Blaine could barely contain his excitement. It had been a while since their last ransom, and he always got an adrenaline rush during the exchange. There was the fear of getting caught, the excitement of getting away scot-free with a new pile of treasure, and the thrill of success. They had become a name to be known and feared. They had never been caught and they never planned to be.
And now Blaine was set to pull off the biggest move they'd ever made before. They were going to kill the Governor's son right before his eyes. They were going to show this arrogant man that he shouldn't mess with the Warblers. When the Warblers wanted something, they got it. And what they wanted now was to show Governor Hummel how big of a mistake he'd made in crossing them.
"Are they ready to go?" Blaine asked Jeff, referring to their two prisoners.
"Yes, Sir," Jeff nodded. "The girl is tied to Nick's horse and Kurt to mine. They have both been blindfolded, just as you asked."
"Good," Blaine nodded approvingly. "Once we get closer, they will both have to be gagged as well so that they don't give us away in case Hummel decided to be foolish again and set an ambush for us."
"The girl has already been gagged and just say the word and Kurt will be silenced as well."
A strange feeling churned in Blaine's stomach at Jeff's words. They sounded so foreboding to what was about to happen.
"Very good," Blaine nodded again, pushing the uncomfortable feeling away. "Be prepared to ride. We're leaving soon."
"Yes, Sir," Jeff saluted him before turning and moving away towards his horse, where Blaine could see his beautiful captive sitting. He couldn't help but sigh as guilt flooded through him. He regretted that he would have to put Kurt through this, but there was no other choice. He needed to do what had to be done.
He only hoped that Kurt would someday be able to forgive him for it.
Kurt was back in the uncomfortable saddle, his hands tied only slightly more comfortably to the saddle horn than they had been the last time he'd ridden on this horse. And the only thing worse than the ropes chaffing into his wrists was the cloth blinding his sight. He hated feeling this vulnerable, not being able to see anything.
The weight in the saddle suddenly shifted as another body slid in behind him. Kurt involuntarily tensed for a moment before he heard Jeff's familiar voice in his ear.
"Looks like we're all ready to go, Kurt," Jeff whispered to him. "You'll be back with your dad in no time."
"Will I really?" Kurt retorted sharper than he intended. "Because aren't you guys supposed to make my dad pay or something because he sent Tin- I mean, the tracker, after Sebastian?"
"Probably will just demand more money or the horses your dad brings," Jeff shrugged. Kurt couldn't see the movement, but he could feel it. "The Council are the ones to decide that stuff. I just get to do the fun stuff, like raiding and entertaining our prisoners."
"So do you entertain all of your prisoners so charmingly?" Kurt asked teasingly. Jeff made a flustered sounding noise and Kurt could only imagine that he must be blushing at the moment.
"Not all of my prisoners have been as interesting to talk to," Jeff admitted. "Usually they just yell and cry and spit in my face."
"Oh, trust me, I have considered doing that to some of you," Kurt replied, thinking of a certain curly haired man. He was still upset about how Blaine had tricked him like that. And then had turned out to be the Boss, of all people!
But then again, these were dangerous people that he was dealing with. Lying and trickery were every day habits for people like them.
"But," Kurt continued, trying to push his thoughts into lighter topics. "You have been nothing but nice to me since I met you, for some odd reason, and I can't bring myself to hate you, as much as I feel I should for doing this to me."
If his hands had been free, Kurt would have gestured to his helpless state, but the best he could do was tug on his bound wrists. Jeff didn't say anything for a while, almost making Kurt question whether or not he was still there, except for the fact that Kurt could physically feel him still sitting behind him.
"We really aren't as bad as you think we are," Jeff finally said softly. "Sometimes you have to do things that you would have previously never even considered doing, just to survive. It was really because of Blaine that we were even able to keep it together, to get ourselves back on our feet. That's why he's our leader."
So his name actually is Blaine after all, Kurt thought with wonder. He had replayed his first interaction with the man over and over again, each time questioning if anything that had come out of his mouth was even true.
"I'm sorry, you probably don't care about our life stories," Jeff's voice suddenly pulled Kurt back out of his thoughts. "All you probably care about right now is getting back to your dad."
"Now who's judging who?" Kurt smirked.
"Touché," Jeff chuckled, the action vibrating across Kurt's back.
"Actually, there is something that I'd like to know," Kurt said hesitantly as the horse beneath them started forward.
"And what's that?" Jeff inquired.
"How did you and Nick meet?" Kurt asked.
"Ohhhh," Kurt could practically see the smile on Jeff's face. "Well, it happened like this..."
Jeff went on to tell Kurt a heroic tale in which he swooped in and saved Nick from a burning building. Nick later came by to correct the story, saying that it was Jeff who had been stuck in the burning building and Nick who had rescued him.
"Minor details," Jeff laughed, shrugging it off.
A few minutes later, they came to a stop, but Jeff informed Kurt that they weren't at the meeting place yet.
"Just stopping for a quick break," Jeff said almost too quickly. The quick break seemed to take longer than any normal stop, which made Kurt suspicious, but he just shrugged it off. He was probably just over thinking it.
After a few more hours of riding, Kurt felt the horse beneath him starting to slow down again.
"Jeff," Kurt heard Blaine's voice approach and he instantly stiffened. "It's time."
"Yes, Sir," Jeff replied, suddenly shifting in the saddle.
"Sorry about this, Kurt," Jeff whispered in his ear, just seconds before a thick, rough cloth was shoved into his mouth and tied securely around the back of his head.
"Mffph!" Kurt cried in protest. He hated having a gag in his mouth!
"I'm sorry, Kurt," Jeff sighed, patting his shoulder softly. "But we can't have you yelling and alerting any watchmen."
Kurt sighed heavily, slumping back down in defeat. When was this torture going to end?
The horse slowly began to move again, but then stopped again just a short while after. They stayed still for a long time, Jeff staying oddly quiet the entire time. When someone finally did speak again, it nearly startled Kurt.
"You were right, Sir," a voice Kurt didn't recognize said. "Hummel sent an ambush ahead of him."
"Foolish man!" Kurt heard Blaine curse uncomfortably close to him.
"But we were easily able to dispatch all of them," the voice continued.
"Good," Blaine replied. "Tell the men that we are going to go ahead with the plan. Hummel needs to learn a lesson for daring to cross us, not once but twice! Hummel will rue the day he ever thought to break a deal with the Warblers!"
Kurt was suddenly jolted forward as the horse suddenly started moving again and if he hadn't been tied on, Kurt was sure that he most certainly would have fallen off.
Kurt could hear the moment that they hit rock, changing from the soft sound of the sand beneath the horse's feet to the hard sound of a solid surface. And then the angle changed and they were suddenly going uphill.
And then they stopped.
"Time to get down, Kurt," Jeff announced, sliding off of the saddle. "We have to walk a little ways from here. It's too narrow for the horses."
Since he couldn't talk, all Kurt could do was nod to show that he understood. He felt Jeff untie his hands from the saddle and then he was gently helped down from the horse. But the second that his feet were securely on the ground, his hands were quickly tied again.
"Sorry, just taking precautions," Jeff told him, placing his hands on his shoulders. "Don't worry. I've got you though. I won't let you fall."
The words were meant to be encouraging but instead all they did was make Kurt nervous.
Just how high up are we? he wondered. Every step that he took, he felt shaky, consistently worried that each step could be his last.
Finally, they came to a stop and Jeff gently helped Kurt sit down.
"And now we wait," Jeff said, sitting down beside him.
They sat in silence, the only sound was that of Jeff scratching, presumably, a stick against the ground. Kurt ached to ask what he was drawing or writing, but he was unable to.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of waiting, there was finally movement among them.
"They're here," a voice, it sounded almost like Thad, said.
"Show time," Blaine announced, a wickedly excitedly tone to his voice. "Is the girl in place?"
"Yes, Sir," Thad replied.
"Good," Blaine said happily. "Jeff, help Nick get Kurt ready to see his father." There was an undertone of something that Kurt didn't recognize, almost as if Blaine was subtly implying something.
"Yes, Sir," Jeff replied, standing up and helping Kurt stand up as well. They walked a few paces over to where Nick presumably was and then stopped.
"Sorry about this, Kurt," Nick said as something warm and soft touched his neck, making him instantly flinch against it. "This might feel a bit uncomfortable, but it needs to be done." The warm thing was carefully tied around Kurt's neck, much to his dismay, and then he was led back over to where he had been before.
"Not bad," Blaine chuckled lightly as they approached him. "The colour's a little off, but Hummel won't be able to tell from a distance. And speaking of Hummel..."
"Kurt!" the blindfolded boy nearly jumped at the sound of his father's voice.
"Dad!" he tried to yell as he struggled against the hands holding him, but all that came out was a muffled, "Mmmph!"
"Take him lower," Blaine ordered swiftly. "We can't let Hummel see him yet. And ready the archers."
Archers? Kurt started to panic. Were they going to shoot his dad?
Kurt frantically began to struggle against the people trying to lead him away.
"Kurt, settle down!" Jeff hushed. "They're not going to shoot him! It's just to get his attention!"
Kurt relaxed only slightly at Jeff's words. Just the idea of arrows being anywhere near his father scared him.
Jeff led him further away than he had been taken before, presumably to be as far out of sight as possible. He was so far away that he could barely make out the words exchanged between his father and Blaine. And the fact that his blindfold half covered his ears didn't help much either.
It didn't take much time at all for Kurt to suddenly be led back over to Blaine, who instantly grabbed his bound hands and pulled him close to his side. Kurt felt slightly uncomfortable being this close to Blaine, but at the same time, he couldn't ignore how good Blaine smelled.
"Here he is, still alive and breathing!" Blaine suddenly said as his hand suddenly wrapped around the back of Kurt's neck, touching an area where the warm, soft thing had not covered. Kurt involuntarily flinched at Blaine's touch.
"Don't touch him!" Kurt heard his father yell from somewhere far below them.
"Where's the money, Hummel?" Blaine demanded, still holding the back of Kurt's neck.
"Here it is," Burt replied. "Now give me my son back!"
"You're in no position to be making demands," Blaine laughed. "Now put the sac in that bucket by the wall."
"No, give me my son first," Burt argued. Kurt couldn't help but smile at his father's words. He never was one to give in that easily.
"Again, you're in no position to be making demands," Blaine suddenly growled, apparently getting agitated with Burt. Blaine's hand suddenly tightened around Kurt's neck, making him cry out, though the sound was muffled slightly by the gag. There was a loud shuffling below them and suddenly Blaine loosened his grip.
"Now, was that so hard?" Kurt could almost hear the smirk in his voice. Something was suddenly brought up before them and Kurt could hear the clicking of coins as Blaine shifted beside him.
"There, you have your money," Burt called out. "Now give me back my son!"
"I am a man of my word," Blaine replied, suddenly shifting beside Kurt again. And then Kurt felt a pressure against the warm thing in front of his neck.
"What are you doing?!" Burt roared angrily, making Kurt wonder what exactly was being held against his throat.
"Like I said," Blaine chuckled. "I am a man of my word. I warned you of what would happen if Sebastian was followed. Foolish move, Governor. It cost you your son."
The pressure suddenly moved swiftly across the area before Kurt's throat and Kurt could feel something warm drip down his chest.
Am I bleeding?! he panicked when suddenly Blaine's hand tightened a little too hard over one spot by his neck. He started to feel lightheaded and then his legs suddenly buckled beneath him.
The last thing Kurt remember was the heartbreaking scream of his father before he hit the ground and fell into complete and utter darkness.