurt nodded and said, "Hummel."

Perfect, Blaine grinned internally as he let his eyes widen with a mock surprise.

"Hummel as in Governor Hummel Hummel?" he asked, raising his eyebrows inquisitively.

"Y-Yes," Kurt nodded again. "I-I'm his son."

Now it was time to put his acting abilities into full effect.

"Is he coming for you?" Blaine asked eagerly, suddenly grabbing Kurt by the shoulders. "Is he coming to rescue you?"

"No," Kurt shook his head sadly. "He doesn't know where I am. I don't even know where I am." Blaine let out a heavy, disappointed sigh as he let go of Kurt and fell back onto his bottom, though he was smiling internally.

Good, he thought. That means he won't find us. Now, I wonder how much daddy dearest would be willing to get back this gorgeous man- No! Blaine, stop that! He's your prisoner, nothing more!

Getting back into his acting, Blaine let tears roll down his cheek.

"I thought that maybe I finally had a chance of getting out of here," he whispered softly. "I'm never going to get out of here!"

"Yes, you will," Kurt said, taking the bait as he crawled over to Blaine. He suddenly wrapped his arms around Blaine, which startled Blaine immensely. He hadn't expected this. He also hadn't expected the strange feelings that he suddenly got. Luckily, Blaine was very good at hiding his true emotions.

"When I get home, I'll get my dad to pay whatever ransom these men want for you," Kurt promised. Those were the words that Blaine wanted to hear. Governor Hummel would be willing to pay whatever they asked for. Blaine could already feel the gold in his hands... Hands, warm hands, holding him close to a warm body...

No! Blaine snapped himself out of it as he pulled away from Kurt and looked up at him, trying to focus on what he was supposed to be doing.

"You'd do that? For me?" he sniffed. "How do you know he'll do it?"

"My dad loves me," Kurt replied, smiling slightly. He had a cute smile. "He'd do anything to make sure that I get home safe and if I tell him that I have a friend still trapped here, he'd do whatever he could to get you back safely too."

There it was. The final solidification that this plan would work. A father would do anything and pay anything to get back the son he loves.

"Thanks, Kurt," Blaine smiled. "You have no idea how much your words mean to me."

He couldn't resist. He suddenly threw his arms around Kurt in a hug, partly because he felt that his character would do that, but also partly because he wanted to. He could never admit it to anyone, but Blaine could already feeling himself becoming attached to this dazzling eyed man. He wanted to hold on to him and never let him go.

But as his arms touched Kurt's back, Kurt suddenly let out a heartbreaking cry of pain. Blaine quickly pulled away, allowing his true feelings of shock and worry slip out.

"What's wrong?" he asked, worry lacing his voice. "What did I do?"

Kurt took a deep breath, as if attempting to control the pain that he was obviously in, before replying.

"It's not your fault," he said, turning slightly to show Blaine his back. "I tried to run and was caught." Blaine sucked in a hard, sharp breath as he saw Kurt's back. It was littered with thick, red welts and it did not even take Blaine two seconds to realize what they were from. Everyone knew what the punishment for disobedience or failure was here.

"They look worse than they actually are," Kurt said, trying to play it off as if it were no big deal. It took Blaine a second to realize that Kurt was trying to calm him. "I was supposed to get twenty but only got ten."

Twenty? Blaine screamed inwardly. They wanted to mar his beautiful skin twenty times?!

"Who did this to you?" he asked, his voice low and full of rage as Kurt turned back to look at him.

"Blaine, it's fine-" Kurt started to say.

"Who did this to you?!" Blaine repeated, his voice rising as he cut Kurt off. He would not tolerate this... this abomination!

"T-The leader," Kurt replied, his eyes widening in surprise at Blaine's reaction. "W-Wes."

Blaine instantly recognized the name. Wes was one of his higher ups in command, one who sometimes took advantage of the power that he had over those beneath him. Blaine had usually let Wes get away with things like this, but not this time. He leapt to his feet and crossed over to the side of the pit where the trap door was.

"Let me out!" he yelled at the guards above.

"Blaine, I don't think that-" Kurt started to say, foolishly still believing that Blaine was a prisoner like him. But he wasn't. He was the most powerful man in this camp!

The trap door at the top suddenly opened, silencing Kurt as a rope dropped down. Blaine slid his foot into the loop at the bottom, his hand locking securely above a knot halfway up the rope before he gave the rope a short, hard tug. Remembering who he was leaving, he quickly turned back to Kurt and forced a smile onto his face.

"Thank you so much for your help, Kurt Hummel," he grinned, giving Kurt a mock bow. "It was greatly appreciated." He was then lifted out of the pit before Kurt could utter another word. The second he got out, he grabbed the nearest guard and pulled him close to his face.

"Send Wes to me," he growled lowly, suddenly releasing the man and storming away, back to his tent.

It did not take long for Wes to arrive. When Blaine gave an order, it was followed. Immediately.

"You called for me, Sir?" Wes asked, lowering his head submissively to Blaine.

"You beat our prisoner?" Blaine asked in a low voice, instantly telling the man standing before him that he was unhappy.

"H-He tried to escape," Wes explained, fidgeting anxiously. "I had to teach him a lesson. He should have gotten the full twenty if Jeff hadn't-"

"Jeff?" Blaine attention caught on the name. Jeff was one of his closest friends and one of the few people that he completely trusted.

"Yes, Sir," Wes continued hesitantly. "I had placed him in charge of the prisoner. When he escaped, Jeff was punished as well for allowing him to escape. But instead of just taking his twenty lashes as punishment, he begged me to give him the prisoner's punishment as well. I could not give him the full twenty as the prisoner needed to be taught a lesson, so I only gave him ten extra. The other ten were given to the prisoner."

"And you saw it fit to beat the prisoner without my consent?" Blaine snapped. "If he is to be taught a lesson, it will be by me or whoever I instruct to, and in my camp, under my supervision! This was not your decision to make!"

"Forgive me, Sir," Wes kept his head low in submission, but his words were tight and forced.

"You have disappointed me, Wes," Blaine sighed, signaling to the guards standing by the door, who promptly moved forward and grabbed a startled Wes by the arms. "And I see disappointment as a type of failure. And we all know what failure means." He turned to look at one of the guards. "Twenty lashes, plus ten, so that he will know what it means to take someone else's burdens upon themself." He waved them away, dragging a protesting Wes behind them, before gesturing to another guard.

"Where is Jeff?" he asked, calming himself after having to deal with Wes.

"He is in the infirmary, Sir," the man told him.

"Good," Blaine nodded. "Have them bring the prisoner there as well and tend to his wounds. His body is not as used to our type of punishment as we are."

His beautiful body, with his pale skin... Blaine shook his head, trying to push those thoughts away. He couldn't think like that about the prisoner.

"And one more thing," Blaine said as he moved over to the table and picked up a piece of paper. "Send me Sebastian." Again, Blaine's orders were followed immediately without question.

To say that Sebastian arrived instantly was not an exaggeration. It was almost as if he had been waiting for Blaine to summon him.

"Sir," he lowered his head in a slight bow as he entered the tent. "You called for me?" Blaine did not miss the seductive tone to Sebastian's voice.

"I know what you're thinking, Bas," Blaine sighed, looking up from the table where he had been writing. "And it's not going to happen. I called you in here for a different reason. I want you to deliver a message to Governor Hummel."

"Forgive me for asking, but why me?" Sebastian asked, a little put off.

"You're one of my fastest riders," Blaine explained as he finished writing the ransom note for the Governor. He left it on the table for a moment to let the ink dry as he walked over to a chest and pulled it open. Inside were multiple different sized scrolls. He quickly picked the one he wanted and handed it to Sebastian along with the ransom note.

"If he agrees to the terms on this, then give him the map as well," Blaine told him, ignoring the way Sebastian's eyes rolled over him. "On it is the location of the exchange of where he'll get his son back. That is, as long as he complies with all of our demands and you are not followed."

"And if I am?" Sebastian asked curiously.

"We will cross that bridge when we get to it," Blaine replied dismissively. "Now go. You have a long journey ahead of you."

Sebastian gave him a low bow before exiting the tent. Blaine let out a heavy sigh of relief as the other man left without argument. Sebastian could be quite a handful at times, so he had to be kept on a tight leash. He'd heard rumours of things that Sebastian had done on raids, but no one had come forward to confirm that they were true, so he could do nothing about it. But it was definitely no secret that Sebastian was not shy about his wants. If he wanted something, he would not give up until he got it.

He was in the raid group that brought back Kurt, he suddenly remembered, feeling slightly queasy. What if he tried something with Kurt?

Why should you care? his realistic side reprimanded him. He's just a prisoner. Once the exchange goes down, you'll never see him again. He won't be your problem anymore.

"No," Blaine whispered silently to himself. "He'll become an even bigger problem."

Blaine shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. Why could he not stop thinking about Kurt? He was just a spoiled brat, whose father would probably buy him whatever he wanted. Rich and privileged, having a life which Blaine had been denied. No, he could not think about Kurt fondly. Kurt was just like all of those condescending, judgmental people who looked down at them like common criminals.

If only they knew the truth about us, he sighed. All they see us as are filthy, bad people, crooks, people to be afraid of. How did it come to this? Why did this have to happen to me?

"I need to clear my head," he said out loud, half to himself and half to whoever could be listening. He quickly strode out of his tent, waving away the guards who were about to follow him. He just wanted to be alone.

Blaine walked around the camp, watching his people go about their daily lives. His people. He was their leader. Women looked up from where they were hanging their laundry and waved at him. Children whizzed past him, laughing as they chased each other around the tents. Something hard suddenly bumped into his leg. Blaine turned to find a little girl on the ground, clutching her knee to her chest. There were tears in her eyes.

"Hey, it's okay," he said, crouching down so that he was at her level. "Don't cry. Here, let me see." He gestured towards her knee and, after a moment, she reluctantly removed her hands and exposed her knee for him to see. There was a small, red cut on it.

"Aw, that's not too bad," he smiled encouragingly. "Put a little bandage over that and you're good to go!"

The little girl smile hesitantly, then extended her arms towards him, signaling that she wanted him to pick her up. This action surprised Blaine at first, but he quickly covered his shock with a smile as he picked her up.

"Let's go get you that bandage, yeah?" he smiled at her as he held her in his arms. She nodded as she snuggled into his arms. A warm feeling suddenly washed over Blaine and he remembered why he did what he did. He did it for them. For the women and children, who had no where else to go. He gave them a new life, a chance to start over. He did it so that girl's like this one would live to see past six years old.

Feeling reassured and rejuvenated, Blaine carefully made his way to the infirmary, pushing back the flaps and entering the large tent without a second thought.

"Marie, have you got any bandage we could have?" he called out as he entered.

"There's one in the kit at the back," she replied from somewhere. Blaine didn't bother to look for her as he knew that she was probably already busy and he could get what he needed on his own. He quickly made his way to the back of the tent where he found the implied kit. He gently set the girl down on a nearby bed and then opened the kit and pulled out a roll of bandage. With careful fingers, he gently wrapped the bandage around her knee, pulling it tightly enough that it would stay, but not too tight that it would hurt.

"There, how does that feel?" Blaine asked, smiling up at the little girl. She gave him a wide smile, revealing her missing two front teeth, before throwing her arms around him in a hug.

"Thank you!" she said before letting go and jumping down off the bed. She skipped happily out of the tent, completely forgetting about her sore knee. Blaine couldn't help but laugh at the adorable innocence of childhood.

"You're really good with kids, you know that?" a voice suddenly commented, making Blaine tense up. Around his men, he was meant to be seen as a tough, strong leader, not tenderhearted. Blaine quickly spun around, trying to locate the source of the voice, instantly relaxing when he realized who it was.

"Jeff," he smiled, walking over to where the boy was lying on a bed. He was on his stomach, his back wrapped in bandages. "How are you feeling?"

"Alright, all things considered," Jeff shrugged, wincing slightly at the pull on his wounds.

"I heard about what you did," Blaine said, moving closer to the bed. "Taking the boy's punishment for him. I-"

"Before you get mad at me, please understand why I did it," Jeff cut him off quickly. "He was scared. He saw an opportunity to get away, so he took it. Anyone would have done the same thing if they had been in his position. And I knew that he wouldn't be able to handle the twenty lashes that Wes had wanted to give him. He's one of those... sensitive type. I mean, his skin is like perfect, like as if it's never been touched by anything and I-"

"Jeff!" Blaine cut him off with a light chuckle. "I'm not mad. I'm actually the opposite. I'm glad that you did that. Well, not glad that you had to be punished like that, but glad that you were willing to do that for Kurt. He is way to pretty to be marked up like that."

"If I didn't know any better, I'd almost say that somebody has a crush," Jeff teased lightly, making Blaine blush. Jeff had been Blaine's friend for years, since before he had formed the Warblers. Jeff was one of the few people who could see through any of the guises that Blaine put up.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Blaine bluffed, even though he knew that Jeff would see right through him.

"Uh huh, sure," Jeff smirked. "I'm sure that Kurt definitely isn't your type." He motioned to something behind Blaine, making him turn. And there, lying on the bed across from Jeff, was Kurt.

"Kurt," he breathed, taking in the still, sleeping form. He was lying in the same position as Jeff, on his stomach, with bandages wrapped around his back. His arms were extended in front of him, strapped down to the bed in an identical fashion to how his legs were. There were more bandages around his wrists. He quickly knelt down by his side and gently touched the bandages, making Kurt flinch slightly. Blaine jumped back, thinking that he had woken Kurt, but the pale boy did not move again.

"You care about him," Jeff commented, making Blaine sigh.

"I don't know why," Blaine admitted. "I just met him. I tricked him. He probably hates me by now."

"He'd get over it," Jeff shrugged. "I helped kidnap him, but we sort of became friends on our way back here. It's too bad that we have to give him back though. He really is a cool guy."

Yes, that is too bad... Blaine thought to himself with a frown. But I can't just keep him. The others are expecting to get money from this exchange. I just wish that there was a way to get both...

No! Blaine shook his head. I need to stop thinking like that! Our lives are too different! He doesn't belong here just as much as I don't belong in his world. It's time to let go and move on.

Blaine stood up abruptly and turned back to Jeff.

"Tell no one that I was here," he said, glancing over at the tent entrance. "No one. Especially not him."

"Why?" Jeff asked, puzzled.

"Please, just don't question me," Blaine sighed, running his fingers back through his curls. "Just respect my wishes."

"As you wish, Sir," Jeff nodded slowly. He did not say it with arrogance, but the way that he said it still kind of hurt Blaine.

"I'll come check on you later," Blaine said softly before quickly ducking back out of the tent. He heard Jeff call out a soft goodbye as he moved away from the tent and headed back to his own.

Later that night, Blaine fell into a restless sleep in which his dreams were haunted by a pair of sparkling blue grey eyes and a voice that sent chills running up and down his spine. It did not matter if Blaine was awake or asleep, Kurt Hummel never left his mind.

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