"You're telling me you actually knew Greta Garbo?" demanded an incredulous Will.
Helen merely raised an eyebrow.
"Seriously, dude?" Henry asked. "After everything you know about the Doc, you're really questioning whether or not she knew some Swedish movie star?"
Will flailed. "But it's Garbo!"
Helen winked at him. "Trust me, Will, she didn't truly want to be alone."
His mouth fell open and she laughed.
Kate rolled her eyes at all of them, but never let John escape from her sight. The idea that she was sitting in the well-appointed office of some immortal physician across from Jack the Ripper was slightly disconcerting, and she wasn't about to trust that he was suddenly a fluffy puppy because the others insisted he was currently posing no threat. After all, currently was the operative word.
"Anyway," Henry drawled, shaking his head at how in awe Will still was of Magnus - not that he blamed the guy - his fingers dancing across his pad, "we really need to talk about the bio units in the cryo room, Doc, because..."
He was summarily cut off when his pad locked and every single computer in the room went haywire, sirens blaring and a strange symbol appearing on all of the monitors. What was going on? This wasn't his programming. He had never before seen anything like this.
"What the hell?" he barked, trying everything in his power to reassert his control.
Kate patiently awaited someone to explain what was going on as John looked up with only mild interest. Henry frantically raced from station to station in search of answers. Will studied Magnus, whose face was pinched and very pale.
"What is this, Magnus?" he asked in a low voice.
Helen opened her mouth, but no sound emerged.
"What's that symbol mean?" Kate asked.
"It's an omega," John replied, "the last letter of the Greek alphabet."
"I got that, thanks," she snarled.
He waved a dismissive hand in her direction.
Helen calmly reached for her phone and pressed a button. "It's me. I need a jet ready in twenty minutes. The destination is Dayton International. Once there, I'll need a chopper on standby to take me to Lima, Ohio." She then placed the receiver back in its cradle, tented her fingers, and stared off at nothing.
"What's in Ohio?" Henry absently asked.
"Do we need to suit up?" asked an eager Kate, desperate for something to do.
"Not at this time," Helen replied, a forced smile on her face. "A situation has arisen which requires my immediate attention. While I'm away, Will is in charge of the Sanctuary." She nodded at him, which he reluctantly acknowledged with a nod of his own. "I shan't be gone long."
A sullen Kate sat back down, defeated.
"Is everything all right, Helen?" asked a suspicious John, his eyes narrowed, having picked up on the subtle changes in her demeanor.
"Quite," she tightly replied. "It's merely a personal matter to which I must attend."
"And the symbol?" Will pressed.
Helen glared at them before her eyes darted around the room. Finally, she sighed. "I'm not getting out of here without providing some answers, am I?"
"Nope," Kate chirped, shaking her head.
Bigfoot grunted, obviously worried for his friend.
"I'm still hung up on this omega thing," Henry said.
Another sigh and Helen reached over to her keyboard and restored to normal the operating system.
"Thanks!" Henry said cheerfully. "Now, what's up?"
Helen ran her tongue across her upper row of teeth, anxious and trying to determine the best way to explain herself.
"Just tell us, Magnus," Will said quietly.
She cleared her throat and nodded. "There's a young man living in Ohio upon whom I've had an eye for several years. His name is Kurt Hummel and he's seventeen years old."
"Is he an Abnormal?" asked a curious Kate.
"He's human," Helen said. "I was once very close with his parents. His mother died several years ago and I fell out of contact with his father. At any rate, I promised Suzanne on her deathbed that, should something happen to her husband, I would assume the responsibility of caring for their child."
"So you're this boy's godmother?" Henry asked.
"For lack of a better term, yes."
Will's eyes widened. "And that's what the symbol means? That his father has...gone?"
"Died," Helen said softly. "I have an operative in Lima who was to alert me if anything befell Burt Hummel. Were he merely injured or incapacitated, I would not have been informed."
"And the symbol itself?" Will asked, positive it meant more than what she was saying. "Why an omega?"
Helen pressed two fingers to her weary eyes and gathered a breath. "As John explained, the omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet." She swallowed heavily. "As Ashley was the alpha, Kurt is the omega, the last of my line."
Kate's eyes widened. Henry dropped his tablet. Will stared.
John stood and bellowed an incoherent roar, disappearing in a flash of light.
Helen sighed and closed her eyes. "Kurt Hummel is my son."
Several hours later, Henry was sitting, stupefied, before his command center.
"I can't believe she never told us," he whispered.
It went unspoken that it was the fact she had never told him which he found so troubling.
Kate was restlessly picking through myriad spare parts, her thoughts confused and unsettled. "There was no reason for her to tell anyone," she said. "The kid isn't really hers. She may have donated an egg, but she didn't carry him. She didn't raise him. He doesn't consider her to be his mother."
Bigfoot grunted. "She is his blood, his kin. She's the only family he has left. That matters."
"What do you think, Will?" Henry asked.
Will blinked owlishly. "Actually, I've been trying not to think," he said. "I know Magnus plans to bring him here, to live at the Sanctuary, and maybe that's what's best for him, but what if it's not?"
"You think she's using him to replace Ashley," Bigfoot surmised.
"Isn't she?" Kate asked.
Henry was indignant. "Magnus would never do that," he insisted. "You can't replace one child with another, and she knows that. What's she supposed to do? Leave the kid on his own to fend for himself? How's that fair? He's still a minor; he'd be placed in foster care. You can't tell me that's a better solution."
"It's not," Will hurriedly said, "I'm just concerned how this situation will evolve. I'm concerned for all of them, Henry. Magnus is still mourning Ashley, and Kurt will be mourning his father for a very long time. For him to come here, to see what we do, might help distract him, but it's going to be a big adjustment for him. He'll be leaving his life as he knows it. His friends, his school. Also, our work is dangerous. If he becomes attached to Magnus and something happens to her, what becomes of him then?"
No one had any response.
He sighed. "And god forbid something happens to Kurt while he's here. It probably won't, but just let me play devil's advocate for a minute. Ashley was targeted because she was Magnus' daughter. Who's to say some other idiot won't target Kurt because he's Magnus' son? What will that do to Magnus? Besides, is this really the place for a teenage boy whose world has just been ripped out from under him?"
Henry sighed and Kate slowly nodded her head. Will had made very fair points.
"He has no one else," Bigfoot grunted. "Magnus is doing what's best for him."
The others knew it was best not to argue, but they worried.
After a week of stumbling around in a daze and allowing others to dictate his life, Kurt woke up Saturday morning with a new sense of purpose.
His heart was broken and would be for a very long while, but he was no longer content with everyone else deciding what was best for him. He had to take control of the situation because everything was falling apart. At the end of the day, this was his life, and it was up to him to make it count.
He had agreed to the funeral service only to placate Carole, who had been shattered by his father's death.
Kurt was an atheist, and while he knew for a fact that there was an afterlife, no deity ruled it. His father had been agnostic, so even though Burt Hummel hadn't been a religious man, neither would he have objected to the ceremony. Therefore, neither would Kurt.
It was such an inconsequential thing, really, and would help to provide some measure of closure for Carole and Finn, so Kurt had decided it best to allow it. Besides, it kept Carole occupied and out of his hair, as she had been determined to fuss over him as much as possible. Strangely, Kurt was only able to cry for his father when he witnessed Carole sobbing and was thus often nervous when in her presence.
His father's insurance would pay the medical bills, and his life insurance would pay off the mortgage to the house. The shop was in the clear. Kurt knew that, theoretically, he could petition the court to have himself emancipated and continue living in Lima. Truthfully, he didn't see the advantage in staying. Lima had been painful enough even with his father's steady presence. Now that he was gone, it would be unbearable.
He had several trust funds which would provide for his education and ensure that he wouldn't have to work if he had no interest in doing so. He could go anywhere in the world and live comfortably, but he would also be alone. The thought didn't please him, but he had considered it.
In the end, however, he had decided to go and live with Helen for the time being, at least long enough until he was able to pull himself together, finish high school, and leave for college. In the grand scheme of things, two years didn't amount to much.
He had experienced a curious mixture of relief and resentment when Helen had appeared at the hospital. His father had written a living will, and once it was clear that he would never recover, the staff had disconnected life support. Kurt hadn't even been consulted. It had infuriated him, but he had been rational enough to understand that his father had made his wishes expressly clear. He wouldn't have gone against them even if it had been an option.
After the paperwork had been completed and a numb Kurt was standing in the hallway of the hospital, wondering what he was supposed to do next and listening to Carole bleat about how he would come live with her and Finn, Helen had arrived and offered him choices.
He had always known that Helen Magnus was his biological mother. His parents had tried to conceive for years but, for whatever reason, Suzanne Hummel had fallen into the small percentage of women who could carry a pregnancy to term but had no viable eggs. She had known Helen Magnus for decades, though the extent of their relationship had never been adequately explained to Kurt, and he didn't much care. At any rate, Helen had donated an egg, it had been fertilized and implanted within Suzanne, and roughly nine and a half months later, Kurt Hummel had been born.
He had never experienced feelings of confusion about who his parents were. His father was Burt Hummel and his mother Suzanne Hummel. He shared a blood relation with Helen Magnus, but she wasn't his mother. Suzanne had carried, birthed, and helped raise him.
Helen respected that, for which Kurt was so very grateful.
She hadn't swooped in, trying to control things or him, but instead had presented him different options, which he had desperately needed. Explaining their relationship to Carole had been awkward; trying to explain it to Finn had been sheer hell. Finn, of course, had then gone and blabbed about everything to the entire Glee Club, all of whom felt they deserved to weigh in on the situation and his decision.
They had converged upon his house two days later, allowing him a day of solitude merely for the appearance of propriety, all of them squawking protests or attempting to suffocate him with hugs.
Finn had demanded that Kurt stay in Lima because, as far as he was concerned, they were brothers and that trumped everything else. Rachel had whined about statistics for Sectionals and that no one understood her like he did. Mercedes had moaned about her boo and how he needed her right now. Quinn had wanted him to speak with her pastor in order to gain some perspective, and while he appreciated her concern, he was uninterested.
Brittany, Tina, and Artie, his oldest friends, were far too devastated about his father's death to do much more than cry with him. It hadn't made him feel any better, but perhaps less alone.
Mike and Sam had stood awkwardly in his living room and tried their best to corral the others and maintain some semblance of order. Mike had offered quiet condolences, as had Sam, who often shot looks at Kurt which led him to believe the other boy had a crush on him. While flattered, he couldn't deal with it.
Surprisingly, it was Noah and Santana who had ridden to his rescue, telling him that he didn't owe them shit and should do whatever was best for him. Everyone else could go fuck themselves.
It was exactly what he had needed to hear.
Helen had eventually thrown all of them out of the house and left him alone, giving him space to make some difficult decisions. He knew that she was still mourning her daughter; she respected his grief.
His feelings about Ashley were very confused. He hadn't known her but, although he didn't consider Helen his mother, Ashley, for all intents and purposes, had been his sister. He wished they had met, even if only once.
She hadn't known about him, Helen had explained, because the girl wouldn't have rested until she had reclaimed him as her brother, uncaring that he already had parents whom he loved and who had loved him. He had to admire her dedication to family. Selfishly, he wished she were still alive, if only to help deal with everything.
The service was in three days and Kurt was determined to wrap up as much as possible before he left. He had no intention of ever returning to Lima. He wasn't looking forward to sharing his decision with his friends.
"I thought I heard you," said a quiet voice.
Kurt startled. He certainly hadn't heard her come down the stairs, which was fairly ridiculous considering the heels on her boots. He looked up and stared at her, and Helen couldn't help the feeling that she was being judged.
Well, perhaps not being judged so much as critically assessed. She couldn't blame him. She could only guess as to what he was feeling, how he was coping, and she wasn't about to press him for answers, though part of her desperately wanted to do just that. Not for the first time, she was ruing the fact she hadn't brought Will with her. Surely a psychiatrist would be useful in such a situation.
As she stared into her son's empty eyes, she reconsidered. She recognized the value of therapy, but she also knew there were times when it simply wasn't useful, when pushing things before a person was ready to discuss them was the worst thing possible.
She had kept track of Kurt, yes, but she didn't know him. That had been mostly her decision. Burt and Suzanne had encouraged her to be a part of Kurt's life, but, at the time, she had deemed it too painful. She accepted that he was not her son, but she had never felt as anything other than his mother. She knew she had to check those emotions now. She couldn't make this better for him. He had to go through the experience himself, much as she was doing with Ashley's death.
"Is it strange that I feel nothing?" he asked softly.
Surprised that he had initiated meaningful conversation, for he hadn't until this point, she hesitantly stepped forward and took a seat on his sofa. "Not at all. You're intelligent enough to understand that you're still in shock."
"I guess denial is the next stage," he said, "although I can't see how it will manifest. He died right in front of me. I held his hand the entire time. It took over an hour after they turned off the machines." His eyes grew hazy. "I've actually watched someone die. He never regained consciousness." His jaws clenched. "I will never forget the sounds as he struggled to breathe. I'll never forget the moment he stopped." He stared down at his bed and picked restlessly at the comforter. "No, denial is impossible. I've moved straight on to anger."
He raised his eyes, his gaze searing her. "I am so angry, Helen. I don't think I'll ever get over this and, at this point, I'm not sure I even want to."
She said nothing for several long moments. "I understand," she finally whispered.
He gave a swift nod. "I know." He cleared his throat. "I've made some decisions. I'll need your help."
"Whatever you need, Kurt, I'm here."
It wasn't the first time she had said those words, but it was the first time he had believed them.