Chapter 1: Family Tree
"What are we going to do?" Maria once again trilled at Clyde, her shrieking litany now inspiring a migraine in the boy.
"I don't know," he said, exhaustion creeping into his voice, "but asking that same question over and over again isn't going to help much, is it?"
She clamped her jaws tight in frustration and plopped down next to him on the sofa.
Clyde was silent for a long moment. "We could always ask Mr. Smith, I reckon," he said.
Maria stared at him, giving a slow blink and feeling like the stupidest person on the face of the earth. "Of course!"
She took off toward the stairs, a smug Clyde following her.
Yes! He'd done it again!
"Mr. Smith!" Maria panted, clutching the stitch in her side. "I need you!"
The computer revealed itself with its usual fanfare and Maria rolled her eyes at all of the pomp and circumstance. She felt that, impossibly, the computer was far too impressed with itself.
"Hello, Maria," Mr. Smith greeted her, his tone artificial, yet soothing, which Maria found terribly ironic. "How may I help you?"
"Sarah Jane and Luke have been kidnapped!" she explained. "We have to find them!"
She then launched into the details of how Luke and Sarah Jane simply disappeared before them while at the chip shop. Luckily, no one else had seen it, save the clerk, who was told a grand yarn by Clyde which made no sense, yet was accepted.
"I am sorry, Maria," Mr. Smith said, and indeed mournfully, once she had finished, "but without more data, I am unable to theorize possible scenarios."
Clyde had entered the room during Maria's recollection and listened with chagrin at the computer's response. "So what do we do? How do we find them?"
"Can we call UNIT?" Maria asked no one in particular.
"And tell them what?" Clyde said with disdain. "Why would they even believe us? I doubt Sarah Jane has told them about us, and we know she hasn't told them about Luke, probably for good reason."
Maria crossed her arms defensively over her chest, though she conceded his point with a nod. "There must be something!" she insisted, her mind racing in search of answers. "What about that bloke Sarah Jane told us about? The Doctor?"
"He's out there somewhere," Clyde said slowly, waving his arm, "in space. How could we even contact him?"
She looked at the computer with hope shining in her eyes. "What about it, Mr. Smith? Is there some way you can call the Doctor?"
"I'm afraid not," Mr. Smith said. "It is possible Sarah Jane has some method of communicating with him, but she has not shared that information with me."
Maria groaned, slamming her hand against her forehead. "What are we going to do?" she whispered. She then brightened. "K-9!"
Clyde shook his head. "He hasn't finished with that black hole thing," he said. "Even if we managed to call him out, it could cause even worse problems."
She glared at him. "Well, why don't you try coming up with a solution instead of shooting down all my ideas?"
He glared right back, and she saw the fear and tiredness etched on his face. "Don't you think I've been trying? Don't you think I want them back as much as you do? What if more aliens come down here and try to blow us up again? We can't do anything without Sarah Jane, as well as Luke's big brain!"
Maria began pacing. "There has to be a way."
She walked back and forth across the attic for several moments. Finally, she halted in her tracks, looking dumbstruck. "Of course!" She frowned. "Well, maybe." She threw up her hands. "Oh, I don't know! But at least it's a chance!"
Clyde gave her a dubious look. "What are you on about?" he demanded.
"Do you remember Mrs. Wormwood?"
He grunted. "Heard about her."
"When the Bane scanned Sarah Jane, Mrs. Wormwood noted the amount of artron energy in her system."
"So?" he barked. "What does that even mean?"
She rolled her eyes. "Artron energy partly comprises the makeup of the Time Vortex. It's background radiation. Sarah Jane's body has a detectable amount because of her travels with the Doctor."
"And?" Clyde said impatiently.
She curled a lip. "We know that the Doctor has traveled with humans other than Sarah Jane. She told me about one of them, Rose Tyler." She ignored his pursed lips. "Anyway, if Sarah Jane has artron energy, then so would anyone else who traveled with the Doctor."
Clyde stared at her.
Maria stomped her foot in a bid of childish incredulity. "If Mr. Smith can scan for artron energy in other humans, we might find someone who traveled with the Doctor." She arched a brow. "Someone who might be able to get in contact with him."
His eyes widened.
She turned toward the computer, excitement plain on her face. "Can you do it, Mr. Smith?"
"Yes, Maria. Scanning now."
Clyde blinked slowly, his mind racing to catch up with Maria's convoluted thinking, as she once again took to pacing.
"Scan complete," Mr. Smith announced. "I have located two individuals currently on the planet who have high traces of artron energy."
"Display," Maria commanded.
Clyde rolled his eyes. "This isn't Voyager. Tell us about them, Mr. Smith."
"The first is Martha Jones," the computer replied. "Current location is New York."
"Let's call her!" Maria exclaimed.
Clyde shushed her. "Let's wait until we know everything."
She grumbled under her breath.
"Martha Jones, female, physician," Mr. Smith intoned. "Currently the Medical Director of the New York UNIT facility."
Clyde pursed his lips once more and glared at Maria, unspoken judgment plain on his face.
She fidgeted under her condemning gaze and silently admitted that perhaps he had a point.
"And the other?" Clyde asked.
"One moment, as I coordinate the results of the scan with local hospital records," Mr. Smith said.
Maria hopped in place.
"Subject has been identified as Kurt Hummel, age seventeen, of Lima, Ohio."
Maria whooped as Clyde's face settled into a confused pout.
"A seventeen year old?" Clyde said, skepticism lacing his voice. "Why would he be traveling with the Doctor? How can someone barely older than us help find Sarah Jane and Luke?"
"I don't care!" Maria exploded. "Whoever he is, he has to know more about this than we do. If he can't find them, then maybe he can at least help us find the Doctor. What do we have to lose?"
Clyde took in a deep breath and slowly released it, nodding. "All right. Sorted."
Kurt mumbled incoherently and cautiously raised his head from beneath his warm down comforter. He slowly turned his head to the side and glared menacingly at the phone that was trilling. Loudly.
He gritted his teeth. "If Finn fell asleep at Rachel's again and lost his keys again, I'm going to have kill him for the sake of humanity. And the bags beneath my eyes."
He threw out a hand and groped for his phone, missing his target the first few swipes, all the while it continued squawking at him like Mr. Schuester did whenever he brought up a Donna Summer tribute.
He curled a lip.
Finally gaining purchase on the offending object, he didn't even pause to read the Caller ID, instead answering the call directly.
"Finn Hudson," he seethed, "if you are once again calling for me to rescue you from Rachel Berry's vagina, I swear to any god you want to name..."
"Who is this?" he demanded, now past anger and straight on into cranky. A cranky Kurt was never a good thing, as Sue Sylvester had once found out.
"Um, my name is Maria Jackson."
He snorted. "Well, congratulations, Maria Jackson. I'm Kurt Hummel. I can only hope that, for your sake, you have a legitimate reason to be calling me at stupid o'clock on a Saturday morning, or I'm going to rip your intestines out through your nostrils and use them for a scintillating game of Double Dutch."
He heard a heavy gulp and smiled poisonously.
"I need your help," the girl said nervously, and that was when Kurt realized that, indeed, he was speaking with a girl, a girl who sounded very young and very scared. "My friend and his mum were kidnapped, and we don't know by what or by whom and there's no one we can tell other than my dad, who knows all about this weird stuff now, but he's as helpless as we are, currently, and..."
Kurt blinked slowly and reached up to wipe the crust from his eye, which, ew.
"Slow down," he said, his voice more sedate. "Maria, I'm sorry about your friends, but why are you calling me? Shouldn't you be calling the police?" He pulled the phone away from his ear and looked at the display screen. "Are you calling me from England?" he asked with incredulity.
"Are you able to get in touch with the Doctor?" she beseeched.
Kurt's eyes opened very wide before staring sightlessly ahead at that part of the room which held Finn's empty bed. "Why would you think I know the Doctor?" he hissed. His eyes widened. "How do you even know about the Doctor?"
"My friend's mum," she promptly replied. "She used to travel with him ages ago. Now she and Luke have disappeared, and I don't know what to do or whom to call!"
The poor thing sounded desperate and about ready to burst into tears, which momentarily made Kurt feel badly before he rebounded. He wanted nothing to do with the Doctor. He didn't want to remember or think about that time in his life, and he certainly was not about to reach out to him just because some other foolish person who'd been stupid enough to climb aboard the TARDIS was now in trouble.
He closed his eyes and sighed. Oh, hell, of course he was. He could no more turn his back on this than he could turn his back on his own family.
"Who is this person you're talking about, the one who traveled with the Doctor?" he asked.
"Sarah Jane Smith."
His eyes shot open.
Kurt raced around his room, pulling on some clothes and packing a bag with whatever he thought he might need, as he questioned Maria about everything she had seen just before and after Sarah Jane and Luke had disappeared. Unfortunately, the girl hadn't known much, but enough to convince Kurt that aliens were probably not behind the kidnapping.
That left humans, warlocks, or demons.
He frowned. There was no reason for any member of the magical community, be they good or evil, to bother with Sarah Jane Smith and her son, so Kurt was left with the opinion that some human was responsible. The question, of course, was who?
Maria began prattling on about all of the aliens she had encountered while in the company of Sarah Jane, offering theories about who might be behind this. She was particularly focused on the Slitheen, whom Kurt had read about via the TARDIS, but had never met.
More people knew about the Doctor and his visits to Earth than was probably healthy; certainly more people than Kurt himself knew. Where was he to begin looking for suspects?
In fact, why was he bothering to do this at all? It really didn't concern him. He was no longer part of that life, and had made sure the Doctor was no longer part of his. He could, and should, walk away from this. It would be so much easier.
He couldn't, however, and he knew that. He would search for Sarah Jane just as he would search for Rose, Martha, or Donna, even though he had never met them and they had never even heard his name. They all had something in common, were all bonded in a way; they were family, even though some branches were unknown to each other.
He blinked. What about Jack? Maria explained not wanting to call UNIT, though her reasons were nebulous, but hadn't she reached out to Torchwood? He put forth that very question.
"Torchwood?" she repeated, sounding confused. "What is that?"
Kurt rambled off some nonsense that revealed nothing but was suitable to get the girl back on her track of aliens. Obviously, Sarah Jane hadn't told her charges about Torchwood, if she even knew it existed. Kurt was betting that she did, but didn't know Jack Harkness.
He smirked to himself. Since he'd be in the United Kingdom anyway, he should probably drop by Cardiff and say hello. He repressed his cackle.
"Maria," he said firmly, and with just enough authority in his voice to get her to shut up, "I'm on my way. I need you to give me the exact coordinates of your location."
"Coordinates?" she slowly repeated. "Well, Sarah Jane lives at 13 Bannerman Road in Ealing, just outside of London. I live across the street."
Kurt sighed. The address wasn't enough. "I need the latitude and longitude, Maria. Ask that computer, will you?"
"I'll put you on speakerphone so you can ask him," she replied. "His name is Mr. Smith."
How original, Kurt drolly thought, as he headed over to his laptop. "Mr. Smith, this is Kurt Hummel. I need you to provide me the coordinates of Sarah Jane's house."
"Certainly, Mr. Hummel," it replied, in a voice Kurt would never have believed a computer to possess. Suddenly, he wondered about that computer and all it was capable of doing. As it rattled off a string of numbers, Kurt plugged them into his laptop and a grid popped up, plotting the house. He quickly familiarized himself with as many specifics as possible and nodded.
"All right," he said. "Maria, I'll be there in about five minutes. I'll do everything I can to help you."
"Five minutes!" the astonished girl shot back. "But you're in the States!"
He smirked and hung up. Closing his eyes, he reached out to Brittany.
It's so early, Kurty, she groaned.
He smiled. I know, and I'm sorry, Sweetness, but an emergency has arisen.
He felt her sit up in her bed, blinking in the darkness. It's him, isn't it?
No, he firmly replied, but he's somewhat involved. Let's just say a friend of a...friend is in trouble and needs my help.
She was silent for a long moment. You'll be careful.
It was a command, not a question.
Of course I will, he said soothingly. Do me a favor and write this address down.
He proceeded to give her Sarah Jane's address, advised her that he'd have his cell phone on him at all times, and that he was leaving the Book of Shadows at home.
Promise me that you'll call us if you need us, she demanded.
I promise, he said.
Okay, she said dubiously. I won't tell the others unless something bad happens. But it had better not!
He thanked her and promised to see her soon. Only she knew about his time with the Doctor, and only because he hadn't been able to hide it from her. Her powers were so vast that she had sensed the disruption in the time-space continuum both when he had left with the Doctor and then returned. Even though he had technically been gone for only three minutes, Brittany had known he had been absent for several months. He hadn't denied it, had only filled her in on the most basic of truths, and she had accepted his words at face value, as she was wont to do.
The others would never have settled for less than full disclosure, which was the one thing he could never give them.
He looked around his room, made sure there was no evidence of his quick departure, and then cast a spell over the house. Anyone inside of it, and right now that meant Carole and his father, would believe he had spent the night at Brittany's house and would return home by Monday. As soon as Finn walked through the door, it would affect him as well.
He nodded to himself, satisfied. It should be enough. If it wasn't, well, then he'd have to take steps, but he was hoping to wrap all of this up before he could be missed.
He wasn't sure what he was going to do, exactly, other than examine the situation and determine if he could actually help find Sarah Jane and her son. If he couldn't, then he would involve the Doctor, but only if it was absolutely necessary.
Chapter 2: Rescue
Maria stared down at the phone in her hand, silently demanding that it provide her with all of the answers she sought. She glared venomously when it did not.
"Well?" Clyde drawled.
Her brow furrowed. "He said he's going to be here in five minutes."
"I heard that part," he said, rolling his eyes. "Did he explain exactly how he was going to do that?"
She blinked owlishly and shook her head. "Maybe he has his own spaceship or something? I don't know." She frowned and turned toward him. "Have you ever heard of something called Torchwood?"
He shook his head. "What's that? An old folks home for pyromaniacs?"
"Mr. Smith," she began, once again ignoring Clyde's absurdity, "do you know what Torchwood is?"
"Yes, Maria," the computer replied. "Established in 1879 under the mandate of Queen Victoria, the Torchwood Institute is a covert special-operations agency which investigates extraterrestrial activity on Earth and is, according to the prime directive of its charter, to act as the first line of defense against hostile alien invasion."
Maria and Clyde exchanged a glance. Why had Sarah Jane told them of UNIT, but not Torchwood?
"Who controls it?" asked a curious Maria, taking a seat on the couch.
"That is a question which has no easy answer, Maria," Mr. Smith said. "Although formed by royal decree, it is unclear as to whom the agency answers. It is believed that they have an alliance of sorts with UNIT and the British government, although the scope of its involvement with these institutions is unknown."
Maria frowned more deeply. "Is Sarah Jane aware of Torchwood?"
"I do not know."
She turned to Clyde and arched a brow. "What do you think?"
He shrugged. "I reckon she is. Torchwood is an anagram for Doctor Who, after all."
"Doctor Who?" Maria repeated.
He nodded. "Right."
"No, but Doctor Who. Who is the Who?"
"The Doctor, I'd expect," he answered. "The bloke can travel through space and time, yeah? Well, who knows how long he's been doing that? He could've traveled back to see Queen Vicky for all we know. I mean, don't you think it's odd that this place has the Doctor's name in it and is supposed to fight aliens? That has to be more than a coincidence."
She nodded, somewhat uneasily, jolted from her thoughts when the doorbell rang. Her eyes widened and found Clyde's own. "Do you think..."
"It's been five minutes," he said uncertainly.
They nodded and raced downstairs.
Kurt Hummel very much wanted to purchase Sarah Jane Smith's house and live there forever. It was that lovely and charming.
It was that amazing.
One simply didn't find this kind of architecture - this particular brand of loveliness - in Ohio.
Okay, so maybe he was a little bitter and entitled. At least he wasn't Rachel.
He committed the outside to memory, perhaps to replicate later wherever he ended up once he got the hell out of Lima, and eyed Sarah Jane's car with envy. Granted, his own was more expensive and probably better made, but it certainly wasn't as cute.
Cute was very important in Kurt's estimation.
He took a moment to scold himself for being envious of the owner, but felt it was important that he had indeed identified his jealousy and recognized it for what it was. He had scanned the TARDIS files and was somewhat familiar with Sarah Jane, though the Doctor had never mentioned her, nor had he mentioned Rose, Martha, or Donna. He was sure the Doctor hadn't mentioned him to them, either, and he hadn't been included on the subnet developed by the late Harriet Jones.
Kurt had been left to draw his conclusions, his own impressions of the other companions, and the predominant one was that the Doctor, for all his joy and exuberance, was an inordinately sad man and would likely always be such. It wasn't that he wanted to leave them behind, but the simple fact was that life went on, and that was the end of it.
Kurt himself was sad that his time with the Doctor would never be considered among the rarefied company of the others, but that was fine. He loved the Doctor in his own way and always would, and he knew the Doctor loved him; they simply had fundamental differences which they would never be able to reconcile. Regardless, it was his duty and privilege to help Sarah Jane, who was, in a very real way, something akin to a sister or an aunt.
He hopped on the balls of his feet and scanned the area, searching for traces of the Doctor. It didn't take long to realize the Time Lord had never been here. This was truly Sarah Jane's sanctuary. He felt guilty for trespassing upon it.
Suddenly, the front door flew open and two kids barely younger than him were standing upon its threshold. The girl was gaping at him as the boy eyed him suspiciously.
Kurt arched a brow. "Hello, Maria. Am I late?"
"How did you get here?" she demanded.
Her friend growled and menacingly strutted forward.
It took everything inside of Kurt not to laugh in the boy's face. "Very intimidating, I'm sure," he assured the boy. Another arch of his brow and Clyde rose five feet in the air. "I am more than capable of defending myself, however."
"What are you?" Maria asked, voice torn between wonder and fear. "What species? What planet do you come from?"
"Don't end sentences with prepositions," Kurt said seriously, before smiling and lowering a sputtering Clyde back to the ground. "As for where I come from, here. I'm human, Maria, just like you, only with a little something...extra."
"Extra?" she slowly repeated.
He nodded. "Magic."
"Magic," Maria said rapturously.
"You can't be serious!" Clyde hissed at her.
"Why not?" she asked, shrugging. "After all we've seen, after all we've done, who are we to say what exists or what doesn't?"
Kurt stared hard at her. "You're very wise." He wished Brittany were here; she'd be able to see what was so special about this girl, because something definitely was. "Perhaps we should talk inside."
Maria blinked. "Oh, of course! Pardon me. Please come in."
Kurt was really liking England. People had manners.
Kurt found the inside of Sarah Jane's house just as delightful as the outside. He looked around in appreciation, noting that Maria appeared pleased by his reaction. It was obvious that she spent a lot of time here and that Sarah Jane was truly important to her. He respected that. He even respected the boy, who was so invested in protecting his friend.
"Right," he began. "I suppose the first thing we should discuss is why you called me. I'm sure we can dismiss any cursory conversation about the existence of aliens and such. You know, somehow, that I am a former companion of the Doctor. As I know that Sarah Jane is, as well, I can only assume she took you into her confidence. The question, therefore, is how you knew about me, because I know for a fact that she does not."
"Mr. Smith," Maria immediately replied.
"Sarah Jane's computer," Kurt said.
She nodded. "He's upstairs in the attic. Would you like to him?" she politely asked.
"Very much, Maria," he said, smiling, "thank you."
Kurt stared at the attic in wonder, marveling at the alien technology on display. Sarah Jane Smith was so much more important to this world than he had ever realized. Now overcome with concern, he wanted to get on with things and discover who had taken her and why.
"Mr. Smith," Maria said, "this is Kurt Hummel."
"Hello, Mr. Hummel."
Kurt cocked his head and grinned. He would never get used to these experiences. "Hello, Mr. Smith. It's very nice to meet you. Please call me Kurt."
"Thank you, Kurt."
"Are you really magic?" Clyde blurted.
Kurt turned to regard the other boy. "I am, but then so are you. Everyone is, Clyde. What separates me from most humans, however, is that I also possess magic."
"You have powers," Maria guessed.
"Are you a wizard, then?" Clyde demanded, his excitement forcing away his skepticism. "Like Harry Potter?" He then realized what he had just asked and blushed lightly.
Kurt laughed, but not maliciously. "No. I'm a witch. Any human who possesses magic, regardless of gender, is a witch. Witches who betray their powers and use them for evil are known as warlocks."
Maria nodded as though this made complete sense. Kurt was impressed by how open-minded she was, but then again, considering what she probably witnessed on a daily basis, perhaps he shouldn't have been so surprised.
"What are your powers?" Clyde eagerly asked.
Kurt became very serious. "I think it best to keep that information to myself for now. I'm willing to trust you because of who you are to Sarah Jane, and while I'm sure you wouldn't run around telling people about me, I ask that you try to understand why I'm cautious. Imagine what some more unscrupulous people would do to me if they knew I had magical powers, that magical witches exist."
Clyde's eyes widened and he nodded. "Understood."
Kurt smiled and nodded in kind. "Mr. Smith, may I please ask you some questions?"
"Of course, Kurt," the computer replied.
"I'm curious as to why Maria contacted me. She said that you led her to me, and I'd like to know how this was accomplished."
"Maria asked me to scan the globe for individuals who possessed detectable levels of artron energy," Mr. Smith answered. "You and Martha Jones were identified."
Kurt frowned. "That's odd. Martha I can understand," he murmured, especially considering the woman was, in a very real way, the modern Mary Magdalene, traveling the world to spread the message of the Doctor. He shook his head. "But why me? I didn't travel with the Doctor for very long, and I know for a fact there are several former companions scattered throughout the globe who are far more important and experienced than I."
"Magic?" Maria suggested.
Kurt blinked and felt very stupid. "Very possible," he said reluctantly. "The artron energy of the Time Vortex still in my system could have been amplified or altered by my magic." He shrugged, figuring it was as good an explanation as any and that other things were more important at the moment. "Excellent deduction, Maria." He smiled when the girl beamed. "Why didn't you call Martha?"
"Because she's with UNIT," Clyde said. "We don't know if we should trust them. Sarah Jane never said much about them, and we really didn't know what to do."
"Discretion is always the better part of valor," Kurt agreed.
Clyde stared at him. "Are you sure you're only seventeen? You talk like a professor or something." He turned to Maria. "Can you imagine a conversation between him and Luke?"
"Luke is Sarah Jane's son?" Kurt asked. "I wasn't aware she had children." He was startled by the fierce looks which immediately overtook Clyde and Maria's faces.
"You have your secrets," Maria said tightly. "We have ours."
Kurt slowly nodded. "Acceptable. For future reference, you can trust Martha absolutely. She might be with UNIT now, but she and Sarah Jane know each other, and Martha's first loyalty will always be to the Doctor."
"Do you know her?" Maria asked.
He shook his head. "I know of the other companions, but I've never met them."
"Sarah Jane's never mentioned you," Maria said cautiously. "She told me about Rose."
Kurt flinched. "She has no reason to know of me. My time with the Doctor is...complicated."
"Fair enough," Clyde said, "but are you going to help us?"
"Of course," Kurt said. "I want you think about everything that happened immediately before and after Sarah Jane and Luke disappeared."
"Think about it?" Clyde questioned.
"You're telepathic, aren't you?" Maria asked Kurt after a beat, her eyes boring into his.
"So why'd you ask us all that stuff?" Clyde asked. "Couldn't you have just fished the answers out of our minds?"
"I could have," Kurt admitted, "but I try never to do that unless absolutely necessary. Violating the privacy of others is not something I enjoy."
Maria nodded. "Well, thank you, then." She looked to Clyde and nodded again. They closed their eyes and did as Kurt asked.
Kurt stared at them as thoughts, feelings, impressions, and snippets of visions washed over him. He had mastered his telepathy and empathy years ago, but was still uncomfortable with his abilities. Even when he used them to assist others, as he was now, he felt as though he were stealing from the very people he was trying to help.
"I'm done," he said quietly, closing his eyes and filtering the information he had gleaned, sifting through it in search of salient points. He didn't like what he had found. "They're human," he said, "and in possession of alien technology."
"UNIT," Clyde breathed.
Kurt fought the urge to roll his eyes. The boy's paranoia was getting on his nerves. It was true enough that UNIT warranted suspicion, but they were aware of the Doctor and Sarah Jane, and would never do anything to the latter which might bring the wrath of the former down upon them.
"I can't say with certainty that it wasn't UNIT," he said slowly, "but neither can I guarantee that it was. Let's not jump to conclusions. The most important thing is finding Sarah Jane and Luke."
"Can you read their minds and locate them?" Maria asked.
He shook his head. "Unfortunately not." He paused. "Well, that is to say, it's possible, but it would take longer than we have. I'd have to filter through all of the voices I can hear, and I learned a long time ago to shut them out so I didn't go crazy."
Clyde stared at him. "You mean that, wherever you are, you can hear the thoughts of others? People you don't know and will never meet?"
Kurt nodded tightly. "I can pick up stray thoughts from within a very wide radius. It's unpleasant and dangerous. It can be overwhelming and cause my magic to spin out of control." He sighed. "If I knew Sarah Jane and Luke personally, I could most likely focus on them exclusively, but that's not the case."
"So how will we find them?" asked a desperate Maria.
Kurt shrugged. "A simple locater spell should do the trick." He turned to Clyde. "Will you please get me a map of the United Kingdom?"
Clyde nodded and hurried off.
"The entire island?" Maria asked, raising a brow.
"Just to make sure they're still on it," Kurt explained. "Once that's ascertained, I'll need maps which are further detailed."
Clyde returned with an atlas purloined from Luke's room, placing it on the nearest table and opening it to the appropriate page.
"Now I need something belonging to Sarah Jane, and something personal of Luke's," he continued. "We need to determine if they're being held together or separately."
"What kind of item?" Clyde asked.
"Anything, really," Kurt said, "as long as they've come into contact with it recently or use it frequently."
Nodding, Clyde and Maria disappeared through the attic door, returning quickly with a compass belonging to Luke and Sarah Jane's favorite boots.
Kurt eyed the boots. "This woman has fabulous taste."
Maria nodded seriously while Clyde snickered.
Kurt took the items from them and withdrew from his pocket a clear quartz attached to a gold chain.
"What's that?" Maria asked.
"A scrying crystal," Kurt replied. "Scrying is a simple method to find a lost person - be they human, witch, or demon - or object."
Clyde swallowed. "Demon?"
Kurt shot him a tense smile. "We can discuss that later, if there's time."
Clyde's eyes bulged, but he nodded.
"Now watch the crystal," Kurt said.
They did as he instructed, watching with incredulity as Kurt looped the crystal's chain around Luke's compass and then swung it to and fro across the map, his eyes closed and lips murmuring something lost to them.
After several agonizing seconds, the crystal dropped.
Kurt opened his eyes. "London." He then took one of Sarah Jane's boots in hand, looped the chain around the ankle, and repeated the process. When the crystal fell, he nodded. "London."
"So they're together," Clyde said.
"I would assume so," Kurt said. "We don't know which of them was the target, but it's obvious the other was taken to force them into compliance." He flicked a finger and the pages of the atlas flew wildly, finally stopping on downtown London.
"Telekinesis," Maria whispered.
Kurt ignored her, used the chain to wrap the boot and compass together, and scryed once more. When the crystal dropped, Kurt's eyes opened and then darkened when he saw where it had landed.
"Canary Wharf," he hissed in a dark tone, grievously offended.
Clyde and Maria exchanged a nervous glance, surprised at the rage now pouring off Kurt in waves. They didn't dare ask why he was so troubled.
Kurt was almost positive as to whom was responsible for this, and he wasn't pleased. He stalked over, grabbed his messenger bag, slung it across him, and held out his hands. "Let's go."
Clyde and Maria scampered toward him and took a hand, and then all three disappeared.
They arrived in an alleyway. Clyde and Maria looked about anxiously as Kurt ran through possible scenarios in his mind.
He turned to Maria and forced his cell phone into her hand. "At the first sign of trouble, I want you to run. Use my phone to call Brittany Pierce and tell her what happened. She'll take care of it from there."
"Oi! You're not leaving us here!" Clyde barked.
"I had no intention of doing so," Kurt snapped, "but listen closely: we don't know what kind of technology these people are using, or how many are involved. You're coming with me, but you will listen to what I say and obey it unquestioningly." He glared at both of them. "Do you understand?"
Kurt slightly relaxed. "I'm sure you know what you're doing, but we're walking into an unknown situation. I'm very powerful, but I'm not immortal. If I'm captured, run away and assume I'll be able to free myself. Once I do, I'll come find you. If I'm rendered unconscious, however, my magic is useless, so you're to run away and call Brittany, as well as the police and Martha Jones. Got it?"
"Yes, of course," Maria murmured.
Clyde nodded, pleased that he wasn't being forced to sit on the sidelines and hope for the best.
"I'll take point," Kurt said. "Maria, I want you directly behind me, and Clyde behind you. We go single-file. Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. I'll attack, Clyde will defend, and Maria, if the worst happens, get yourself and Clyde out of there and then get help."
"Understood," she said quietly.
"All right?" he asked Clyde, who nodded. "Okay, then. Let's do this."
Clyde and Maria followed Kurt as he entered an abandoned and partially destroyed building, navigating the myriad hallways and sub-basements with ease, wondering how on earth he knew where to go. The map had given them a baseline location, but it was as though Kurt was being guided by something they didn't see.
Kurt grimaced as the TARDIS key beneath his shirt slowly began heating up, and he used it to guide himself and the others to Sarah Jane and Luke.
Clyde and Maria also wondered how Kurt was able to see in the dark, for they themselves couldn't see a foot in front of them, yet he moved assuredly through doors and down stairwells as though he could see perfectly, despite none of them carrying torches.
Finally, they arrived outside a great iron door, rusty and closed.
Kurt cocked his head and listened carefully, staring at the door as though he could see through it.
Then he did something which rocked Clyde and Maria to their cores.
If you can hear me, grab my hands, but do not say anything!
They startled, Maria stifled a squeak, and they hesitantly reached out and grabbed a hand.
Telepathy is very useful, particularly in circumstances such as these. He waited a few moments for them to acclimate to this intrusion. There are five people behind that door, including Sarah Jane and Luke. Luke is unconscious and Sarah Jane is afraid, but holding her own. There are two other men and one woman.
What do we do? Clyde asked.
Our best bet is to take them by surprise, Kurt said. I'm going to throw open the door - and by that, I mean throw it open. I'm going to throw it off its hinges, and it should strike the guard who's standing before it. The other man is just muscle; the woman is in charge of this operation. I don't know if they're holding weapons or can get to them easily. I'll distract them. Clyde, untie Sarah Jane, and Maria, see if you can wake Luke. Understood?
Clyde and Maria nodded, now filled with a sense of purpose.
"On three," Kurt muttered. "One. Two."
They all drew in a sharp breath.
"Three," he hissed, before holding out his hands before them and literally blowing the door inwards. There was a loud and angry bellow as the door fell upon the hapless fool in its path.
Kurt stalked forward, eyes narrowed dangerously, and assessed the situation.
The woman, who resembled Cruella DeVille minus the cheerfulness, glared at him and laughed mockingly. "Congratulations, whoever you are, but your rescue mission is doomed to fail. Do you know what your first mistake was?"
Kurt cocked his head. "Assuming evil villains knew how to dress themselves?"
She gnashed her teeth before allowing her lips to settle in a smirk. "You assumed we didn't know you were coming."
He blinked. "Actually, I did no such thing. Did you really believe I didn't notice that the surveillance cameras were functional?"
Thrown, the woman opted to prevaricate. "Who are you with? UNIT? Your team will never arrive in time."
"They're already here," Kurt said, shrugging. "Clyde? Maria?"
The two moved out behind him and stood at his sides.
The result of their appearance was hysterical laughter. "Children? You brought children to assist you? Your arrogance is equal only to that of Ms. Smith."
"Then I'm in good company," Kurt replied. "While you try to figure out your next move, allow me to make several more assumptions."
"By all means."
Kurt grinned. Trust cartoonish evil villains to believe you less intelligent than they. It made manipulating them so very easy. "You were with Torchwood One. You escaped the Cybermen at the last possible moment, but you didn't leave the Tower without some artifacts which weren't yours to take." He wagged a finger at her. "Naughty, naughty."
"You illegally accessed the files Torchwood maintained on the Doctor, desperate to learn his many secrets." He arched a brow. "Oh, my. To sell?" He clucked his tongue. "Espionage is so very gauche. You discovered his connection with Sarah Jane and investigated her further. You then learned that she had a son." His eyes drifted over to Luke's unconscious form, over which Maria was hovering.
"Yet there were no records of a pregnancy. You believed he was somehow the Doctor's child." He tilted his head. "Ah, adoption papers, ones which didn't hold up to your relentless scrutiny. Nevertheless, you must have been so disappointed." He nodded to himself. "So you thought kidnapping Sarah Jane and then using Luke as leverage would compel her to reveal more about the Doctor than anyone knows, perhaps even forcing a confrontation with him once he learned that she was taken."
He smiled widely. "How am I doing so far?"
She scowled, wondering how on earth this child had learned so much. "A little too well, but it's of no consequence." She nodded to her associate. "Dmitri."
"An evil Russian minion?" Kurt drawled, rolling his eyes. "How derivative."
Dmitri leered at him and lifted his gun. Kurt raised a hand to halt Clyde as the boy inched closer to the thug.
"That won't work on me, Boris," Kurt said, his tone dripping with boredom.
"But how about your friends?" the woman slyly asked. "Surely it will work on them."
Kurt conceded the point with a nod. "It might. Of course, then I would have to kill you."
She threw back her head and laughed. "You! Kill me? Young man, you are indeed delusional."
"Not delusional," Kurt said, "just angry." He took a step closer to her. "Did you know, Mrs. Pratt, that all of us who have traveled with the Doctor have our special gifts?"
"Us?" Sarah Jane whispered.
Pratt paled. "How did you know my name?" she asked slowly.
"I know many things," Kurt said dismissively. "You know about Sarah Jane, about how she saves the world practically every other day, and you know about Rose Tyler, who is unfortunately lost to us. You even know about Martha Jones. If you're up on current events, you're aware of Donna Noble, as well. But you didn't know about me or what I can do, did you? Trust me when I tell you that you don't want to find out."
Pratt's eyes almost glowed with greed. "Oh, but I do."
Kurt shrugged. "All right. The first thing you should know is that Companions, former and current, have a bond which you could never hope to grasp. We take care of our own."
"Indeed. Next, please have no doubt about the fact that I can and will kill you should you give me reason. I'm not subject to UNIT or Torchwood. I'm beyond them, and don't abide by their rules. Now, here's a question for you: how is it, do you suppose, that I was able to outline your ultimate goal so easily?"
"You're a telepath," she guessed.
"That's one of my abilities," Kurt said, "but it's only the tip of the iceberg. As I see it, we have two options. You can release Sarah Jane and Luke, after which I turn you over to UNIT and tell them you cooperated, or I can capture you and give you to Torchwood. Jack Harkness has little use for the Geneva Convention."
Pratt chuckled. "And how do you propose to do that?"
Kurt sighed. "I gather we're going with the second option. I wish I was unsurprised." With that, he flicked a finger and the ropes binding Sarah Jane fell to the floor. A wave of his hand, and they were then wrapped tightly around Mrs. Pratt, who collapsed with surprise and indignation. A quirk of his eyebrow sent Dmitri crashing into the wall behind him, instantly rendering him unconscious, his gun uselessly clattering to the floor at his side.
Kurt crossed the space and loomed over Pratt. "Telekinesis. It also explains the door."
"You won't get away with this," she seethed.
"Is that all you've got?" he demanded. "You really subscribe to the complete stereotype, don't you?" He rolled his eyes, dropped to his haunches, withdrew the woman's handkerchief from her pocket, and shoved it in her mouth. "Much better."
He then reached into the other pocket and retrieved Sarah Jane's sonic lipstick. He smiled at it and then tossed it to the woman, now on her knees beside her son, who was slowly coming around. "I believe that's yours."
"Please don't think me ungrateful," she said, "but who are you?"
He smiled, reached under his shirt, and withdrew his TARDIS key. "A friend."
Her eyes widened. "So it's true. You're one of us."
"I am. It's a pleasure to meet you at last, Ms. Smith."
"I'm afraid I'm at a loss. I don't know your name."
"Kurt Hummel," he replied. "I traveled with him briefly between Martha and Donna."
"Impossible!" Sarah Jane protested. "You wouldn't have been fourteen at the time! Even the Doctor isn't that daft."
He laughed. "In this present incarnation? I think you're wrong about that. Actually, I was sixteen. I'm older than I look."
"But you're only seventeen now!" Maria objected.
Kurt blinked. "Your math skills are astounding."
Clyde snickered, even though Sarah Jane shot both him and Kurt a dark look. Only Kurt appeared contrite.
"Apologies," he said. "I tend to resort to sarcasm in uncomfortable situations."
At that, Clyde burst out laughing. "Well, Sarah Jane certainly wouldn't know anything about that."
Maria giggled as well.
"Look who's talking," Sarah Jane griped at him. "Oh, Luke," she whispered, running her hand through his hair.
"Luke will be fine," Kurt said. "In fact, I imagine he'll wake up right about...now."
Luke suddenly turned on his side and began coughing, his eyes flying open. "Mum!" he cried.
"I'm right here, darling," Sarah Jane murmured, drawing his head into her lap. "We're all right now. Everything's fine." She sent a suspicious glance at Kurt. "How did you know Luke was about to wake up? What are you?"
"I'll explain in just a moment," Kurt said. He waved both hands, and Pratt and her minions disappeared from sight.
Luke blinked rapidly. "Did that just happen?" he whispered loudly to Maria, who nodded.
Kurt looked at Sarah Jane. "As I promised, they're now locked securely in Torchwood holding cells. I'll pop over to Cardiff after I take you home to explain the situation to Jack."
"You really do know Jack," said Sarah Jane, more to herself than anyone else.
"Not as well as he'd like me to know him, but yes. I know many things, Sarah Jane, and I'm going to give you the answers you want, but first, let's get you all home."
She nodded weakly, the adrenaline seeping from her body and leaving her feeling quite weak and, frankly, terrified.
Kurt walked over to them, helped Sarah Jane to her feet, and then bent down and pulled Luke up with him.
Maria appeared stunned.
"I'm deceptively strong," he said to her.
"Hello! I'm Luke!"
Kurt laughed. "Hello, Luke. It's very nice to meet you."
"Thank you for saving my Mum," the boy said, his voice serious.
Kurt nodded. "You're welcome, Luke." He turned to Clyde and Maria. "You know the drill."
They nodded and wrapped their hands around Kurt's biceps.
"All aboard, Sarah Jane," Kurt called.
The woman shook her head with incredulity and slowly walked over. "Er, where shall I...?"
"Just grab on to any available surface," he advised.
Clyde and Maria removed one hand each from Kurt and held then out toward Sarah Jane, who grabbed them as those they were life preservers.
Then Kurt teleported them all away.
"Welcome back, Sarah Jane," Mr. Smith said, after greeting them. "I must admit I was quite worried, but it appears as though Kurt delivered on his promise to Clyde and Maria."
"He sure did," Clyde said, collapsing on the sofa. "You were truly awesome, man."
"Thank you, Clyde," Kurt replied, settling Luke next to the other boy.
"Right," Sarah Jane said. After checking on her son, she turned to Kurt. "Those answers, please."
"If I may," Mr. Smith interjected, "perhaps you would allow me to summarize how Kurt came to be here."
"By all means," said both Kurt and Sarah Jane, who then looked at one another and smiled.
"Now there's two of them," Clyde mumbled.
"Clyde!" they bellowed.
He fell silent.
Mr. Smith then launched into his explanation, Clyde and Maria offering additional detail when they felt it necessary.
Sarah Jane nodded when they finished, taking to the entire situation with alarming alacrity. "And your abilities?" she asked Kurt. "Are you alien?"
"I'm magical," Kurt said.
Sarah Jane shot him another one of those dark looks, which Kurt found rather frightening.
"I'm a witch," he said, sighing.
He put his hands on his hips and glared. "What more proof do you need? I'm telepathic, and you've seen my telekinesis and my ability to teleport. What else do you want?"
Slowly, she thawed, and at last nodded.
"There's more out there than you've ever realized, Sarah Jane," Kurt said quietly. "I understand if you can't accept it. He couldn't either."
Her eyes widened as her spine stiffened. "Luke, Maria, Clyde! Out! I'd like to speak with Kurt alone, please."
All of them protested, especially Luke, who was very keen on questioning Kurt further about what he could do.
"Now!" she barked.
They fled the room.
She gestured toward the sofa. "Let's sit down."
Kurt exhaled and nodded, perching gingerly on the edge of the sofa. "Whatever you want to know, I'll tell you."
Faced with such a disarming opening, Sarah Jane found she had no immediate question. She struggled briefly and finally opened her mouth. "What happened between you two?"
Kurt rolled his neck and looked off into the distance. "That's a question which has no easy answer. Suffice it to say, the Doctor was uncomfortable with what I am. The decision for me to leave was a mutual one, though it was very...difficult."
Sarah Jane sighed. "He can be the most infuriating man."
Kurt snorted in agreement. "Sometimes I wonder, had I been honest with him from the beginning, if I would still be with him now."
"What happened when you did tell him?" she asked gently.
He grimaced. "It did not...go over very well." He picked at his pants. "At his core, no matter how fantastic he finds the universe, the Doctor is a rational man. He believes that everything does and should have a logical explanation." He shook his head. "There's nothing logical about magic. It has no rhyme or reason.
"There were few answers I could provide him. No one knows why one person is magical and another isn't. No one knows why any particular witch has their particular gift, or why witches are of differing magical strengths. No one knows how magic works or what it limits are, or even if it has limits. It was very frustrating for him and, frankly, I believe he thought I was dangerous."
"Why would he think that?" the affronted woman asked. "It's obvious just from your behavior today that you are an extraordinarily kind young man. You traversed halfway across the world to help complete strangers, at no small risk to yourself, I might add. You protected Clyde and Maria, and I trust their judgment far more than they realize. It's apparent that they like you, feel safe with you."
He swallowed heavily. "You don't know how much that means to me."
Her eyes searched his. "Good Lord, what did he do to you?"
Kurt shook his head. "It wasn't anything he did. It wasn't even anything that he said. It was more how he made me feel, as though I were abnormal or an abomination." He averted his eyes. "I never really understood it. You've met aliens who share my abilities, haven't you?"
She nodded. "Yes, of course."
He shrugged. "For whatever reason, the Doctor was of the opinion that I, as a human, should not have those abilities, especially as part of something so indefinable as magic." He sighed. "My final days on the TARDIS, I was so uncomfortable, I seriously wondered if he was going to burn me at the stake." He looked up at her. "I truly think he felt as badly about the situation as I did, that he wanted to accept me but, for whatever reason, he simply couldn't allow himself to do so."
He sighed once more. "I know he loved me, Sarah Jane, and he knew that I loved him. We were just too different." He blinked back tears and forcefully cleared his throat. "I think, more than anything, what frightened him so badly was that I told him I could bring Rose here to stay."
Her brow furrowed. "What do you mean, to stay?"
His eyes widened. "You don't know? After that tiff with Davros, he deposited Rose and his clone back in the other universe."
"He did what!"
He rolled his eyes. "Oh, you know how he is. The laws of physics, the music of the spheres, holes punched in universes - blah blah blah. He refused to understand, or was perhaps unwilling to believe, that I am fully capable of manipulating physical laws. My magic isn't so much supernatural as it is unknown science, but the hope I gave him, the hope that he could have Rose back - and all that would entail - terrified him."
She nodded. "He's in love with her."
"Very much," Kurt solemnly agreed, "and it scares him."
Sarah Jane collapsed against the back of the sofa, sighing and shaking her head. "Of course it does."
"He has a perverse compulsion to refuse anything which might bring him true happiness," Kurt said. "I feel sorry for him. I really do. He believes he's destined to be alone, and he's made that belief into a self-fulfilling prophecy."
She closed her eyes. "And what about Donna?" When his answer wasn't immediately forthcoming, she hesitantly opened her eyes, sensed his anxiety, and groaned. "What happened with her?"
He told her.
She covered her eyes with a hand. "I can't stand much more. Am I to assume you also could have resolved that situation?"
He shrugged. "It's a simple spell to remove those memories which were so damaging to her mind."
"Perhaps it's better that she's forgotten."
"You don't really believe that, Sarah Jane," he said. "The Doctor, by taking Donna to all of those worlds, gave her a place in her own. She was finally able to define herself because he expanded the boundaries of what she had believed to be true. All of that is gone for her now. She's safer, perhaps, and may even one day find happiness, but for all the pain and sadness your time with and away from him has caused you, would you give up your memories of him, of all the wonder and splendor he showed you?"
"No, of course not," she whispered. "I don't know who I would be without him. Sometimes I'm not sure I like the person I am, but I know that I am a better person for having known him."
Kurt nodded. "As am I." He shrugged and gave her a sad smile. "I guess that's the legacy he leaves to all of us: he makes us better. For whatever reason, he chose us, for lack of a better term, and we chose to answer his call. I think we were smart to do so."
She smiled, reached over and grabbed his hand, grasping it tightly in her own. "So do I." She released one final sigh, patted his hand, and rose to her feet. "So, what's next for you?"
He stood as well. "I'm going to drop in at Torchwood and explain to Jack why he has three new prisoners." He paused. "How much does he know about Luke, about his...conception?"
Her eyes widened. "Nothing."
He nodded. "Then I won't tell him, but he is aware you have a son?"
"Yes." She frowned. "How do you know about the Bane?"
His lips quirked up into a half-smile. "Telepathic, remember?"
She rolled her eyes and swatted his shoulder.
"After that, I need to go home. My father and stepmother will be looking for me."
She nodded. "Then I guess it's time for goodbyes. I'll fetch the children."
"Oh, there's no need," he said. "They're on the other side of the door, listening to everything we've said."
She threw her hands up in the air. "Of course they are! Get in here, you lot!"
The embarrassed trio stumbled their way inside, Luke and Maria blushing furiously.
"Do you really have to go?" Luke asked pitifully, running a hand through his hair. "There's so much I want to ask you!"
Kurt smiled. "Well, if it's all right with your mother, you can call me to ask whatever you wish, or we can conference over the internet. Mr. Smith and Maria have my contact information."
"We'd both like that very much, Kurt," Sarah Jane said quietly. "I don't know how I'll ever thank you."
"You don't need to," he said kindly. "I have no doubt you would have rescued yourself and your son, Sarah Jane. That's simply who you are, and I'd be the last one to underestimate your skills. Still, I'm glad I was able to help." He blushed lightly. "I don't think I realized until just this moment how desperately I've needed to talk about him."
Again she reached out and grabbed his hand. "I understand."
He nodded. "We're members of a very rarefied club."
She nodded in kind. "That said, the next time I see him, I'm going to sock him one."
"Please take pictures."
"Oh, don't worry," Clyde said, smirking, "we will."
Kurt laughed and shook his hand. Luke and Maria insisted on hugs, which left Kurt flustered and uncomfortable. Sarah Jane noticed this and wondered if perhaps she and Kurt had more in common than just the Doctor.
"Do give my best to Jack, won't you, Kurt?" she asked.
He rolled his eyes. "I do that, he'll turn up on your doorstep an hour later with a bottle of wine and a thong - which he'll insist on wearing himself."
She rolled her eyes in tandem. "Point taken."
"What?" Luke, Clyde, and Maria asked.
Kurt laughed and disappeared.
"My," Maria said, "people come and go so quickly here!"
Clyde snickered and Sarah Jane smiled.
Luke stared at the spot which Kurt had vacated. "Clyde?"
"Do you remember when you told me I could ask you about anything?"
Clyde frowned. "Course I do. What you need to know?"
"Tell me about boys."
Clyde's eyes widened.
Sarah Jane and Maria exchanged a look of surprise before smirking.
"Jack," Gwen said slowly, "would you care to explain why there are three humans currently in our holding cells?"
Jack gave an exaggerated blink and slowly turned to face her. "Beg pardon?"
A throat cleared. "That would be my doing."
Both of them turned to face the source of the voice, their necks snapping with the effort. Ianto, who had just entered the room, dropped the tray of tea he was carrying.
"Sloppy," Kurt observed, plopped on what was once Owen's desk, legs crossed and an impish smile on his face. "I'm disappointed, Ianto."
The man spluttered.
Kurt smiled wryly and turned toward Jack, arching an imperious brow and smirking. "Guess who?"
Chapter 3: Debriefing
"Well, well, well."
Kurt quirked a brow. "Hello, Jack Harkness," he purred. "How's tricks?"
Jack smirked, swaggering over in Kurt's direction until he was standing uncomfortably close before him, arms on either side of Kurt with palms flat on the desk atop which the boy was sitting, trapping him in place. "You know, speaking of tricks..."
Ianto loudly cleared his throat and glared.
Jack was crestfallen and pulled away. "Oh, right. You're not quite legal yet." He looked at Kurt with hope in his eyes. "Are you?"
Kurt clucked. "Now, Jack, you and I both know you have my eighteenth birthday circled on your Big Ships of the Navy calendar, and that day is not today. Also, you really shouldn't try and bait Ianto, or I might just take him away from you."
Jack sagged, pouted, and scoffed. All at the same time.
Kurt smiled brightly at him and teleported away, landing in front of a startled Ianto.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Jones."
Ianto inclined his head. "It's lovely to see you again, Kurt," he said quietly, a soft smile on his face.
Now it was Kurt's turn to pout, which he did spectacularly, including a full lip wobble and big doe eyes. "I expected a warmer greeting," he said dolefully. With that, he launched himself at Ianto, wrapping his arms around the man's neck and relaxing bonelessly against his tall frame.
"You can hug me back," he whispered. Loudly.
Ianto rolled his eyes and gingerly hugged the boy.
Kurt wriggled with happiness and snuggled more deeply against him.
Ianto was vastly bemused by how Kurt was playing this, especially considering Jack's negative reaction to all of it. He well knew of Kurt's past crush on him, and whether or not it was still in effect, he was content to go along. It galled Jack that Kurt didn't respond to his flirting at all, except to make fun of him for it.
"How are you?" he asked politely.
"You don't have cataracts," Kurt said, smirking, "so you tell me. Haven't you noticed that I've...filled out?" He punctuated the statement with a full body assault, pressing himself against Ianto from head to toe.
Jack leaned against the vacated desk, crossing his arms over his chest. "Oh, it's been noticed," he drawled.
Kurt turned in Ianto's arms and stuck his tongue out at Jack.
"I've often dreamed of that tongue," Jack said.
"Hope springs eternal," Kurt chirped.
"Kurt," Ianto said, "not that we're not glad to see you, because we are..."
"Very glad," Jack emphasized.
"...but why are you here?" Ianto finished, snarling at Jack.
Kurt looked up at him with wounded eyes. "I can't just drop in to see my favorite Welshman?"
Ianto beamed at him, not buying it for a second, but flattered nonetheless.
"I think the better question," Gwen began, bristling and puffing up, "is how he got here."
Kurt giggled and waved his fingers at her. "Magic!"
Her mouth fell open and she stared. What?
"Ianto's is a reasonable question," Jack said. "We're always happy to see you, Kurt, even though for some unfathomable reason you prefer him to me, but why are you here?"
Kurt gave Ianto a saucy wink, squeezed his butt, laughed at the resulting yelp of indignation, and then danced away.
"I was in the neighborhood," Kurt said lazily, walking around the Hub and looking with interest at some of the technology on display. He turned on his heel and stared at Jack somberly. "I was very sorry to hear about Tosh and Owen, Jack. You should have called."
Jack flinched. "That was a difficult time. I didn't want to bother you. You didn't even know them."
"But I know you and Ianto. You're my friends and they were yours. I would have come."
Jack blushed lightly at the affirmation of friendship. He didn't have many friends, real ones, and he was never quite sure if Kurt truly regarded him as such.
"You must be Gwen Cooper," Kurt said, holding out a hand. "My name is Kurt Hummel. It's nice to meet you." He peered more closely at her. "I've heard all about you, of course, so now would be an excellent time for you to defend yourself."
She shook Kurt's hand reluctantly, giving him major side eye.
He rolled his eyes and released her. "If you can't think of something nice, don't think at all."
"That's never been her strong suit anyway," Ianto muttered under his breath.
Kurt snickered as she glared. "I'm a witch, honey. I teleported here from Ohio, via a brief layover in London. I'm also telepathic, so you can save the perfunctory pleasantries you're about to deliver. FYI, I have zero interest in Jack, so what little remains of his virtue is uncompromised, at least by me." He arched a brow. "You do know he and Ianto are together, yes? Oh, and that you're married?"
Gwen flushed horribly.
"Facts she forgets all too frequently," Ianto hissed.
"Telepathic," she slowly repeated, enunciating clearly each syllable.
"I see Hooked on Phonics worked for you," Kurt dryly remarked.
Ianto burst out laughing and Kurt smiled winningly at him.
"What do you mean you're a witch?" Gwen asked, only willing to dismiss his slights because she was far more interested in his claims.
Kurt blinked. "Did you have trouble following that?"
"She has trouble following Hollyoaks," Ianto said.
Kurt shook his head. "That's just sad." He turned to face Gwen. "I'm a witch. I use magic. I have powers, of which teleportation and telepathy are only two examples." He curled his fingers into claws and raked the air in front of her face. "Woooooo."
Ianto and Jack sniggered.
"In other news," he continued, "I'm a former Companion of the Doctor."
"The Doctor!" she exclaimed.
Kurt sighed. "The reality of his fame is tempered only by the discomfort he has for it."
Gwen opened her mouth to retort, but was cut off by Jack.
"We noticed the occupancy of our holding cells increased just prior to your arrival."
Kurt's face lost all trace of mirth as he nodded. "I apologize for the lack of warning, but the situation was dire and I knew I could trust you to handle them." He shrugged. "Besides, they're technically your responsibility, so I thought it best to leave them in your capable hands."
"Who are they?" Ianto frowned. "Are they human?"
Kurt snorted. "Allegedly. The woman is the ringleader. Her name is Mrs. Pratt. The two goons are Dmitri and Klaus." He eyed Jack. "Rogue Torchwood One agents."
Jack's face settled into a grim visage. "I need details, Kurt."
Kurt nodded. "Of course. I was called to London to assist in a retrieval, and stumbled upon those three idiots."
"What did they do?" Ianto asked.
Kurt kept his eyes on Jack. "They kidnapped Sarah Jane and her son to get to the Doctor."
Jack's eyes hardened as his face drained of color. "Are she and Luke all right?"
"They are now." He paused. "How aware are you of what Sarah Jane does?"
Jack averted his eyes. "I keep tabs on her."
Kurt scoffed. "I'm sure you do," he said, believing that Jack didn't know half as much as thought he did. "When Luke and Sarah Jane were taken, Maria Jackson discovered I once traveled with the Doctor and sought me out."
Ianto frowned. "What about Martha?"
Kurt shrugged. "They didn't trust UNIT. I did advise them, however, that Martha was unimpeachable, and should something like this happen again, they were to contact her and me."
Ianto nodded, having developed a soft spot for Martha the previous year.
"Why not turn them over to UNIT?" Gwen asked.
Kurt nodded. "A logical question. The short answer is that I gave them that option, but they resisted. The real answer is that they mortally offended me, and I felt better giving them to Jack because I honestly don't know what I would have done to them otherwise."
Ianto stared. "The Doctor can take care of himself, Kurt," he said gently.
"It's not about the Doctor," Kurt replied. "It's about the fact that our good friend Dmitri had every intention of killing Sarah Jane and then raping and killing Luke, a fifteen year old boy."
Ianto's eyes hooded.
Gwen calmly withdrew her gun and released the safety.
Kurt watched her with approval. He could almost like her, had she not been such a monumental bitch to his fair Ianto.
"But they are all right," Jack reiterated, needing to be sure.
"They're just fine," Kurt said. He paused. "Sarah Jane and I had a long talk. I found myself quite in awe of her," he said softly. He looked at Jack and cocked his head. "It was very cathartic. If you ever need to discuss...things, I'm always willing to listen."
Jack regarded him for a long moment, surprised and grateful for the offer, though most likely he would never take Kurt up on it. His time with the Doctor - well, those several times - was something he had never, and would never, discuss. It was private, and it was painful.
"I appreciate that," he said. A devilish gleam suddenly dawned in his eye. "Perhaps I should have such a discussion with Sarah Jane. After all, she's much closer than you."
Kurt nodded. "By all means. I would just punch you for your advances. She might actually kill you, and that would leave me to comfort the grieving and adorable Mr. Jones."
Ianto bit his lip to keep from laughing and shook his head.
Jack heaved a dramatic sigh. "One of these days, I'll have you."
Kurt snorted. "Firing a gun at you, maybe." He waved a dismissive hand. "I'm seeing people, Jack. There's no room for you." He winked at Ianto. "Though I wouldn't be averse to adding a certain Welshman to my harem."
Ianto arched a brow. "A harem, is it?"
Kurt's eyes gleamed. "It means forbidden." He flashed the man a sultry look. "Would you enjoy doing forbidden things to me, Ianto? I assure you, both Mike and Sam do."
"The boyfriends, I assume," Ianto said. "Pictures?"
Kurt grinned, pulled out his cell phone, and began scrolling through his photographs. Almost at once, Jack and Ianto were all but on top of him. Gwen elbowed her way in because, even though she found this china doll to be outrageous and obnoxious, he was also just as fascinating.
"That's Sam," Kurt cooed, gazing down at the picture.
"He's incredibly handsome," Gwen said. "And those lips!"
Kurt flashed a leering, megawatt smile at her, which she returned.
"I wouldn't kick him out of bed," Jack said.
Kurt glared. "Don't make me send you to Easter Island." He raised a brow. "Again. You know how you are about the Moai."
Jack shuddered. "Don't joke about that."
"I could write a spell to give you incurable erectile dysfunction."
Ianto anxiously cleared his throat.
"Oh, very well," Kurt sighed, rolling his eyes. "And this is Mike!"
"Ooh!" Jack squealed. "An Asian!"
Ianto and Gwen blinked and then stared at him.
"How droll," Kurt said. "Yes, Mike is Chinese. He drives very well, doesn't own a camera, and in the horror movie that is my life, has not been the first to die."
Jack had the grace to look sheepish.
Kurt turned off his phone and dropped it into his bag. "Well, that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for playing our game."
"You're dating both of them?" Jack asked. "At the same time?"
Kurt smirked. "Is that your unsubtle way of asking if I'm involved in a true ménage à trois? Because the answer is yes."
Jack was impressed, and not a little envious. "If you ever need some advice..."
"I'll ask anyone but you," Kurt interrupted. He clapped his hands together. "Okay! My dad and stepmother will be looking for me soon, and I need to check in with my friends."
He turned to Gwen. "It was nice to meet you, Ms. Cooper." He stared into her eyes. Just to be clear, you need to let Jack go, because there's no way in hell it will ever happen.
She startled, blinked, made the appropriate departing comments, and scuttled away.
"Do I even want to know?" Jack whispered.
"Probably," Kurt replied, "which is why I won't tell you."
"How about a hug goodbye?"
Kurt gave him another side eye. "I'll settle for a handshake."
Again, Jack pouted, but acquiesced, all but molesting Kurt's hand and wrist with his fingers, Kurt laughing the entire time.
"I would like a hug from you," Kurt cooed, batting his eyelashes at Ianto.
Ianto smiled and hugged him tightly. "I'm glad you were able to help Sarah Jane and her son. Do stay in touch, won't you, Kurt? It would be nice to hear from you when there isn't imminent doom."
Kurt snorted. "And when would that be?"
Kurt smiled and, before Ianto knew what was happening, pressed a quick, hard kiss to the man's lips. "It's not cheating if you inform them beforehand," he drawled, "and they both know how much I've always wanted to kiss you."
Jack released a squawk of vexation, though no one, including Jack, knew as to whom it was directed.
Ianto blinked owlishly.
"More than just a teaboy," Kurt whispered to him, before spinning on his heel, waving at all of them, and disappearing.
No one said anything for a long moment.
"I like him," Gwen announced, more to herself than the others.
"He's an evil little moppet," Jack said. He smiled. "But he's a really good boy."
Ianto ran a finger over his lips and remained silent.
"You're back!" Brittany shrieked, tackling Kurt when he popped into his bedroom. "I was worried."
"Absolutely nothing to worry about, Sweetness," Kurt said, smiling and hugging her back just as fiercely. "There was no major trouble, and I was never really in danger. I was able to help people, and the best part is that I think I made some new friends."
She nodded. "Friends are important."
Kurt narrowed his eyes. "What did you see?"
"Oh, nothing," she said nonchalantly, playing with his hair. "I'm looking forward to meeting Maria, though."
He blinked. "Maria Jackson? I think you'd like her."
"I will," Brittany said. "She and her daddy are moving to DC soon." She widened her eyes. "We can visit, right? I've always wanted to see the U.S. Mint." She clapped her hands. "Do you think they make other flavors, too?"