Kurt tightened his grip on the shoebox he held as the voices around him softly faded. He looked at Blaine. The other boy's fingers stilled on the neck of his guitar. Blaine looked back at Kurt, his eyes full of concern.
With a shaky sigh, Kurt knelt down next to the small hole in the ground. "You had a very pretty voice, Pav. Almost as pretty as mine." The corner of his lips twitched. "I'm sorry I didn't take better care of you." He nestled the box inside the hole, then pushed the pile of dirt over it.
All the Warblers were silent for a long minute, looking down at the disturbed mound of earth. Then Wes cleared his throat. "Okay, guys. We've got to get back to class. First period is almost over."
Slowly, the boys started to break apart and move back to the school. Kurt stayed on the ground, gently pressing the dirt so that it was smooth and flat. He picked up little board and stuck it into the earth at the head of the grave. "Pavarotti 2005 – 2011"
Spread out under the tree were other little markers. A couple dozen of them sticking out of the ground, all of them faded and worn.
"I thought there would be more." Kurt climbed to his feet, clapping the dirt off of his hands.
Blaine set his guitar into his case and latched it, leaning the instrument against the trunk of the tree. "Canaries live an incredibly long time. One of these was almost twenty years old when it died. But then, some of them have a life span much shorter."
Kurt sniffled loudly. Blaine turned to Kurt, surprised.
"Kurt. Are you okay?"
Kurt pressed the heel of his hand into his eyes, feeling like an idiot. "No, yeah. I'm sorry."
Blaine walked over to him and rubbed his shoulder. "Don't apologize. You didn't do anything. What's wrong?"
He paused."You're going to think it's stupid." Kurt looked at Blaine, his eyes red and watery.
"It's just...I don't know. I've been thinking about my mom a lot lately. And now this happens it and - " Kurt's voice cracked and he paused, sighing with frustration.
"She passed away when you were little right?"
Kurt nodded. "It's dumb, but. I don't know." He stared at Pav's grave. "It sort of reminds me of mom's funeral." He shook his head, knuckling away the few tears that were slipping down his face.
"It's not dumb," Blaine replied softly.
"Sometimes I can't remember what she looked like." Kurt's fingers twisted the hem of his jacket, looking away from Blaine as his face crumpled, trying to compose himself. "I'll be thinking of something me and her and Dad were doing, and all I can picture her as is this... this weird, faceless woman. And then I have to go and find our photo album and remind myself."
Kurt stared down at the ground. "And then I feel terrible about myself for it."
Blaine reached out and pried one of Kurt's hands from his coat. Without saying anything, he slipped his fingers between Kurt's and squeezed gently.
Covering his mouth with his free hand, Kurt let a sob choke out. His shoulders shook gently, his hand tightening around Blaine's until it was almost painful. Blaine squeezed back, waiting until Kurt was finished letting it out.
But Kurt didn't let himself cry for long. Less than a minute had passed before Kurt was clearing his throat and taking deep quivering breaths. He dragged his sleeve across his face.
"Sorry about that." He glanced at Blaine.
Blaine lifted their joined hands and brushed a tear from Kurt's chin with his finger. "Do you want to go to the Bean? Split a muffin?"
"I can't. Chapman's giving us a lecture today. If I miss it, I'll be behind for finals."
"I had him last year. He never changes his lectures. You can copy my old notes." Blaine glided his thumb across the back of Kurt's hand.
Kurt found himself smiling. "Then I guess it's a date." He gave Blaine's hand another squeeze. "Thank you."
Blaine smiled up at Kurt. He grabbed his guitar case and, keeping his hand tightly around Kurt's, pulled the other boy towards the parking lot.