Disclaimer: LOL. NO.

Summary: From the Glee Angst Meme:

Kurt, Finn and Rachel are in a drugstore during a robbery, and when the robber points a gun to them, Rachel immediately hides behind Finn to protect herself, and Kurt instantly steps in front of Finn to protect him. And Finn notices the difference when it comes to the gut instinct of those too and starts rethinking things.

This is a prompt I read and LOVED, but I want to add my part: No instant gay!Finn. I would prefer a brother fic with Finn analyzing Kurt's capacity of love.

It was only after it all was over that Finn could think straight.

It was only after they were all bundled up and taken to the hospital even though only one of them was injured, only after he watched Kurt hold out his bloodied arm for them to numb it and remove the bullet, only after Burt and Carole showed up and crushed them all in hugs.

Finn didn't think until everything was over and he'd kissed Rachel goodnight, until he was sitting in his bedroom by himself, about the hand that had clasped his own with the force of a vice grip for the entire ride to the hospital.

He remembered that his last thought before everything went down was how annoying it was that they raised the price of Cocoa Krispies in the local 7-Eleven. He remembered Rachel holding his hand and pretending to not want him to hurry up so they could leave, and he remembered that Kurt was in the next aisle down, looking to see if there was anything half-decent that he could put on his face. He remembered how the door sounded when it slammed open, the bells attached to the top hitting glass.

Finn remembered what the guy looked like, wearing a ski mask that Kurt would have made fun of if the situation hadn't been so dire.

He remembered the guy's voice, rough and gravelly.

He remembered the moment that he looked around the shop, seeing only the shopkeeper and three teenagers.

Finn remembered the guy cocking his head and pointing the gun at him and he felt all too easily the feeling of Rachel yanking her hand out of his grip, scooting behind him to protect herself. Then there had been the sound of footsteps on linoleum and a yellow-shirted blur, and then there was Kurt, placing himself firmly in front of Finn without a thought, arms spread wide.

Finn hadn't seen his face at all but he could imagine what it might have looked like, blue eyes wide but stubborn, chin raised and defiant as if this was nothing more than the threat of a dumpster toss because that was how Kurt covered up fear. He'd seen that face so many times before. He knew without looking what Rachel looked like as well, burying her nose into his back, breaths heaving.

Kurt might have said something but try as he might, Finn couldn't remember the words. All he knew was that they didn't sound like somebody scared, they sounded angry. Angry and steady and furious as if he'd taken lessons from Sue Sylvester herself and god only help you if you disobeyed him. But Finn could see him shaking.

If it had been a movie, that would have been the point that the hero (Finn couldn't help but put Kurt in this role) would have done something proactive, either launching forward to engage in battle or calling in reinforcements. Kurt did none of these things, standing statue-still.

But then the gun had gone off and Kurt was cradling his arm and it was bleeding everywhere and Finn wanted to step forward because that was his brother but he didn't get a chance because the store was suddenly filled with cops, and the guy was being taken away and someone was standing in front of Kurt, forcing him to extend his arm so that someone could wrap a hasty bandage around it.

All three of them had ended up in the ambulance and Finn couldn't take his eyes off of Kurt. He hugged and comforted Rachel and stroked her hair but his attention stayed fixed on his brother, who had to be threatened with physical restraints to keep him still and keep his hand away from his injured arm.

Finn scooted closer and reached out to lace his fingers with Kurt's, squeezing tightly.

Eyes closed and trying not to sob, Kurt squeezed back and didn't let go.

All of that led to where Finn was now, flopped on his back on his bed, one arm flung over his face. The other held in loose fingers the raggedy scrap of fabric that had once been his baby blanket that he tried to avoid using because really, what kind of seventeen year old boy needs a security blanket? Finn did right then, that was for sure and he couldn't feel particularly embarrassed over it.

Rachel had used him as a shield.

Kurt had shielded him.

Finn couldn't stop thinking about it because every time he did, he just got stuck on that fact. Visually, he couldn't understand it because he might have been bigger than Rachel, but Kurt was still kind of tiny. He wasn't short but he was thin and small and pretty and it would have been relatively reasonable for him to join his girlfriend at his back. But he hadn't.

Then when he thought about it, it made a little more sense.

Kurt did things like that all the time, protecting people.

He protected his father with everything he had, from the malicious phone calls that he tried to pretend they didn't get to forcibly lowering his vocal register when they went to car shows together because he didn't want anyone giving Burt flack about him. He'd protected Tina right around the Gaga debacle, indignant and raging that someone had dared to push her in front of him. He protected Mercedes, walking down the hallway with her on his outside so that if anyone was going to be a target, it was going to be him.

He protected Finn.

Kurt, the guy Finn had condoned tossing into dumpsters, who Finn had thrown pee balloons at, who Finn had ripped down and called a fag in his own home. Kurt had put himself in front and defended him.

Rachel, his girlfriend, had hid behind him.

Finn kind of couldn't really blame her for it because there was nothing shameful in your first instinct being to protect yourself, but yeah, there was that little bit of resentment that he couldn't really ignore. It was so like her. He loved her, but this really was just par for the course.

In Rachel's world, Rachel came first.

He didn't doubt that she loved him but it was hard when he thought about it because he knew that if it ever came down to him or her, he knew who'd be getting thrown under the bus. Hell, she'd thrown about everyone else under the bus already, what would it matter if this time it was her boyfriend?

Finn grabbed his pillow and stuffed it over his face, grumbling into it.

If she hadn't moved, yeah, he'd probably have moved her behind him. But he'd have wanted her to fight him about it the whole while, he'd have wanted her to be angry, he'd have wanted her to think about him because he thought about her.

There'd been no time for thinking at all for any of them.

It had been life or death, someone could have died.

Rachel had thought about herself, but Kurt had thought about him. Without thinking, he'd acted in the way he'd thought best and gotten what had to be a lot of pain out of it, but he'd still done it without hesitating and Finn didn't think that he was the type to regret it.

And then, after it was all done, Finn couldn't feel anything but guilty.

A few hours later, he found himself standing in front of Kurt's door, hand poised to knock.

He rapped his knuckles twice but there was no answer, and after about a minute, Finn cracked open the door just in time to hear the tail end of a conversation.

"But you're sure you're alright?"

The voice was vaguely familiar and Finn recognized it as Blaine's.

"Sweetie, I'm fine. I'm probably gonna be doping myself up on painkillers for a couple of days because this thing hurts like a bitch, but I'm okay. It could have been a lot worse."

"Kurt, please, I've been thinking enough since you told me about how it could have been a lot worse; that is not reassuring."

"Okay, okay, I'm sorry," Kurt apologized, and peering around the corner, Finn could see that he was speaking to his laptop. His webcam was on and Blaine's face was showing on the screen. He looked ridiculously concerned. "Look, I think I'm going to get some sleep. It's been a long day."

"Okay. Sleep well, I'll see you in a few days. I'm so lucky to have you, Blue Eyes." Blaine smiled and Finn could see him press his fingers to his lips and press them to the screen. Kurt returned the gesture, and Finn couldn't help but wonder how he'd ever thought that it was weird because the two of them were freaking adorable.

"Not as lucky as I am," Kurt quipped with a crooked little smile, "Good night."

And then the connection was cut.

Backing up to act like he hadn't totally just eavesdropped, Finn knocked again, this time receiving a prompt,

"Come in," from his stepbrother.

"Uh, hey," Finn greeted, entering the room and waving.

"Hello," Kurt cocked his head, "Can I help you with something? I was just about to head to bed."

The bandage on his arm is so white and obvious.

"Um…I just wanted," Finn fumbled, "I was wondering if we could talk for a little bit."

"Well, who am I to pass up with a chat with my favorite stepbrother?" Kurt replied loftily, scooting over from where he sat on his bed to pat the space next to him.

"I'm your only stepbrother."

"Doesn't mean that you're automatically my favorite. Be grateful."

Finn snorted and sat down, getting serious. It must have shown on his face because Kurt's voice lost its teasing edge and blue eyes narrowed in concern.

"What is it that you wanted to talk to me about?"

"I just…I wanted to say thank you. I didn't get a chance to earlier because of all the fuss and—and I was thinking. I was thinking about—about everything. And I kind of don't know why you did what you did. I mean…not that I'm not grateful because I am and I'm so freaking sorry that you got hurt because of it, but… why? I mean, I've done really awful things to you. And not from just before we were friends. I hurt you all the time. So why did…did you do it? Why did… why did you, and Rachel…I'm sorry. I probably don't make any sense." Finn knew he was rambling and cut off before he confused himself. Kurt had gone from looking concerned to looking sad and almost upset.

"I know what you're asking and I don't like to but I'll have to be forthright here," he replied lowly, staring at his lap. "You know," he looked up, "It won't be the last time you ever hurt me. I'll hurt you too. I HAVE hurt you. But that doesn't matter because you're my friend. And you're my family. So I'll always have your back. Or your front, in this case."

The smaller boy shifted so that he was kneeling on the bed instead of sitting, scooching forward to tentatively put his hands on Finn's shoulders and look him in the eyes.

"As for Rachel…I don't think I really need to tell you, but I will anyway. She's not a bad person, but she's focused on herself. Determined, but only when it benefits her. If you're looking for someone to choose you first, it's probably not going to be her. If you want to be with her, then you're going to have to get used to coming second to her."

"What if…what if I don't want to come in second?"

Now Kurt was definitely looking sad.

"Then I don't know if she's the best person for you. I can't tell you what to do or what you should do, or what I would do. Who knows? She might change. I just want you to do what's best for you."

"I can't depend on her." Finn was shocked to find that his eyes were watering. He wiped at them ferociously. "It's so stupid, I didn't- I didn't expect her to try and protect me. But I still…"

"You wish she'd tried,"

And then Kurt had rocked back slightly to get a better look at him, taking no longer than two seconds before leaning forward, dropping his arms around Finn's neck and tugging him close, favoring his bandaged arm. Six months ago, it might have been weird as hell. A month ago it would have been intensely strange. But now, all Finn could think was that it was exactly what he needed.

"You listen to me, Finn Hudson. You want to know why I did what I did? Because you're mine, my friend and my brother and nothing will change that at this point. Family is more important than anything and for keeps. I don't care what Rachel does or doesn't do, it doesn't change anything. Okay?"

"You are an awesome brother," Finn finally managed to choke out, "I've never had one before."

Kurt chucked into his hair and Finn could feel his smile even if he couldn't see it.

"Well, I was an only child as well before you showed up."

Finn didn't respond, favoring instead the non-verbal approach of squeezing Kurt just a little tighter.

There were a lot of things that he wanted to say. He wanted to say that he was sorry. He wanted to say thank you again. Part of him wanted to say that he almost wished that he was even the slightest bit gay because Kurt would have treated him so well if they'd dated and Blaine was unbelievably lucky. He didn't say any of those things.

Instead, he just smiled against the crook of Kurt's neck and asked the other thing that he'd been wondering all night.

"Hey, Kurt? I know you said something earlier to that shooter, but I couldn't…my head was rushing and I couldn't really hear it. What did you say?"

Kurt smiled sheepishly, pulling away to scratch at the back of his head.

"Other than a couple of words that would have had Coach Sylvester giving me full marks for creativity? I told him not to lay a hand on my brother."

All Finn could do was laugh.

AN: TAH-DAH. Feel free to throw breakables at me. I am not... the biggest fan of Rachel, but I tried my best to be relatively fair towards her despite the nature of the prompt because character bashing isn't cool, and the feelings of the author shouldn't feed in through to the characters themselves. Please review!