"Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love."
Albus Dumbledore; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling; pg. 722
The first time Kurt runs into Blaine Anderson is when he's walking aimlessly around the grounds, his mind heavy with thoughts swirling through his head.
He stuffs his hands in the pocket of his jeans, shivering with cold, his red-and-gold scarf flying behind him in the wind. His sneakers make no noise as he hops along the uneven stone path. He's actually glad he decided to wear something more casual today, because as he heads to the warmth cover of the Astronomy Tower, a voice rings out, and he wishes desperately to go unnoticed as he creeps slowly towards the open archway.
A boy with a head of curly hair is leaning against the railing, his voice vibrating against the stone walls as he sings. The first thing that crosses Kurt's mind is why isn't this kid in the Frog Choir? Kurt's been in it for two years now, and it certainly seems like a safer recreational activity than Quidditch.
His voice soars, moving up and down a rigorous scale, and the breath catches in Kurt's chest.
This guy is amazing.
Kurt racks his brain for something, anything, that will give him the identity of the boy. All he has is the voice, the voice that isn't even recognizable, and the hair. A lot of guys at Hogwarts have curly, dark hair, but he can pinpoint a few, though he's sure he's forgetting some. If the guy was wearing his uniform or anything with his House colors, it would make this a lot easier.
Kurt holds in a sigh, wondering how long the boy will stay there, his back turned.
But then of course, the guy lets his voice smooth over the last note, holding it as wind surges through the Tower, making the moment almost surreal.
He sighs when he's done. He crosses his arms, turning around, and Kurt jumps farther into hiding, his heart flying to his throat. The boy exits the Tower, but not before Kurt peaks again, getting a better glance it him.
For the next week, Kurt can't help the curiosity that rises within him. He can't help but continually scope Blaine out during the day. In the Great Hall, in class, in the hallways, after hours. He constantly glances at him, a hundred questions running through his mind. He can't work up the courage to talk to him, and of course, Blaine doesn't approach him. Blaine doesn't even know that someone had been spying on him.
Blaine Anderson is a very shy, quiet person, and aside from the rumors, Kurt doesn't know him well at all.
But he wants to.
He startles, nearly dropping the vial in his hand.
"What?" he asks, alarmed.
"You're adding the wrong ingredient to your potion," Quinn says from next to him. "If you add that, it will probably melt your cauldron. I don't think you want that, do you?"
He gently lowers the vial of armadillo bile, checking the board for the right ingredient.
"You seem really distracted, lately," Quinn says thoughtfully, stirring the contents of her cauldron with force. "What's going on?"
"N-nothing," Kurt says, his eyes flitting away from where he'd been staring at Blaine.
"Wait a minute," Quinn says, lowering her wand to the table. "Is this about a guy?"
Kurt's cheeks instantly burn, and he looks down at his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. "No," he says, unconvincingly.
Quinn squeals, covering her mouth with her hand. "It is, isn't it? It's a guy!"
"Sshhh- ts-ts," Kurt says, turning to face her, his eyes wide. "Look, I don't like the guy, I just.. I'm curious. I- he-" He looks over to find Blaine hastily looking away from them. His cheeks burn again. "I'll tell you after class," he says quietly, turning back to his cauldron.
"Is- is it Blaine?" Quinn whispers excitedly. "Really? Blaine Anderson? He's so quiet and-"
Kurt shushes her harshly again. "Let me explain later."
"Fine," Quinn says. "And Kurt, you're supposed to be adding flobberworm mucus."
Kurt curses under his breath.
Kurt sits in the back of Ancient Runes, next to Tina, not focusing on anything, because of course, Blaine is in this class, just a few seats from the front, and he can't get the guy out of his head.
He turns to Tina, with her navy-and-bronze gothic glory, the question forming on his lips. "Tina?" he asks shyly.
She looks up from her parchment, eyebrows raised. "Yeah?"
He leans towards her, lowering his voice. "What- what do you know about Blaine Anderson?"
A quizzical look crosses her face. "Do you like him?"
"No," Kurt says quickly. "No. I just- I heard him singing, and-"
"Singing?" Tina repeats, thoroughly confused. "Blaine is the most reserved person I've ever met. I couldn't imagine him singing. He's never in the common room, you know. He's always in his dorm, or out in the castle. Artie says he doesn't even talk to him or the other Ravenclaw guys. He hasn't been the same since... that... you know."
Kurt nods, thinking hard. "Yeah," he says quietly. "I know."
When they were first years, Blaine was one of the most outgoing young wizards anyone had ever met. He was sorted into Ravenclaw and made friends there quickly. He whizzed through his classes, outshining everyone else. He made the House Quidditch team in second year, his height instantly placing him as the Seeker.
But then everything started to fall apart.
Blaine Anderson is a Muggle-born, unlike Kurt who's a half-blood, whose mother was born a witch, dying when he was eight. Being that Blaine was only three when the war with Voldemort raged, he wasn't tortured like the others, but there are still some kids- sons and daughters of former Death Eaters- that shun him.
And then there's the fact that Blaine Anderson is gay.
Homosexuality is more common at Hogwarts than it has been, but it's not always accepted. It may not seem like much, because it's only a fraction of the Slytherins who care about blood status, but homosexuality is more frowned upon than the lack of pureness of someone's wizarding ancestry.
Add all that up, and Blaine doesn't have it very good at a place that's supposed to be magical.
And all that was proved back in fourth year.
Blaine had been picked on a lot that year, snarky kids (mostly Slytherins) hissing insults at him left and right, occasionally drawing their wands. No one really knows the whole story, though they like to pretend they do, but to sum it up, it was a dark night in more ways than one. Blaine was returning to Ravenclaw Tower from the library, and a gang of Slytherins, another House here and there, cornered him. There were shouts, there were bangs, and the next thing anyone knew- people were pouring out into the halls to find Blaine covered in blood on the stone floor.
The Professors were outraged, and no one's done damage that bad to any of the gays since then.
Kurt knew he was gay before he even learned to hold a wand, and he thought going to Hogwarts, the place of unity, of fighting for equal rights, the place where students walked in the shadows of some of the greatest wizards and witches in history, that he might be accepted.
He was wrong.
Defeating Voldemort didn't get rid of the prejudice.
And he suspects nothing will.
The days go by, and Kurt sort of forgets about Blaine Anderson. It's easy, because Blaine likes to blend into the background, while Kurt thoroughly enjoys the spotlight.
It's a Friday, and Kurt has just finished with a Frog Choir practice, Professor Flitwick praising him on how well he's been performing lately. He walks with Tina from the rehearsal room, walking her back to Ravenclaw Tower.
They round a corner on the seventh floor when a gang of Slytherins surround them.
Kurt's heart leaps to his throat, because this is the exact place, the exact place, where this happened to Blaine. He doesn't know if he can fight back, especially knowing Blaine had gone down so easily. He breathes hard, backing up.
"Hey, homo," jeers someone in the back, and everyone draws their wands.
Kurt's back hits the wall, the rest of his breath leaving him.
"P-Professor Flitwick's coming," he stutters. "You don't want him to catch you, do you?"
"We can make this go fast," assures Azimio.
They step closer, and Kurt makes up his mind. He pulls his wand from his back pocket, Tina doing so at the same time.
"Petrificus Totalus!" he shouts, point his wand at the crowd of Slytherins.
He hits one, a few others jumping back, and the duel is on. He slashes his wand through the air, spells rolling of his tongue.
Tina helps him out, moving just as fast as him.
Kurt dodges the jinxes, firing back. "Tarantallegra!"
The Slytherins are gaining on them, and so they take their chance. Firing spells behind them, Tina and Kurt race down the hallway, ducking from the hexes that are being shot their way. Kurt's breath is burning in his lungs, a stitch in his side forming, and he stumbles. A spell catches him in the ankle and he falls, pain searing.
Tina stops and doubles back, shooting more spells at the oncoming Slytherins.
Kurt knows they're done for. He can't move his leg, and from the floor, he has horrible aim.
And just when he thinks it's over, a figure comes rushing in front them, wand pointing at the Slytherins.
The force of the spell blows them back; one of them falls to the floor, stunned.
Blaine stands in front of them, breathing hard.
Flitwick comes soon after him, and the Slytherins scatter.
After they're encounter, Kurt hopes he can actually talk to Blaine, that maybe the Ravenclaw will approach him, but nothing happens.
Kurt holds his hurt inside him.
Kurt walks alone, his cloak billowing around him as he walks down the crooked, pebbled path, staring down at his feet. He clutches onto his bag, his fingers curling over the dragon hide. The wind is strong, but he keeps his head down.
He's hoping the fresh air will do him some good. He's been having trouble focusing on things lately, and he has a killer essay due for Defense Against the Dark Arts, so he decides he'll hide out in the back of the school on one of the benches that overlooks the lake and work.
He sits down, crossing his legs and pulls out a roll of parchment, a bottle of ink, and a quill.
Not halfway into his essay does he hear the sneers.
He bites his cheek, ignoring them. He's really starting to get sick of it, of their constant jibes, the glares and disgusted looks, the fighting back.
His parchment flares alive with fire. It flies from his fingers, and he scrambles to grab his wand. Slipping it between his fingers, he points it at his essay.
The fire goes out, but leaves his essay a curled paper of ash and burned words. He picks it up, groaning. He'll have to re-write the whole thing.
The Slytherins laugh as the slink away, and Kurt balls the destroyed piece of parchment up in his fist.
When they're out of earshot, he sinks back down onto the bench, hunching over. Right now, he just feels so overwhelmed. He's so tired of dealing with those jerks all the time. He's tired of putting up with them, of taking their pranks and taunts. Putting his face in his hands, he lets the sobs rack his body.
He looks up, tears streaming down his face.
Blaine Anderson is standing over him, a sympathetic look on his face.
"What do you want?" Kurt asks, wiping his nose on the sleeve of his cloak.
Blaine takes a careful seat next to him, frowning sadly.
"I know how you feel," he says. "They used to taunt me."
Kurt looks at his feet. "I-I know." Everyone knows.
"But I wasn't brave like you," Blaine continues. He clasps his gloved hands nervously in his lap.
"What do you mean?" Kurt asks, sniffling again.
"I saw you stand up to them, Kurt," Blaine says. "Don't back down now. You're a Gryffindor; it's in your blood. I let them walk all over me. They raised their wands but I never raised mine. The more I ignored them and allowed them to tease me, the more often and harsher they did it. Don't be like me, Kurt. You used to be so proud of yourself. Don't let that go."
Kurt just stares at him, shocked and unsure and just a little flattered. As he takes in what Blaine just said, said boy stands up, gives him a pat on the shoulder and makes to leave.
He turns around.
"If you ever need to talk, I'm probably in the library," he says. "Goodbye, Kurt."
Kurt watches him leave. "Goodbye," he says softly.
Sleet pelts the dying grounds, the noise reflecting all around the castle. Kurt sits by the window, watching as drops of water run down the glass pane. He's starting to get chilly, and after a few moments, he relocates to his bed, pulling the red hangings back around his four-poster as he sits down.
He picks up his wand off of his bedside table, absentmindedly twirling it through his fingers.
His mind is entirely occupied, confusing and conflicting thoughts running through it, involving only Blaine.
The poor boy. He was once a star, shining bright and fearless, and now he's imploded in on himself, reduced to nothing more than a ghost of his former self.
And he has so much potential.
Kurt heard him sing, Kurt watched him play Quidditch, Kurt saw him handle magic. He could do incredible things.
If only he embraced them again.
Kurt weaves in and out of shelves, making as little noise as possible. His eyes search for Blaine, his heart aching, his mind longing. His long fingers caress the spines of books as he carefully steps through the room.
He's near the back of the library, tucked in a corner when Kurt finally finds him, his nose buried in a thick book. His hair is a curly mess, his hazel eyes glowing in the candlelight, and Kurt thinks he looks sort of beautiful.
He sits down across from Blaine, smiling when he looks at him over the top of his book.
"Hello," Kurt says softly.
Blaine closes his book halfway, staring at him. "Hello," he replies, cracking a grin.
Kurt sighs. He needs to just get this over with; admit it.
"Blaine, there's something I need to talk to you about."
Blaine looks at curiously, slightly taken aback. "What?" he asks.
"I've heard you sing," Kurt blurts, then blushes, sure that he could've said that a better way.
Blaine's eyebrows crease together, and now he's completely lost. "What?" he asks again.
Kurt takes a deep breath, readying himself. "It was weeks ago. I was walking through the grounds, and I climbed up to the Astronomy Tower. I heard you singing."
"I thought I heard footsteps," Blaine says as understanding dawns his face. He looks shyly down at the floor.
"You were really good," Kurt continues.
Blaine looks up again, innocence and caution alive in his eyes; he isn't used to compliments. Especially from other males.
"And," Kurt says, getting his attention again. "I think you should join Frog Choir."
Blaine shakes his head, blushing. "No. I don't think I should do that."
"Why not?" Kurt asks, clearly surprised. "You'd be brilliant."
"I just- I can't."
"Blaine, you can't keep yourself all bottled up forever," Kurt urges, looking at him seriously.
"I'm not," Blaine says defiantly.
"Yes you are," Kurt disagrees. "Don't you miss things, Blaine? Don't you miss having friends? Playing Quidditch? You spend all your time in here- or in your dorm. It's like you've already given up on life."
Blaine sighs, closing his eyes. "I don't think you understand, Kurt."
"Come on, Blaine," Kurt says, voice soft and desperate. "Trust me."
"Kurt, I can't do it." His voice cracks, and Kurt feels a little guilty, but not enough to stop badgering him.
"At least try out for the Quidditch team. I know you have to miss that. Don't you want to play again?" His eyes are sparkling, full of hope.
Blaine sighs, quiet. "I actually do miss Quidditch," he admits.
"Then try out," Kurt says. "Artie told me tryouts are next Sunday. Go. I'll come and support you."
"I don't- I don't know," Blaine says. He closes his book all the way, and holding it in one hand stands up, ready to leave.
"I'm sorry, Kurt." Blaine shakes his head and starts to leave.
Kurt shoots up from his seat, following after him.
"Blaine, stop. Please."
"No, Kurt," he replies pointedly.
"Please. This will be good for you."
Blaine whirls around. "You don't know what's good for me, Kurt! You have no idea! I can't do this." His expression screams hurt, and he looks like he's about to break down.
He turns, but Kurt grabs his wrist gently. One word breathes off of his lips, soft and supple. "Blaine." His eyebrows are dipping, his mouth turned down into the smallest of frowns.
And he doesn't know why he says it, but Blaine takes a deep breath, whispering, "Okay."
It's early morning, and Blaine is shaking with nerves, Kurt clutching to his arm as they walk out onto the field. Blaine's fingers are wrapped tightly around the broom, and he has no clue why he's even out here. All the people, the judging eyes staring at him. He can't handle it.
Kurt squeezes his arm gently, and that little bit of reassurance sends him forward.
There can't be more than twenty Ravenclaws out on the field, and as the wind whips around him, Blaine tastes the courage on his tongue for the first time in years. He feels at home on the pitch, the breeze blowing through his curls, the feel of the broom underneath him, his fingers closing around the jittering, golden ball.
He can do this.
He smiles at Kurt as he waves goodbye, heading to the stands to watch his tryout.
Somehow, some-fucking-how, Blaine makes it through tryouts, and Kurt is the loudest to cheer when he is named the new Seeker.
Maybe he can start rebuilding his life.
They're lying on the floor of the library, a blanket Kurt stole from his dorm underneath them. No one comes back there. The corner is sort of hidden, and Kurt always has trouble finding it. They've also taken extra precautions, such as using Muffliato so they can talk.
Blaine has a book resting on his stomach, and he reads it in a whisper to Kurt, actually smiling for once in two and a half years.
Kurt rolls over onto side, tucking his hand up by his face as he nestles into Blaine's side.
And it's like Blaine's been living his whole life in a dim room, because suddenly, everything brightens.
The first match is in two weeks, and Blaine, surprisingly, couldn't be more excited.
This is a chance to redeem himself, to show everyone that he isn't just some gay nerd, but someone swift and masculine. He puts his all into practices, trying as hard as he can, paying attention to details as hard as possible, so he can find the Snitch the fastest.
He prepares, and he's ready.
The castle is filled with whispers, people curious, shocked, surprised as they see him walking around in his Quidditch robes. They stare and point subtly and talk in low voices, because no one has seen Blaine so involved in years. No one's seen him really try at anything since the incident, and for most, it's kind of like a ray of hope. (Though Blaine doesn't see that himself).
The stands are full, a lot of them rooting for Ravenclaw, interested in seeing more of Blaine. No judgment comes at him, except from the Slytherins- but they judge everyone, and he feels almost confident in himself.
The captains shake hands, and they're off. Blaine clutches tightly to his broom, swerving through the air as he searches desperately for that little, fluttering, golden ball. He doges Bludgers, moves from the paths of the Chasers and Beaters, and continues to circle the pitch.
As the game rages on below him, he catches sight of it.
A little flicker of gold shooting around on of the Hufflepuff stands.
He dives, meeting the other Seeker halfway there. The bump each other mid-air, but Blaine is slightly bigger, allowing him more control and he surges ahead.
His fingers close around the Snitch, and cheers erupt from the crowd of navy-and-bronze. As his teammates fly around him, holding him up as they lower themselves to the ground, and people chant his name, and Kurt beams in the audience, he actually smiles widely.
Kurt waits for him outside of the changing room.
Blaine exits, and Kurt throws his arms around him, hugging him.
"You did wonderful," he says, and kisses Blaine gently on the cheek.
Blaine takes Kurt hand, pulling him along the hallway.
He takes him into an empty classroom, shutting the tall, wooden door behind them. He checks around, casting a spell to aid him, and when he's certain they're alone, he turns to the other boy, a shy smile curving on his lips.
"I want to show you something."
Kurt steps closer, confused. "What?" he asks.
Blaine pulls his wand from his pocket, and points it in the air. He closes his eyes, concentrating hard. Taking a deep breath, he says the words clearly.
A bright, silver canary bursts from the tip of his wand.
Kurt can't help the gasp that escapes his lips as the liquid-like bird flies around the room, coming close to his head. A wide smile forms on his face, lifting up his cheeks.
"Blaine," he breathes, laughing a little. His eyes trail after the bird as it chirps and flitters through the room. "You can produce a Patronus?"
Blaine nods, lowering his wand and the canary disappears.
"Wow," Kurt says softly. "You really are an incredible wizard."
Blaine shrugs. "I've never actually produced one in front of dementors before, and I just produced a fully-fledged one last week."
"But still," Kurt says, moving closer to him, close enough to reach out his arms and wrap them around Blaine's waist. "That's a hard spell. I can't even do that."
Blaine shrugs again, unfazed.
"If you don't mind my asking," Kurt continues. "How did you get a thought strong enough? What did you think of?"
Blaine steps even closer, taking Kurt's hands. He stares right at him, his eyes smoldering.
The air is chilly, the sky gray and cloudy as they lean against the railing of the bridge, staring out onto the grounds, the way the long, dead grass peaks out from under the snow, the way thin sheets of ice etch out at the edge of the lake, the way the leafless branches of trees sway in the wind.
"This place is so beautiful," Kurt says quietly.
Blaine scoots closer to him, their shoulders touching. "Yeah," he agrees. "I never really paid attention much."
Kurt smiles, resting his head on Blaine's shoulder.
"I'm glad I could help you see."
Blaine chuckles, actually laughs, and wraps his arm around Kurt's waist.
"I'm glad you could too."
He revels in this moment, breathing it all in. The smell of the outdoors, the feel of the wind on his face, the castle in the background, Kurt snuggled up next to him, no bullies around to ruin it.
"Blaine?" Kurt asks, uncertainty evident in his voice.
"Yeah?" Blaine replies.
"How are you?"
Blaine laughs again, slightly confused. "What do you mean?" he asks, knowing this is not a conversational question, but something deeper, tugging on the roots of something Kurt wants to know.
"I- I've noticed that you seem a lot happier lately," Kurt says slowly. "I mean, I didn't really know you before, but you were always so quiet, so antisocial and shy and just generally fearful. How are you now? Really?"
Blaine takes a deep breath, sorting through the thoughts that run around his mind.
"I am... happy," he finally decides. "I'm beginning to accept myself fully. I like branching out again, and I'm really glad that you could be there for me, Kurt."
Kurt blushes, turning his head down and away from Blaine's shoulder. Blaine rubs his back, then squeezes his waist, side-hugging him. Kurt looks up again, his expression filled with joy.
"I'm just happy I could help you."
Blaine grins, returning the kiss on the cheek.
They're once again tucked away in their secret corner of the library, Muffliato cast, a soft blanket underneath their bodies, books scattered around.
Kurt laughs as Blaine reads a sketchy passage of a book in a seductive voice.
"Okay, okay," Blaine says, letting his hands and the book fall into his lap. "I give up, I can't do it anymore."
Kurt's still laughing, on hand clutching his stomach. His eyes are all scrunched up, and for once, Blaine can see his teeth as he smiles, and he thinks Kurt is just about the most adorable thing he's ever seen. He clears his throat, silencing his own gasping laughter.
"Oh, God, Blaine," Kurt sighs, gaining control of himself. "I never knew you had such a great sense of humor."
Blaine looks down, paging through the book without really looking at it. "Yeah . . . you're kind of the first person I've opened up to since . . . the incident."
Kurt frowns for a moment, but then he understands the meaning of the words and his face brightens.
"I- I really like you, Kurt," Blaine continues, and he lifts his head to look at him, his eyes wide and innocent.
"I really like you too," Kurt replies, and briefly, he thinks of leaning in, only to have Blaine jump up, reaching for a different book.
After classes, Blaine walks Kurt to choir practice, their fingers interlaced.
"Seriously, Blaine," Kurt says. "I think you should join."
Blaine swallows hard, trying to think about, trying to just give it a chance in his mind, but it's a hard thing to do.
Kurt stops, turning to face him, looking him gently in the eyes. "Blaine, you can do this. You're phenomenal. And no one's going to judge you. No one's going to tease you. People still respect Finn. And Sam. And Noah- and he's a Slytherin. It's okay. Trust me."
Blaine looks past Kurt, towards the open doorway, where Flitwick is working with everyone. They sing away, looking so happy, so elated, and Blaine desperately wants part of that.
If only people wouldn't judge him.
But what Kurt is saying makes sense, and he's prepared to take the risk.
"Do you really think I should do this?" Blaine whispers, too afraid to speak.
Kurt nods, giving his fingers a reassuring squeeze.
Blaine takes a deep breath, closing his eyes.
"Okay," he says. "Okay, I'll do it."
Kurt squeals, clapping his hands together. "Are you serious?"
Kurt grabs his hand again, dragging him inside the room. Everyone's heads turn to look at them, a few people seem very surprised to see Blaine there, but he shakes it off.
"Professor Flitwick," Kurt says sweetly. "I brought someone here who would like to give the choir a try."
And in a matter of minutes, Blaine is now a member of the Hogwarts Frog Choir.
They're curled together, lying in Kurt's bed, because Quidditch practice has started, and Sam, Nick, Jeff, and the other guys won't be back for awhile. They're turned toward each other, but far enough apart that they can still just barely call this position platonic.
"Blaine, I'm so proud of you," Kurt says, grinning.
"I couldn't have done any of this without you," Blaine says, reaching down to grab his hand.
And again, there's that opportunity lying in front of them. If they were to just lean in, close the space between them. But right before they get the chance too, footsteps sound up the tower and they fly apart, Blaine tucking himself inside Kurt's wardrobe, hoping that a boggart isn't in there.
Sam comes through the doorway and Kurt tries to act nonchalant as he helps him locate his Quidditch gloves before ushering him out quickly.
"Come on," Blaine urges, half serious, half laughing. "A happy memory, Kurt. A happy thought."
"Ugh, but there are so many," Kurt sighs dramatically. "Do you know how many times we've hung out?"
"Just pick one," Blaine says, trying to hide his blush as he turns to pace the room while Kurt braces himself. "Ready?"
Kurt raises his wand, thinking of the day they spent last weekend in Hogsmeade. They'd gone to the Three Broomsticks, chugging down butterbeer like there was no tomorrow. And of course on the way back to the castle, they'd had to stop at Honeyduke's. Blaine had horded up a load of chocolate, going crazier as the night wore on and he kept consuming it. In the end, he ended up somehow not getting sick and crashed in Kurt's dorm, Sam and the others promising to keep it a secret.
He takes a breath, then says, "Expecto Patronum."
Light flares from his wand, but once again, it's an undefined shape. He sighs, lowering his arm.
Blaine steps forward again. "It's okay," he assures. "This is a very advanced spell. And you probably just need a stronger memory."
"One more time?" Kurt asks, and Blaine nods, giving him room.
He racks his brains for something good, and then he remembers that day on the bridge. Blaine had pulled him close and kissed him on the cheek.
Raising his wand, he says the incantation again, and this time an animal springs from the tip. It's a peacock, tall and proud, it's feathers sparkling.
Kurt laughs, strangled at first, and then the feeling of producing his first full Patronus hits him and it's loud and joyous.
"I did it!" he shrieks, staring at Blaine with wide eyes. "I did it, Blaine!"
And suddenly Blaine's arms around his waist, pulling him close and they're hugging and laughing and Kurt feels like he could take on a swarm of dementors even without his new, glowing Patronus.
The Great Hall is full, packed with all of the students of Hogwarts, and as it's the last feast before the holiday vacation, the Frog Choir is performing. And Blaine and Kurt are sharing a duet.
Blaine stands in the entrance hall, his hand up protectively by his mouth. He's shaking and sweating, and he's starting to have an avalanche of second thoughts.
This was a horrible idea.
They run through a few quick warm-ups, but Blaine can't get a sound out of his throat, too choked up with fear. His breath is short, and he feels like throwing up. He can't do this.
"Alright, students," Flitwick says. "Follow me."
The rest of the choir walks towards the monumental, wooden doors, but Blaine is frozen. He can't move. His muscles are locked up, stuck with the thought of going out there, allowing people to see him perform.
He spent the last two years hiding out from everyone, blending into the background for a reason. He can't let people bring him down again. He can't give people a reason to hate him. And doing this would certainly contradict everything he's taught himself since that damn incident.
Kurt is standing in front of him, a worried look on his face.
With great difficulty, Blaine looks into his eyes. He feels the hot tears running down his face, the shivers racking his body, his mouth parted as if to say something, but he just can't get the words out.
"Blaine, are you okay?" Kurt looks alarmed, stepping forward. He reaches a hand out, but doesn't touch Blaine.
"I can't do this," Blaine finally whispers.
"What do you mean?" Kurt asks, clearly confused.
And Blaine doesn't blame him; he didn't think this decision through.
"I can't go out there."
He realizes his arms are crossed over his chest protectively and he tightens his grip on himself, as if he'll fall apart any second.
Blaine shakes his head, pressing his lips together to keep from sobbing. "Kurt, I can't- I can't- the Slytherins- I-"
He turns to leave, but Kurt touches his arm.
And then he breaks down.
He sinks to the floor, sobbing, and Kurt kneels down, rubbing his back while he lets it all out.
"I can't go b-back to that, Kurt," he gasps out. "Those- those bastards, I just c-can't let them get me again. I don't like being all caged up, but- but sometime's I think that's my only option."
Kurt just holds him for a few more minutes while he continues to sob. And when he's finally calmed down enough, only slightly shaking and hiccupping, he pulls Blaine into his lap.
"Look," he starts. "I know this is hard for you, but remember what you told me?"
Blaine looks up at him, eyes wet, expression pained.
"Don't back down, Blaine. Be proud of who you are."
"I don't think I can," Blaine whispers.
Kurt takes his hand, entwining their fingers. "I know you can, Blaine. You've gotten so far already. Don't give up now."
Blaine tries to talk again, but Kurt silences him. The moment is back, and this time, he leans in.
Blaine's lips are soft and unmoving against his, and yet there's a spark. It only takes a second for him to kiss back, gently moving his lips against Kurt's. He reaches up and touches the palm of his hand to Kurt's neck before pulling away.
"You can do this."
Blaine's breath is still short, but not from the fear anymore.
"Are you ready?" Kurt asks.
Blaine nods, still speechless. Kurt's hand still in his, they head out to the Great Hall together.
Everyone looks around suspiciously as they enter behind the line, especially since Blaine's eyes are rimmed in red, but no one says anything. Blaine doesn't look out at the school as he files onto the risers. As he and Kurt are singing the solo, they don't have to handle the frogs.
Flitwick stands in front of them, his wand held like a baton, and they start.
Blaine is still clinging to Kurt's hand and he squeezes it tightly for reassurance; Kurt squeezes it back, helping him gain courage.
The background vocals begin, and Blaine takes the first verse. They sing the haunting, classic old warlock song, and when they're finished, the Great Hall bursts into applause. Even the Slytherins, hollering for Puck and Santana; nobody really likes Rachel.
Blaine is completely shocked, his face showing how overwhelmed he is. And then Kurt's hugging him, jumping up and down and telling him how great he is.
Blaine looks at him, and with everyone talking them around them, he says,
"I love you."
And without thinking about it, not caring about anyone else, feeling like they're the only two people in the world, Blaine pulls Kurt in for another kiss.
That pesky group of Slytherins still bothers them, but together, they're fearless and they rise above, wands held high.
A/N: I don't even know. This plot bunny just popped into my head and kept bugging me until I wrote it.
I hope you don't hate it. I know some people get sick of the Harry Potter/Glee stuff, but trust me, this had nothing to do with Darren, but the wonderful world created by JK Rowling and the awesomeness that is Klaine.
Do you like their Patronuses? And how the Hogwarts library is their new the Lima Bean? I'm just going to be quiet now..
And I will go, waiting anxiously for reviews.