It seemed like Kurt had only been asleep for a few seconds when he was gently woken from his slumber.
"Kurt," Jeff's voice called through his dreams. "Kurt, time to wake up!"
Kurt slowly opened his eyes, blinking a couple of times to clear his vision. He moved his hand to rub his eyes and was surprised when he was able to do so. He looked in surprise at his unbound hands before turning to look up at Jeff, who was standing over him.
"Come on," Jeff smiled. "It's time to go."
Then Kurt remembered. They were taking him to meet their boss, the leader of the Warblers.
Kurt slowly sat up and, with a sigh, extended his hands, wrists together, towards Jeff. Jeff looked at him with a puzzled expression but then realization flashed through his eyes and he laughed.
"I'm not gonna tie you up," Jeff chuckled lightly. "Your wrists still need more time to heal." Kurt slowly lowered his hands and smiled.
"Thank you," he said softly. Maybe his stay here wouldn't be so bad.
"Come on, guys, we can't keep him waiting!" Nick's voice floated through the flap of what Kurt now realized was a large tent.
"We'd better go," Jeff said quickly, reaching down and gently grabbing Kurt's arm and helping him to his feet. He didn't release his grip once Kurt was standing, but his hold was not uncomfortable.
"Can't have you running off on me again," Jeff explained as he led Kurt over towards the tent's entrance. "I don't think that my back could handle it."
Kurt knew that Jeff was just teasing him, but he still couldn't help the flash of guilt that ran through him.
"I'm sorry," Kurt said softly. "I never meant for you to get hurt."
"It's okay," Jeff shrugged as they passed through the entrance. "You didn't know."
Nick met them outside the tent, taking up his position on Kurt's other side, holding onto his arm as well. Kurt winced slightly as a stream of sunlight hit his eyes and blinked rapidly as he looked at his surroundings.
He was in another forest, and the trees tall and flourishing here. Sunlight streamed in between the trees, falling on the large settlement. Tents were pitched all around him and campfires blazed every couple of feet, pots of bubbling water or impaled animals roasting over them. Kurt stared in awe at the camp as he was led through it. There were men everywhere, sitting around campfires laughing, chopping wood, tending to horses. There were even a couple of women here and there, and Kurt could have sworn he heard a child laughing.
This is certainly not what I was expecting a bandits' camp to look like, Kurt commented to himself as they passed by another group of laughing men. They looked... happy.
Though he tried not to, Kurt couldn't help but look for the golden eyed boy, Blaine, as they walked.
Stop it! Kurt scolded himself. He tricked you! You can't trust him!
It took them a couple of minutes to get to the center of the camp, where the largest tent was pitched.
"Here we go," he heard Jeff mumble as they came to a stop outside of the tent. Trent met them at the door.
"He's been waiting," was all he said, pulling back the tent's flap to let then through. Kurt found himself holding his breath as they pressed forward into the tent. He didn't know what to expect or who to expect. What would the Warbler leader look like? He'd heard his voice, but he had never seen him.
The first person Kurt saw when they entered the tent was a darkly skinned man. He stood with his back turned to them, looking over the papers scattered on the table in front of him. Standing very stiffly off to one side of the table was Wes, who shot Kurt a very angry glare, though Kurt could have sworn that he caught Wes wincing slightly. To the other side of the table was another man that Kurt did not recognize. He had dark brown hair and was saying something to the dark skinned man as he pointed at one of the papers on the table. He suddenly looked over and noticed them and turned towards them with a smile.
"Oh, good, you're here," he said, stepping away from the table. Kurt didn't recognize his voice, so he couldn't have been the boss. The dark skinned man also turned around, his eyes quickly meeting Kurt's.
"Governor Hummel's son," he grinned. "So nice to formally meet you."
Kurt instantly recognized his voice as being the one he'd heard when he was first brought to the camp.
So this is the Warbler leader then? Kurt assumed, not breaking eye contact with him. He did not want to seem weak.
"How can we be formally introduced if you know my name but I don't know yours?" Kurt asked defiantly. He wanted to cross his arms to further press his defiance, but they were still being held by Jeff and Nick.
The man's eyes rose in surprise at Kurt's question but, instead of getting mad, he just laughed.
"You've got spunk, kid," he chuckled. "I'll give you that. Alright, well, then to properly introduce myself, I am David. And this is Thad," he motioned to the dark haired man beside him. "And I believe that you already know Wes."
"Yes, I do," Kurt retorted, his back stinging with agreeance. "I wish could say that it's a pleasure to meet you all, but then I'd be lying." Kurt knew that he should watch his tongue, but he couldn't help the anger that was building inside of him. They had, after all, kidnapped and beaten him and for what? Money? Kurt felt disgusted by them.
"I'd watch your tongue if I were you," Thad snapped, anger flashing through his eyes. "And show a bit of respect."
"Respect?" Kurt scoffed. "Why should I respect any of you? You kidnapped me and forced to me come who knows where, all so that you could fill your filthy, rotten pockets with gold! I am not some negotiating piece that you can use to get whatever you want! I am a human being and I deserve to be treated with respect! Not some low life criminals!"
"Are you saying that we are not human then?" David growled, now becoming angry as well. "That we do not deserve equal respect because we are forced to do what we must to survive? And you say that you are not treated with respect? Ungrateful brat! We could have left you in that pit, let your wounds become infected, but we didn't! Now how about you show some respect for that!"
Kurt did feel a little bit guilty. They had, for the most part, been treating him very well here, a lot better than what he had imagined when he thought about being kidnapped by bandits. Kurt was about to open his mouth to utter an apology, when the tent flap moved and Trent stepped inside.
"Sir, Sebastian has returned," he announced. Kurt instantly tensed up at the mention of his name.
"Good," David smiled. "Send him in." Trent nodded and moved back out side, Sebastian soon taking his place inside. Sebastian looked at Kurt as he passed by, grinning wickedly as his eyes roamed up and down his body, making Kurt feel very uncomfortable, before stopping in front of the table. Sebastian tilted his head respectively to each of the three men before raising his gaze to look at David.
"What news have you, Bas?" David asked.
"Hummel has agreed to our terms," Sebastian announced, which made Kurt relax slightly. If his father had agreed to pay the ransom, then that meant that he would be out of here and home soon.
"But," Sebastian continued. "There was a slight... complication."
"Oh?" David tilted his head questioningly. "What do you mean?"
"Hummel broke his word," Sebastian said, making Kurt's heart sink. "He sent someone to follow me, thought I wouldn't notice." He chuckled lightly, but stopped when he noticed the anger flashing through David's eyes.
"And?" David said, gesturing for him to continue.
"And I caught her," Sebastian continued. "It was easy. Once I hit one of the checkpoints, I signaled the guards there that I was being followed and we ambushed her. Simple as that."
"Her?" David raised a questioning eyebrow. "Hummel sent a woman to follow you?"
"I don't know why," Sebastian shrugged. "Maybe he thought I wouldn't suspect a woman of following me. But it's kind of hard not to notice when you're traveling through an area that no one goes through."
"So what did you do with her?" David asked.
"I brought her back with me," Sebastian answered. "I thought that it was best if the Council dealt with her."
The Council? What's that? Kurt wondered as he watched the procession before him.
"Good," David smiled. "Send for someone to bring her here."
"Already done," Sebastian said, nodding to one of the guards at the entrance. They pulled back the flaps and two more men entered, dragging someone between them. Even though her long, dark hair fell down in front of her face, but Kurt instantly recognized her. How could he not? She not only worked for his father. She was also his friend.
"Tina," he whispered under his breath, watching her with worried eyes as they dragged her before David. Sebastian grabbed a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back hard. A muffled gasp slipped out from behind the gag shown on her now exposed face. Kurt couldn't help but feel for his small, Asian friend.
"I warned Hummel about what would happen if he were to have me followed, but I guess that he doesn't care about his son that much if he's willing to risk his safety like that," Sebastian grinned, casting a glance over at Kurt. "But since he broke his word, maybe instead of killing him, maybe you would be so kind as to let me take him." Kurt definitely did not like the way that Sebastian was looking at him. "After all, Hummel broke his word, so why should we keep ours? Or, if you still want to trade him back, perhaps it would be okay now if he's a little more roughed up than he was before. I would be-"
"That's enough, Sebastian!" a familiar voice growled from the back of the room. Kurt whipped his head around to see Blaine stepping out from the shadows where he had been hidden. "You are never to touch him, do I make myself clear?"
"Yes, Sir," Sebastian replied bitterly, hanging his head.
"Good," Blaine smiled, moving over to stand before Kurt. "Now though I agree that Hummel should learn not to cross us, I have a better idea of how to go about doing so." He turned to look up at David and as he did so, Kurt couldn't help but notice the nice curve that his butt had.
Stop it! Kurt scolded himself. You can't think like that about him!
"We will still meet Hummel at the trade off site, but we will have an extra surprise waiting there for him," Blaine announced, casting a glance over at Tina. "Take her to the pit for now. Tomorrow, we will start our trek to the meeting spot. We wouldn't want to be late to meet the Governor, now would we?" He flashed a grin that almost would have been dazzling if it didn't hold a hint of mischief.
"Now as for Hummel's son," he said, turning back to Kurt. "I believe that his wounds are still healing, so he will be returned to the infirmary until tomorrow. I want him to be rested up and ready to ride in the morning." Kurt inwardly groaned as he thought about sitting in those sore saddles again.
"Early curfew tonight, boys," Blaine continued, turning away from Kurt and moving up to the table, on the opposite side of David. "We've got an early morning tomorrow and I want you all to be rested up. Understood?"
"Yes, Sir," all of the men in the room chorused together.
It was then that it hit Kurt. They all referred to Blaine as Sir. And Jeff had told him that you only called those superior to you Sir. David had called Blaine Sir. So that meant that David wasn't the boss.