"You?" the man raised an inquisitive eyebrow at him. "And why is it that you are so special?"
Kurt nibbled on his bottom lip, unsure of what to say. Should he lie? But what would he say? What would they do if they knew who he really was? Kurt lowered his gaze as his mind whirled, trying to think of a response. Fingers suddenly gripped his chin, yanking his head up to look at the man.
"I asked you a question," the man snapped, his fingers uncomfortably tight on Kurt's chin. Kurt figured that he would probably get a bruise there... that is, if he lived long enough for it to bruise.
When Kurt still didn't respond, the man let go and stepped away, back towards where Puck and now Sam were kneeling.
"Maybe you need a little help jogging your memory," the man said, pulling out his gun again and pointing it at Puck's head. "This seemed to work so well last time."
"Wes, is this really necessary?" the blond from earlier asked cautiously.
"Silence!" the man, whom Kurt now could address as Wes, growled. "I'm in charge here! I'm the one who makes the decisions!" Turning back to Kurt, his eyes flashed with impatience. "So, boy, what is going to be?"
Kurt's eyes widened with fear. What should he do? Save them and risk his own life? Or be a coward and potentially be the cause of their deaths? Kurt sighed, knowing that his choice had already been made.
"Please, don't hurt them," Kurt pleaded, watching as Wes moved the gun back and forth between Puck and Sam's heads. "I'll tell you what you want to know."
At his words, Puck and Sam started to thrash against their captors' hold, screaming what Kurt guessed was angry nos into their gags. Wes just smiled as he stepped away and returned to Kurt.
"That's more like it," he grinned. "Now, why are you so special? Who are you?" Taking a deep breath, Kurt answered.
"Kurt," he replied. "Kurt Hummel." A murmur rose through the room as people recognized the name.
"Well, well, well!" Wes grinned triumphantly. "Looky who we've got here, boys! The Governor's one and only son! No wonder the station's so heavily guarded! They're waiting for you! I bet that your daddy would pay a pretty penny to get you back safe and sound, now wouldn't he?"
Kurt hung his head in shame. How could he have been so weak to give in that easily? In his heart, he knew why. He was too caring, a quality that he had been told that he had gotten from his mother. He just wouldn't be able to live with himself if someone else were to come to harm because of him.
"Aww, don't worry, Hummel," Wes chuckled, tipping Kurt's head up to look at him. "I'm sure that Daddy Hummel will instantly pay whatever we ask to get you back. But until then, you get to come see what life is like on the rougher side of the tracks. Tie him up, boys! And ready the horses! We leave in five!"
Kurt was roughly pulled to his feet and his arms were forced in front of him and tied tightly with a thick rope. A less than pleasant looking bandana was shoved into his mouth and tied around the back of his head. And, to top it all off, another bandana was tied around his eyes, leaving him completely vulnerable. Just before the dirty cloth blocked his vision, Kurt was able to see Puck and Sam staring at him with despair and defeat, knowing that they had failed to protect him. Kurt wished that he could tell them that it wasn't their fault and that he didn't blame them, but they were already gone from his sight.
"Tell Governor Hummel that the Warblers have his son and that if he ever wants to see him alive again that he'd better be willing to pay the price," Kurt heard Wes say, presumably to Puck and Sam. "Tell him that we will send a messenger in two days time with our demands and the location of a meeting place. Kurt will not be harmed as long as he meets our demands, but if he fails to meet any of them, then he can say goodbye to his precious boy." Two muffled cries sounded into Kurt's ears, followed quickly after by the sound of something heavy hitting the floor.
They only knocked them out, Kurt told himself, trying to calm down. They wouldn't give them a message then kill them. That wouldn't make sense.
"Come on, Hummel," Wes' voice suddenly filled his ear as a hand roughly grabbed his arm and quickly started to pull him away. Kurt was forced to stumble along with the man, not really having much choice in the matter, and was soon met by the sun's heat. He was roughly lifted down off the train, then up onto a tall horse. His bound hands were tied to what Kurt guessed was the saddle horn before another person slid into the saddle behind him. Kurt heart started to pound, worrying that it could be the creepy man from earlier, Bas, if he remembered correctly.
"It's okay," a familiar voice whispered in his ear as arms enclosed around his sides to grab the reins. "You're in good hands." It took Kurt a couple of minutes to pinpoint who the voice belonged to, but he was able to conclude that it was the blond that had been apart of the group that had found him, Santana, and Brit. Kurt suddenly wondered what had happened to them.
I hope they're okay, Kurt worried. But they should be fine, right? I was the only one that they took.
"Here we go," the blond whispered again as the horse beneath them suddenly started to move.
Kurt tried to cry out in alarm, but it only came out as a muffled "Mmph!" through his clearly unsanitary gag. He hadn't ridden a horse in years, not since the accident, so feeling the powerful beast moving beneath him greatly unsettled him, making him grip onto the saddle horn that he was tied to more tightly.
It seemed like they rode for hours, stopping only a couple of times for very short breaks to water the horses. During those times, Kurt's gag was removed so that he could be given water as well, which he greedily accepted, but his blindfold was never removed once. It wasn't until they stopped well after nightfall that the blindfold was removed.
He had been taken down off the horse, which was for the first time since they had put him on the beast, making his legs very wobbly. He was quickly led over to a solid object, which he quickly distinguished as being a tree, where he was forced to sit down. He was tightly tied to the tree, the rough bark pressing uncomfortably into his back. It was only once they were sure that he was secure did the blindfold come off.
Kurt blinked as he was finally able to see, finding his golden haired companion crouching down in front of him. The man carefully eased the gag out of Kurt's mouth, letting it fall down around his neck.
"Better?" he asked, smiling slightly.
"Yes," Kurt's voice croaked in response, earning him a wider smile from his captor.
"Here, this will help," he said, holding a flask up to Kurt's lips, which he drank heavily from. "I'm Jeff, by the way."
"Kurt," he replied, giving him a small smile. "Though I think you already knew that."
"Jeff!" Wes' voice called out, making him turn away from Kurt.
"I'll be right back," he said, standing and going over to where the other men were gathered around a slowly building fire.
Now that he was alone, Kurt was able to assess his situation. It was dark now, the glow from the campfire being one of the only sources of light apart from a couple of torches lining the outside of their camp, which appeared to be inside of a forest. That surprised Kurt as he had not seen any source of life from his view on the train. They must have ridden quite a distance from the time that they had taken him till now.
Kurt watched the bandits as they shuffled around the camp, going about their duties. He quickly counted about twelve of them in total, including Wes who was very clearly the one in charge as he barked orders to the other men around the camp.
Kurt glanced down at his hands, which were still tied in front of him. In the firelight, he could see the start of a deep red rash from where the ropes were chaffing against his wrists.
"Don't you just look perfect sitting there," an unpleasantly familiar voice exclaimed. "Sitting there all tied up like a present." Kurt looked up and glared at Bas as he crouched down in front of him. "A present just for me."
"Leave me alone!" Kurt snapped at him, wishing that he could back away from the unpleasant man, but unfortunately couldn't due to the tree currently jabbing into his back.
"Aww, but you're so pretty!" Bas cooed, reaching his fingers out to brush Kurt's face, which he instantly flinched away from. "And so perfect. You're skin just looks so smooth..." He ran his fingers along the bare skin on Kurt's arm, making him shiver uncomfortably. "Not rough at all, like these men I've been stuck with. No, you're fresh and new. Untouched. Perfect. I would kill to stroke that fine-"
"Screw you!" Kurt blurted, spitting in Bas' face, which had gotten way to close to his own. Bas wiped the spit off his face, anger flashing through his eyes for a second before he grinned.
"That's the idea," he replied, leaning closer as his hand touched Kurt's thigh and slowly started to slide higher. "We never said that we had to return you exactly the way that we found you. Besides, you can't be a virgin forever, right?" He leaned closer, his lips drawing closer to Kurt's as the hand also slid closer. He was just inches away from-
"Sebastian!" the voice jolted the man away from him and Kurt let out the breath that he hadn't even known he'd been holding. Kurt looked up to see his saviour, Jeff, storming over to them, a bowl in his hands.
"What the heck do you think you're doing?!" Jeff yelled, attracting the attention of the other men. "Just because he's our prisoner doesn't mean that you can use and abuse him like you do with everyone else!"
"Is there a problem here?" Wes' cold voice joined the conversation. Sebastian lowered his head submissively as he stood and stepped away from Kurt.
"No, Sir," he muttered, sending a quick glare in Jeff's direction.
"Very well then," Wes nodded. "I believe that you were on horse duty tonight. You'd better get back to work if you want to eat."
"Yes, Sir," Sebastian mumbled, nodding his head before turning and storming off in the direction of the horses.
"Jeff, I want you and Nick to be the ones to guard him," Wes said, motioning towards Kurt, his voice surprisingly soft. "We can't have Sebastian trying to pull another stunt like that again." He started to turn as if he were going to leave.
"Thank you," Kurt called out after him, making him stop and look back with a surprised expression on his face. "That is very kind of you." Something flickered in Wes' expression that Kurt wasn't able to read and suddenly he was crouched down in front of Kurt, gripping the front of Kurt's shirt in his fist.
"Listen, Hummel," Wes growled. "We're not your friends, okay? The reason I won't let Bas touch you is because I said that as long as your father paid up, you would be returned unharmed. I am a man of my word, believe it or not, and when I said you would be returned unharmed, I meant it." Kurt shot a glance down at his sore wrists and raised his eyebrows questioningly. Wes caught the action and rolled his eyes.
"No irreversible harm will come to you," Wes explained. "If you try to run, you will be beaten. If you disobey, you will be beaten. If you talk back, you will be beaten. Cuts and bruises heal, Hummel. Even broken bones will. But some things will not heal and it is that kind of harm that I will not allow to befall you, got it?"
"Y-Yes," Kurt nodded, and Wes let go of his shirt.
"Oh, and one more thing, Hummel," Wes said. "For as long as you're with us, you will address me and everyone else as 'Sir'. If you remain compliant and submissive, then you should get out of this relatively unscathed. You got that?"
"Yes," Kurt nodded again. He was rewarded with a sudden slap across the face.
"Yes, what?" Wes growled, narrowing his eyes at Kurt.
"Y-Yes, S-Sir," Kurt stuttered, lowering his gaze submissively.
"Good," Kurt could hear the pleased tone to his voice. "Keep that up and, with a little help from dear old dad, you should be out of here in no time."
Kurt listened as he stood up and walked away, not raising his gaze again until he was sure that he was gone.
"So, Kurt," Jeff said, sitting down beside him. "You hungry?"
"Yes, Sir," Kurt replied with a heavy sigh.
"It's okay, Kurt," Jeff chuckled lightly. "You don't have to do that with me. You can just call me Jeff. I think it suits me better than 'Sir'." Kurt looked up and caught the smile on Jeff's face, quickly realizing that he was joking. Kurt couldn't help but smile as well.
"Thank you," he said, giving Jeff a small but honest smile. "For helping me with on the horse today and for this and for stopping Sebastian and for everything."
"It's no problem," Jeff grinned. "I rarely get a chance to do anything nice for anyone, since people look at us and automatically think that we're bad people."
"Well, robbing and kidnapping people doesn't really help make you look like a good guy, now does it?" Kurt joked, though he instantly regretted it the second he said it. He gave Jeff a wary glance, worried that he had overstepped, but all the man did was laugh.
"I like you, Kurt," he grinned, making Kurt relax.
"You're not so bad yourself," Kurt replied, grinning as well. "You know, despite the whole kidnapping me part."
"I have to follow my orders," Jeff just shrugged. "Now enough talk. Here, you need to eat this before it gets cold." He gently scooped something from the bowl and lifted the spoon to Kurt's lips. Kurt eyed it warily, but, deciding that he could semi-trust Jeff, opened his mouth and allowed himself to be spoon fed.
A surprisingly vibrant amount of flavours filled his mouth and he hummed with pleasure, making Jeff smile. After the first bite of the tasty stew, he eagerly opened his mouth for the following spoonfuls. The bowl was empty all too soon, but Kurt's stomach was surprisingly satisfied, even though he hadn't eaten very much all day.
"That was really good," Kurt sighed happily, leaning his head back against the rough bark of the tree and closing his eyes.
"Yeah, Nick is a great cook," Jeff replied. "It's one of the many things that I love about him."
"Love?" Kurt commented, raising his eyebrows. There had been a very passionate emphasis on that word. "Are you-"
"Boyfriends?" another voice finished for him, which, when Kurt looked up, turned out to be Nick himself. "Yes, we are." Nick smiled as he sat down beside Jeff, passing him one of the two bowls that he was carrying.
"I'm Nick," he said. "Though I think that you must have figured that out by now."
"Yes, I remember you from on the train," Kurt nodded, returning the smile, though not as enthusiastically. "You stopped Sebastian from... I don't even want to think about it."
"Yeah, Bas can be like that," Nick sighed. "He's gotten used to the idea that whatever he wants, he gets."
"Can I ask you something?" Kurt asked slowly. "I've heard you call him Bas, while others call him Sebastian, so-"
"It's just easier to say Bas rather than his full name all the time," Nick shrugged. "Really the only time anyone ever calls him Sebastian is when they're pissed at him." Kurt nodded, showing that he understood. Seeing how carefree the two seemed, Kurt thought to attempt asking another question.
"So what's the deal with, Wes, is it?" Kurt asked cautiously. "One second he's protecting me, then next he's threatening to kill me. I don't get it."
"He's just under a lot of stress," Jeff explained through mouthfuls of stew. "He really wants to impress the boss after the whole gavel incident." He and Nick laughed, sharing in some private memory.
"Wait, so Wes isn't the boss?" Kurt asked, surprised. "But I thought-"
"He's the leader of this raid, but he's not the leader of our group. No, he's more like the bandit version of a deputy. Not the head sheriff, but still powerful and authoritative. You'll meet our real leader tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" Kurt replied. "When? Where?"
"I think you've asked enough questions for one night," Nick chuckled lightly, exchanging a glance with Jeff. "You should get some sleep. We have another half a day's ride ahead of us tomorrow."
"Where are you taking me?" Kurt pleaded.
"Home," Jeff grinned. "Our home."