Taylor sat impatiently in Kurt’s living room, pushing the leftover Chinese food around her plate. She knew she should eat; her body needed the fuel after such a strenuous night. The teen thought she might jump out of her skin if she didn’t hear something soon. She had contacted the other members of the team and they were combing the city in search of Nona with little luck.
Taylor nearly broke her neck getting off the sofa when she heard Kurt lumbering down the hall. He looked upset and that was never good. Running one skillful hand through his sandy hair, he locked crystal blue eyes on her. His shirt was gone, no doubt to hide the bloodstains from her and his exposed torso was tense, muscles clenching beneath his tanned skin.
“She’s probably going to be fine. I’ve seen all of you bounce back from some pretty grisly injuries... but this was close… too close. What happened out there? She’s got a possible concussion and bruised lungs, I can’t really tell without my equipment. Broken ribs, facial lacerations, not to mention the ones all over her back! And she’s black and blue in every spot imaginable, what have you gotten yourselves into? Who did this?” Kurt was ranting in a controlled whisper, clearly he didn’t want to disturb Jordan, no matter how mad he was.
“Is she awake yet? I really need to talk to her.”
“You’re avoiding the question and no, she isn’t awake yet.” Kurt sank down on the couch she had just vacated and she plopped down uncertainly next to him.
“You guys show up in the middle of the night with Jordan at death’s door and I don’t even get an explanation. Taylor, WHO did this? You can tell me.”
“Nona…” She whispered, unwilling to meet his eyes. He gasped in disbelief and lifted her chin with his hand, forcing her to look at him.
“What do you mean Nona did this? She would NEVER hurt Jordan. She couldn’t.” Taylor pulled her face away, refusing to look at him again.
“Well she did. And I don’t know why. She hasn’t been herself, and then she went missing, and when we found her… THIS happened.” Over the next twenty minutes she gave him an overview of the nights events, minus a few details.
“I still don’t believe Nona would hurt her on purpose. There must be an explanation, the others will find it.” Kurt stated with certainty. “How did you get Jordan way from the cops?” He clucked the question with curiosity in his voice.
“They let me take her… after a little persuasion… Trust me, you don’t wanna know.” Vixen turned to look at Kurt only to realize he wasn’t focused on what she was saying. He reached up and turned her head to get a better look at now visible bruises on her face and neck. “It’s nothing… I’m fine, really.”
Kurt ignored her and went to the kitchen, returning with an ice pack, a basin of water, alcohol, and a clean bandage. When he touched the rag to her face she felt the alcohols sting immediately and winced. He frowned at her.
“You can take on the cops but not a little alcohol? I thought Jordan raised you tougher than that kiddo?”
“She misses you.”
“Who do you think? Don’t you miss her too?”
“Taylor.” He sighed. “Don’t start this. Jordan and I made a decision to be friends, don’t go trying to play matchmaker.” He placed the bandage gently on her neck, pressing the edges down. “You’ll be good as new in no time.”
Just then they heard a thud from the other room! Both jumped from the couch, racing down the hall to the bedroom.
In a heap on the floor, lay Jordan, covered in bandages and somehow looking worse than she had before. Her normally perfect brown skin was yellow and pale. Her lips had an almost bluish tinge to them and she had dark circles under each eye. She pushed herself up weakly as she spoke.
“ I… had to go potty…didn’t… want to bother you…” She joked weakly. Kurt was already in action, lifting her gently back into bed, scolding her all the while.
“Had to potty!? Where did you think you were going? You’re not strong enough to stand, let alone go out there and fight…” He fussed onward to no one in particular as he checked her bandages, adjusted the I.V. and tucked her securely back into bed. It was almost amusing to see a man with such a “Mother Hen” complex. Taylor just stood in the doorway observing, overcome with emotion at the sight of Jordan awake and recovering.
“I’m okay Baby Bear… don’t worry.”
That may have been an overstatement. Currently, she felt like someone had thrown her through two, or was it three, glass windows and then used her like a punching bag. Every breath she took pulled painfully at her cobbled together skin, daring the stitches to hold. She had a hard time remembering when she had hurt this much. But she would never tell Taylor that, she was just a kid. She should never even have been there. Jordan reached out a hand to her, beckoning her to come closer. Taylor stepped forward and took it, surprised at how relieved she felt.
“I was so scared. You were hurt so bad! And there was so much blood… I didn’t know what to do…” She stopped explaining when Jordan put a hand to her cheek, comforting her. She knew she didn’t have to say anymore. Bursting into tears, she flung herself into Jordan’s open arms. Jordan hid her discomfort and hugged her foster daughter back hard. Not one to be left out, Kurt joined in holding them both in his strong arms. They stayed that way until Taylor’s tears ceased and Jordan drifted into a fitful but well-deserved slumber.
“You can take the guest room,” Kurt said as he closed the bedroom door to a sliver. “I’m gonna stay with Jordan, she’s not out of the woods yet.” Taylor nodded absentmindedly.
“What about Nona? Do you think she would come here looking for her?” Kurt shook his head hard, a long curl falling into his face.
“I don’t know. We shouldn’t worry about what we can’t control. I think if she wanted to find us, she could have by now. Besides, you know I will always protect my girls.” He stepped forward and hugged her tightly before pressing a kiss to her temple. “Get some rest. CLU checked in and said they hadn’t found anything but they’d keep us posted. Okay?”
Again Taylor gave him an automatic nod but she still felt somewhat better with Kurt around. It was comforting to hear him call them “his girls”. He was the closest thing to a dad she had ever known, even coming to her school events well after he and Jordan had broken up. She knew he would protect them with his dying breath if it came to that. Quietly slipping into bed, she pulled the covers over her head. She knew with Nona in the wind and Jordan in recovery, CLU was the best equipped to lead them to the truth.
Darius Buchanan was an okay guy, save for the times he acted like a complete and utter prick. No one on the team truly liked him but he had become almost invaluable in the last few months, even saving Nona on a particularly harrowing mission. That kind of heroism was hard to dismiss. His ability to interface with computers and anything mechanical earned him the nickname CLU, referencing the character from the TRON series. He hated the name but, as is the case with most nicknames, couldn’t shake it. Despite his less than engaging personality, his attention to detail and organizational skills made him a good runner-up for leader. Taylor closed her eyes.
A small nag in her mind wondered why Jordan hadn’t called the team in sooner. It wasn’t her place to question, she just wondered if things could have gone differently. If they could have been contained. Unfortunately, the time for containment may have expired.