Chapter 17

Chapter Seventeen

Things were changing between them. Kurt didn’t notice it at first, but over time he realized that he had stopped flinching every time Blaine brushed by him and stopped cringing whenever he heard Blaine’s voice. Instead, he looked forward to seeing Blaine, started to enjoy listening to him talk, and he even caught himself smiling a couple times while thinking about Blaine.

This isn’t right, Kurt chastised himself as he wiped the grin off his face once again. He and his gang kidnapped me. They tortured me, threatened me, and made my dad believe that I’m dead. They are bad people.

But try as he might, he couldn’t make that last thought stick as he observed the camp life around him. Most of the camp was made up of women and children. And Jeff and Nick were his friends. They were kind to him and he had started to bond with them in a way that he’d never been able to do with his friends back in Lima.

Of course, there were a few unfavorable people, like Sebastian and Wed, but other than them, the people here were good people.

For the millionth time, Kurt wondered how they had come to live like this.

“So how’s my favourite new bandit?” Jeff asked, dropping down onto the log beside Kurt, startling him out of his thoughts.

“I’m not a bandit!” Kurt retorted, sounding sharper than he meant to.

“You make it sound like it would be such a bad thing if you were,” Jeff replied, sounding slightly hurt.

“It’s no offense to you,” Kurt replied with a huff. “It’s just that I never chose this.”

“And you think we did?” Jeff replied softly, a haunting ache to his voice. Kurt looked over at him and felt his heart clench as he saw the tears filling Jeff’s eyes.

“What happened?” Kurt asked softly. Jeff looked at him and opened his mouth to respond, but stopped himself.

“That’s not really my story to tell,” he said, looking at something behind Kurt. Kurt turned around and found himself staring at Blaine from across the camp. He wasn’t staring at them though, rather he was smiling down at a cluster of children that were circled around him. The kids were staring up at Blaine with rapt attention and awe as he animatedly shared a story with them, gesturing wildly with his hands to accentuate the tale.

Kurt once again couldn’t help that smile that crept onto his lips as he watched the curly haired bandit entertain the small children. Blaine suddenly happened to look over at them and smiled when he noticed their attention was on him. He gave them a wave, which Kurt, much to Blaine’s surprise, returned. This just made Blaine smile even more.

“He’s a good guy, you know,” Jeff commented, as he observed the transaction between the two. “You should really give him a chance.”

“I think I’m starting to,” Kurt replied softly, almost too quietly for Jeff to catch. Almost, but not quite enough. Jeff smiled as he watched the two trying not to look like they were watching each other. It was actually quite adorable how Kurt would look at Blaine and then Blaine would look at Kurt and then Kurt would quickly look away and vise versa.

It’s nice to see him falling for someone again, Jeff thought to himself. Blaine hasn’t been truly happy since Jason, and he deserves to have someone special in his life again. I just hope that Kurt can learn to love it here. It would break Blaine’s heart if Kurt ever left us.

As much as it was said that Kurt was still their prisoner, in truth he wasn’t really. He had become a part of their group. It wasn’t necessarily his choice, but then again, this lifestyle wasn’t anyone here’s choice either. They had learned to make do with their situation and they had come to love and enjoy it. Sure, it was still difficult at times and they struggled to make sure that everyone was kept healthy and fed, but they were making it through. Were their methods the best? Maybe not, but when you’re forced into this kind of lifestyle, you don’t really have any other choice but to raid and steal from others. It was the only way that they would ever be able to survive.

“Mr. Jeff?” a young voice pulled him out of his thoughts. He looked down to see a young lad tugging on his pant leg.

“Was it is, little one?” he asked with a light chuckle.

“Mr. Blaine said he needs Mr. Kurt and your help with the story,” the boy said with big, pleading eyes. “He says he can’t finish without you.”

“Well, what do you think, Kurt?” Jeff asked, turning to him. “Do you think we’d be able to help?”

Kurt looked a little hesitant at first, but as soon as the little boy turned his eyes on him, Jeff could see the walls starting to come down.

“I don’t know how much help I’ll be, but ok,” he shrugged.

“Yay!” the little boy exclaimed, his face lighting up with joy. Now that they had said they’d come, the little boy wasn’t going to take any chances that they would back out and immediately grabbed on to both of their hands and proceeded to drag them over to where Blaine was with the other children.

“Ah, I see you’ve found my helpers,” Blaine grinned at them, his eyes resting on Kurt for a split second longer. “Well done, Charlie!”

The little boy who had brought them over beamed up at Blaine proudly.

“I was just recounting the tale of how we beat Sylv’s men at McKinley’s Crossing,” Blaine explained.

“Ah yes, I remember that!” Jeff grinned as well as he remembered the epic fight. “How much have you told them?”

“I just got to the part where we were on the bridge,” Blaine said with a wink.

“Ah, ok,” Jeff grinned, looking at Kurt and then back at Blaine, connecting where he was going with this.

“I don’t see how I’m going to be much help with this,” Kurt repeated, nervously confused. “I don’t know this story.”

“Just follow my lead,” Blaine whispered with a sly grin on his face.

“So there we were,” he said, turning his attention back on the kids. “Sylv’s men had cornered Jeff and I at the top of McKinley’s Crossing. We were backed onto the bridge over the McKinley Falls, completely outnumbered. We tried to fight them off, but it was no use. There was no hope for us.”

Blaine and Jeff proceeded to act out the scene, punching invisible foes, as the kids watched with awe.

“They started to advance, thinking that they had beaten us,” Blaine continued. “All of their pistols were on us, but they didn’t shoot. Obviously, Sylv wanted us alive. Well, alive long enough to have the satisfaction of seeing us hang. But there was no way that we were going to let ourselves hang from the gallows, now were we?”

“No!” the kids all yelled in unison, determined grins filling each of their faces.

“That’s right!” Blaine exclaimed. “So I looked at Jeff and he looked at me and we both knew what we had to do. We raised our hands as if we were going to surrender and as soon as one of the men stepped close enough, we grabbed him!”

Blaine suddenly jumped forward and grabbed Kurt. His arm circled around Kurt’s waist, pulling his body close to his own. Blaine made his hand into the shape of a gun and held it to Kurt’s head. Jeff also mimicked the gun action and pointed his hand towards Kurt’s head as well.

Kurt stiffened at his sudden involvement in the story, especially since his role reminded him a lot of his own kidnapping. Blaine must have sensed his tension, because he gave Kurt a light squeeze where he was holding him by the waist and, surprisingly, it actually comforted him. It was as if Blaine was telling him that it was alright and that he wasn’t alone.

For the first time in weeks, Kurt felt strangely safe in Blaine’s arms.

“What happened next?” little Charlie asked with wide eyes.

“Well, it just so happened that we had grabbed none other than William Schuester, Sylv’s right hand man!” Jeff exclaimed as he took over the storytelling. “Sylv’s men had no idea what to do! This was the man that they looked to for orders!”

“Lower your weapons,” Kurt said, relaying the words that Blaine whispered into his ear. He struggled to focus on his lines as Blaine’s warm breath tickled the side of his neck as he spoke into Kurt’s ear.

“The men lowered their weapons at once and I went around and collected them as Blaine held on to Schuester,” Jeff continued, mimicking the action of picking up weapons off the ground. “Once we had them all, we ordered the men to go across to the other side of the bridge. As soon as all of the men were across, we cut the ropes holding the bridge to our side of the Falls, thus ending the fight for good.”

“And then we rode off into the sunset, like the victorious heroes we were,” Jeff finished with a triumphant grin.

“What about Schuester?” a little girl with blonde hair and bright blue eyes asked.

“We tied him up, blindfolded him, and took him for a little joyride,” Blaine grinned, winking at Jeff. “Then we left him bound and gagged at the edge of a nearby town.”

“Why didn’t you kill him?” a little boy with pitch black hair and dark brown eyes asked.

“Because that would have just caused more trouble than we needed,” Blaine replied. “Besides, killing is not our way. We only do so if there is no other option. We haven’t lost all of our morals out here.”

“So you just let him go like that?” the little boy frowned.

“Well, I didn’t leave empty-handed,” Blaine grinned, pulling out the pistol from its holder at his waist. It was very shiny and silver and looked very expensive. “I took his nice pistol here as a little souvenir.”

All of the children oohed and aahed as he presented his prize to them, their eyes wide with amazement.

“All right, children, I think that’s enough for today,” Blaine said, holstering his pistol. His words were met with great objection from the kids. “Now, now, I promised you one story. Now you all have to get back to your chores. Maybe if you come find me later, I’ll tell you another one. But not until you’ve all finished your assigned duties.”

There was still a bit of complaining and grumbling, but the children all complied and, one by one, they stood up and left, many of them thanking Blaine for the story on their way.

“Um, you can let me go now,” Kurt said awkwardly once all the kids were gone, alerting Blaine to the fact that he still held him tightly in his grasp.

“Oh, sorry!” Blaine said, instantly releasing him and taking a step away. Kurt didn’t miss the slight red tinge that flushed Blaine’s cheeks as he did so.

That’s kind of cute, Kurt grinned to himself.

“The kids really adore you,” Kurt said, turning to watch the last few kids scrambling off to do their chores. “You’re like a hero to them.”

“If you only knew...” Blaine said softly.

“What was that?” Kurt asked, turning back to him. Blaine opened his mouth as if he were going to respond, but then he closed it and just smiled.

“It’s a story for another time,” he said. When Kurt frowned, he quickly added, “Don’t worry, I’ll tell it to you soon.”

Then Kurt did something that surprised Blaine. He stepped closer and threw his arms around his neck in a hug.

“Thank you,” Kurt whispered in his ear.

“For what?” a very baffled Blaine asked.

“For just being you,” he said, letting go. He gave him a shy smile before turning and walking away, leaving Blaine standing there, completely stunned.

“What did I do?” Blaine asked, turning to Jeff who had been silently watching the transaction.

“I think you’ve finally made a crack in that wall he put up,” he smiled, watching Kurt glance back a couple of times as he walked away.

Maybe there was hope for these two yet.

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