Author's Note: This is a new series of one-shots in which Kurt reunites with various members of his large and scattered extended family via crossovers. Some of these one-shots will be interrelated and some won't be. Kurt's age, occupation, and residence might change, depending on the story. For the most part, he won't be paired with anyone; if he is, they won't have an impact on the story. These one-shots, while based on my story Fragments, are not part of that verse, though they fall under its umbrella. If you haven't read the story (OMG, WHY HAVEN'T YOU?!), all you need to know is that Kurt is psychic; he can see and speak with the dead.
Planned crossovers include The Closer/Major Crimes, The Mentalist, Bones, and others.
Provenza stared at the murder board with contempt plain on his face, eyes darkening as they fell on the pictures of the four victims, all of whom were young girls. White, blond, and blue-eyed, between the ages of six and nine, they were textbook examples of the ideal American child.
He wiped tired eyes with a hand. Christ, he hated when it was kids.
He grunted, shook his head, and gulped another slug of his tepid coffee, eyes catching those of Flynn, who was likewise staring at the board, a toothpick rolling back and forth across his lips.
They grimaced at each other, at the futility of their efforts in the case so far, at their ineffectiveness to apprehend the perpetrator, and the fact that they had put in so much overtime in the past three weeks they were too tired to spend the extra cash. The only one even more exhausted than they was Captain Raydor, which had gone a long way in them forming some measure of respect for the woman, though they still didn't like her.
Provenza smirked at Amy Sykes, the newest detective in their Major Crimes squad. Her face was drawn and wan, and dark circles appeared permanently etched under her normally bright and overeager eyes. She was mumbling under her breath as she frantically read and reread every file they had pertaining to the case.
Now Sykes he did like. She had the makings of a fine detective, though he would never tell her so. She had a long way to go before she would approach even the level of Daniels, who had departed several years ago for Homeland Security, and she was so far out of Raydor's league that it was ridiculous. Still, she had potential, and he was determined to help her maximize it - albeit quietly and with considerable hazing.
Granted, she'd never match the Chief's brilliance, but outside of Sherlock fucking Holmes, few ever could.
He blinked. Damn. He hoped he'd remembered to TiVo the new episode of Elementary. Lucy Liu was his kind of woman.
He missed the Chief. He couldn't help but think that, had she still been with them, this case would have been wrapped up a while ago. He supposed he held Raydor partially responsible for driving the Chief away, even though he knew that was unreasonable and even irrational. In the end, Raydor had proved she was one of the few outside the squad who had been squarely in the Chief's corner.
"Fucking Pope," he mumbled.
Flynn snorted as Tao looked up from his computer and grinned.
Sanchez then appeared with fresh coffee, Buzz trailing behind with a box of donuts.
Rusty Beck looked up from his homework at the desk he had commandeered and smiled at Buzz. They traded barbs like it was their new religion, but Rusty knew Buzz liked him.
Raydor stormed out of her office, wincing at the sound of her heels on the floor, and looked tersely around the room.
"Anything?" she demanded, a subtle note of desperation tingeing her voice. She sighed at the shakes of heads.
And, then, a song from heaven, one delivered in an annoying Georgia drawl, rang out.
"Lieutenant!" Brenda gushed, pulling a blushing and slightly bewildered Provenza into a hug.
"Chief," he rumbled. "You look good. Rested."
"And you look like crap!" she said cheerfully.
He stared at her and then burst into slightly hysterical laughter.
Brenda beamed and shoved him aside, exchanging hugs with Tao and Flynn, and kisses on the cheek with Buzz and Sanchez. Provenza noticed Sanchez waggling his brows at him, so he flipped the man off.
"Rusty Beck!" Brenda shrieked, opening her arms wide and laughing when the boy dove into them. "Why, look at you! You clean up real nice."
Rusty tittered and smoothed down the shirt of his school uniform.
"St. Joseph?" she prompted. "Good for you, Rusty. You're way too smart to be hanging out on some street corner." She then completed his humiliation by pinching his cheek.
Rusty, however, didn't care, smiling widely at her. Brenda Johnson was a complicated woman, but he liked her. He'd given her nothing but shit, and she'd given it right back to him with a smirk on her face. She'd seen through his crap, hadn't put up with it, and told him where to shove it. He respected her.
"It's all thanks to Sharon," he mumbled, blushing lightly.
"That doesn't surprise me in the slightest," Brenda said, patting his shoulder.
"Hello, Chief," Raydor said warmly.
Brenda spun on her ridiculously high heel and grinned. "Hey, Sharon," she said.
They didn't hug, that wasn't them, but they were obviously happy to see one another.
Brenda wrapped an arm around Rusty's shoulders and drew him close. "You do good work, Captain Raydor."
A small, pleased smile appeared on Sharon's face, and it was apparent that Brenda's approval, though unneeded, was nevertheless welcomed.
"What brings you back to your old stomping grounds?" she asked.
Brenda waved a dismissive hand. "Oh, just some paperwork on an old case that needed my signature." She looked around. "So, how you all doing?"
"Honestly?" Sharon asked, arching a brow. "We've been better."
A frown crossed Brenda's face and, just as she was about to start an interrogation, her eyes fell on the person who had accompanied her.
"Oh! I'd like you all to meet my nephew, Kurt," she said, smile back in full force. "Kurt! Come over here!"
A moderately tall though slender boy, obviously shy, crept toward her side, his eyes trained on the floor and his own footsteps the entire time. He was aware of the scrutiny aimed at him, but appeared unruffled by it, more consumed by his own thoughts.
He was very attractive, but not in the conventional sense, much like Brenda herself. His hair was dark and shiny, with every strand in place. His skin was enviably flawless and well-maintained.
The squad immediately began cataloging the physical similarities between the Chief and her nephew: both were thin; strong chins and a defined jaw line; high, prominent cheekbones; full lips.
"Everyone," she continued, "this is Kurt Hummel. Now, Kurt is actually my cousin, but we refer to each other as nephew and aunt for the sake of ease."
Kurt gave her the side-eye. "I call you my aunt because you're old," he said, voice soft and high and musical.
Rusty, Flynn, and Sanchez burst out laughing. Provenza's only concession to his amusement was the twitching of his lips. Sykes stared at all of them with wide eyes.
Sharon's eyes danced with merriment. "Now I see the family resemblance."
Brenda turned to glare at Kurt and they began arguing. Loudly, and in German.
This only made the others laugh that much harder. To see Brenda Leigh Johnson meeting her match, in a member of her own family no less, was delicious to behold.
As Kurt and Brenda stood opposite each other, feet firmly planted and hands on their hips, they began switching languages at a dizzying pace. The fact that they were using tongues which the other didn't know was of no interest to them. Kurt slipped into French, while Brenda parried with Russian. He segued into Italian, and she countered with Czech.
Just as their frustration with each other was reaching epic proportions, a smirk spread across Kurt's face. He looked to Sanchez and began complaining about his aunt, or cousin, in Spanish. Sanchez's laughter went from loud guffaws to breathless shrieks as he collapsed in his chair and held his head in his hands, giggling every time Kurt's mouth unleashed another clever and cutting rejoinder.
Brenda stomped her foot in a bid of childish pique. "Ooh! Kurty, that is not fair!" she whined. "You know I don't speak Spanish!"
"That would be the point," he explained. "Further, after living in Los Angeles for seven years, you have no good excuse as to why you haven't learned the language."
Brenda worried at her lip, obviously perturbed by his excellent argument.
"Especially considering the fact that Uncle Fritz does know Spanish," he continued. "You should have had him instruct you." When she began pouting, he rolled his eyes. "I'll teach you some Portuguese phrases later so that we can talk about Uncle Fritz behind his back while right in front of him."
Her eyes lighted and she barely managed to refrain from clapping with joy. "What would I ever do without you?" she cooed.
"You would be much worse dressed than you are now," he promptly replied.
"Perhaps Captain Raydor could give you some fashion advice after I leave," he slyly suggested.
Brenda curled her lip as Sharon pressed her own tightly together.
Sharon extended a hand. "It's a pleasure to meet to you, Kurt. Chief Johnson has told us nothing about you."
He quirked a brow and took his hand in her own. "That would be because I have in my possession many embarrassing pictures."
"As do I," Brenda said darkly.
Kurt merely shrugged. "I was, and still am, adorable, and you know it."
"Damn!" Brenda seethed.
Sharon suppressed a snicker. Rusty, Flynn, and Sanchez didn't bother.
"My name..." Sharon began.
"Captain Sharon Raydor," Kurt politely interrupted, nodding and releasing her hand. He then began working his way around the room. "Your ward, Rusty Beck, a material witness in the upcoming trial of a serial rapist and murderer."
He paused and considered Rusty more carefully, causing the other boy to blush.
Kurt's attention to Rusty made Buzz wary, while Provenza and Flynn raised their eyebrows at each other. Sanchez smirked.
"Lieutenant Detectives Louis Provenza and Andrew Flynn, and Detective Julio Sanchez," he continued, "and, yes, I'm gay."
Provenza's eyes widened, Flynn's mouth fell open, and Sanchez blinked. Kurt hadn't even been looking at them, so how did he know?
Now it was Brenda's turn to smirk.
"Lieutenant Detective Michael Tao," Kurt added, inclining his head at the man's nod, "and Surveillance Coordinator Buzz Watson." He then stared at Sykes, who realized the boy would have no reason to know who she was, given that she had joined the squad after Chief Johnson's departure.
"Amy Sykes," Kurt finished.
"That family resemblance is stronger than ever," Sharon quietly noted.
Brenda turned toward her. "Kurt is staying with me and Fritz while he looks at colleges on the West Coast," she explained.
As Sharon launched into Rusty's future prospects, much to the boy's mortification, they began exchanging lamentations over living with teenagers. The others began quietly talking amongst themselves.
"College?" Rusty asked Kurt. "Aren't you like, fifteen?"
"Seventeen," Kurt said. "I've narrowed down my choices, but I want to look at the campuses before making my final decision."
"Where are you looking?" Tao asked.
"Stanford and USC," Brenda said proudly.
"Not Harvard?" Provenza muttered.
"I got into Harvard," Kurt said absently, walking past him.
Provenza rolled his eyes.
Rusty stared at Kurt with fascination, stoking Buzz's worry. As much as he bitched and moaned about having to look after the kid while in the office, he felt protective of Rusty, as all of them now did.
"I don't even know the degree," Brenda babbled to Sharon. "We're technically third cousins, or first cousins twice removed, or however such nonsense works." She shrugged. "But he's my family, and I love him." She leaned in. "He's one of the few people with whom I get along."
Sharon smirked. "I can't imagine why that is."
Brenda gave her a nasty look, which Sharon ignored with good humor.
The others began drifting over toward them, asking Brenda how she was, whether she liked her new job, and how Gabriel was getting along. He was skittish about keeping in touch, despite assurances from Provenza and Sanchez that all was forgiven. They didn't ask about Fritz, only because they saw him on a regular basis.
As Brenda extolled over her new position, the challenges she faced, and how her new staff was completely incompetent, they were warmed. They missed her a great deal, and while Raydor was admittedly capable, she was wasn't Brenda.
After several moments, Rusty nudged Buzz and then cocked his head toward Kurt, who was studying the murder board with keen interest.
"Uh, Chief," Buzz softly interrupted, "should he be looking at that?"
Brenda looked at him in confusion before turning to see Kurt, who was obviously otherwise engaged. She merely shrugged.
"Chief..." Sharon said quietly.
Brenda waved her off. "Kurt is a Special Consultant with the Office of the District Attorney for Montgomery County in Ohio. He's partnered with a detective in Dayton Homicide. He fully understands the nature of confidentiality and the strict privacy measures which must be maintained in ongoing investigations. You can trust him completely."
"Excuse me?" asked a floored Sharon.
"Consultant?" repeated a stunned Tao.
"Huh?" demanded Sanchez.
"That is so cool," whispered an awed Rusty. He looked at Sharon. "Can I get a job like that?"
Her mouth fell open.
"Is anyone really that surprised?" Provenza drawled.
Sykes, who had remained at her desk, looked up at Kurt. "You're a consultant?" she asked dubiously.
He passed her his badge in reply, not taking his eyes from the board.
"This is real!" she exclaimed, running her hand over it, before flipping it over and examining the identification card.
Brenda really wished she had been better prepared for this. She should have planned accordingly, of course, but had other things on her mind. She'd been so distracted of late that she hadn't thought twice about dragging Kurt along with her to the police plaza that day. Still, she hadn't revealed anything that wasn't public knowledge, and she wouldn't have put it past the members of her old team, Provenza and Flynn especially, to have looked Kurt up once they had departed.
"Now, now. Let's not make a big deal out of this," she admonished.
Flynn's eyes bulged. "Are you joking? We're going to make a huge deal out of this!"
"How on earth did he get such a position?" Sharon wondered.
"Kurt is...very skilled," Brenda said diplomatically.
The others, however, long used to her diversionary tactics and knowing when she didn't wish to discuss something, weren't about to let it go. Just as the arguing voices were about to reach a fevered crescendo, Kurt interrupted.
"Aunt Brenda's an interrogator," he said softly, so much so that they had to strain to hear him. "I'm an observer."
"Observer?" several said, seizing upon the proffered information.
"I observe," Kurt said, his eyes never straying from the board before him as he soaked in the details. "Crime scenes, interrogations, depositions, trials." He gave a mild shrug. "I observe people. What they say and, more importantly, how they say it. Their tone of voice, their choice of words, the pauses in their speech. Do they stutter? If so, over which words?"
They stared at his back.
"Are their silences peaceful and contemplative, or predatory and anticipatory? Do they sweat? Does their Adam's apple bob? Does the vein in their forehead pulse? Are their hands clammy?"
The others exchanged startled looks, blinking.
"Do they play with their hair? Do they obsessively look at their watch? Do their fingers twitch in search of a cigarette? Are their eyes bleary and unfocused? Where do they look, and why? Do they feel guilt? If so, for what?"
"You're a human lie detector," Flynn marveled.
Kurt looked over his shoulder and nodded. "Essentially, yes." He raised a brow. "Incidentally, Lieutenant Flynn, your suit is lovely. Tasteful and elegant, well-tailored, but functional and appropriate."
"You're vain," Kurt continued, "and I suppose you should be. You're a very handsome man who is well aware of his own attractiveness. You're also intelligent, far more so than most people realize. You hide behind your machismo and good old boy attitude, but your sense of fairness is absolute. You silently rage over the things you've seen. You're disgusted by the violence people willingly commit against each other. You respect the law, but also recognize that it can be an impediment to justice."
"What the hell?" barked a flustered Flynn, backing up a step.
"You're a good man, Lieutenant Flynn," Kurt said. "Everyone here knows it, even if you don't."
"What are you?" Flynn demanded.
"Observant," Kurt replied. He then turned and studied Provenza, who narrowed his eyes. "You have a spot of mustard on your shirt cuff. The color suggests Grey Poupon." He nodded to himself. "You had a roast beef sandwich with grilled onions for lunch."
"On a Kaiser roll."
Provenza's mouth fell open.
"I can smell the onions," Kurt said. "I can smell the beef in your dried sweat. The texture of the crumbs still on your tie tells me the type of roll and that it was toasted. By the way, that tie is ridiculous."
"You miss Aunt Brenda the most," he added. "You resent the Captain for taking over the squad, but not because you wanted the position for yourself. You feel Captain Raydor helped drive away my aunt." He shrugged. "That may be partially true, I don't know. Aunt Brenda doesn't discuss her departure with anyone. Regardless, you respect Captain Raydor, and you know she tried to do right by Aunt Brenda. That she was, in fact, one of the few who did."
Provenza merely raised a brow, not commenting on the boy's rather astute observations.
"It's Assistant Chief Taylor and Chief Pope you hold responsible," Kurt said. He smirked. "It may please you to know that I've made their acquaintance, and I used my...parlor tricks...to unseat them thoroughly, revealing far more interesting and dangerous information about them than I have here about all of you."
"It wasn't well received," Kurt added. "Assistant Chief Taylor tried to intimidate me, but I stared him down. Chief Pope actually ran away from me and hid in his office."
Provenza blinked, then threw back his head and cackled.
"I like you," he wheezed, wiping away tears of mirth.
"It probably won't last," Kurt deadpanned.
Provenza only laughed harder.
Kurt noticed that Sanchez, Sykes, Buzz, and Rusty were now pointedly not looking at him. He bit his lip and sighed. "I'm sorry, Aunt Brenda," he said mournfully. "I did it again."
Brenda hurried over to his side. "Oh, now, honey, you didn't do anything wrong. I should've kept my fat mouth shut."
Kurt shook his head sadly.
"You hush, baby," Brenda said. "If anyone knows how hard it is to turn off, it's these people. You just caught them by surprise, that's all. It's not every day you come across someone as young as you who is so capable. No one's judging you."
"I am," Flynn said bluntly. "The kid's good. Damn good."
"How long have you been doing this, Kurt?" Sharon asked, voice light.
"I began working at the District Attorney's office when I was fifteen," Kurt said. He paused. "I have tremendous respect for what you do, for the horrors you willingly face to serve and protect. Members of law enforcement, I've found, often do not get the credit for being the heroes that you are."
Brenda blushed, swatted his shoulder, and mumbled incoherently.
"Do you plan to make it your career?" Sharon asked, resting a hip against Flynn's desk, now intensely curious about this young man. "Your skills are very impressive."
Kurt shook his head. "Only tangentially. I plan to study criminology in college, but my goal is medicine; specifically, forensic pathology. I have an aunt who is a forensic pathologist at the Jeffersonian, and Aunt Brenda has arranged for me to speak with Dr. Morales and shadow him for a few hours."
Sharon blinked. "The Jeffersonian? Is your aunt Camille Saroyan?" she asked.
Kurt nodded. "Aunt Cam is my late mother's sister. I usually visit her for a few weeks every summer, and will be spending time with her starting in June."
She looked at Brenda. "I had no idea you were related to Dr. Saroyan."
"Oh, I'm not," Brenda said. "Kurt's father, Burt, is my cousin, while Cam is the sister of Kurt's mama. We're not related, but we've met before, when I was living in DC. She does good work."
"So law enforcement runs on both sides of your family," Sanchez said to Kurt, who nodded.
"Yes," he said, shooting a sly look at Sharon, "and to answer your unasked question, Cam is my aunt, even though I'm white and she's black." He gave a mild shrug. "Family stuff."
Sharon quirked her lips and inclined her head. "Family is what you make of it."
"Exactly," Kurt said, beaming, and pressing a quick kiss to Brenda's cheek, causing her to giggle.
"Do you have any thoughts on our current case?" Sharon asked carefully, gesturing toward the murder board.
"Captain..." Brenda warned.
"Off the record?" Kurt asked.
Sharon nodded. "Of course."
"There are four victims so far?" Kurt asked, turning to his side and glancing at the board.
"Yes," Sykes said, "but there's no discernible pattern to the kidnappings. These girls, despite looking alike, have nothing in common as far as we can tell. Their families are unrelated; they don't even know each other. The kids didn't go to the same school, nor did they participate in the same activities. No common friends or acquaintances."
"Their parents don't work in the same industries," Tao added. "The girls didn't share a pediatrician, a teacher, a ballet class, or a babysitter. The families don't use the same plumber, mechanic, or attorney. They don't go to the same library, the same post office, or the same bank. There are absolutely no commonalities that we can determine."
Kurt hummed noncommittally and continued staring at the board.
"What do you see?" Brenda quietly prompted, obviously disturbed by the case.
Kurt tilted his head. "Were the bodies discovered in the same location?"
"No," Provenza groused, "and there's no forensic evidence that's of any use."
"Were the bodies covered?" Kurt asked. "Specifically, the faces?"
Sharon flinched and stepped forward. "Yes."
"I presume there was no evidence of sexual assault."
"Yeah," Flynn said, "and that's what we don't get. Why take the girls if that's not what he wanted? Why kill them if he didn't do anything to them? Why not just release them?"
Kurt nodded to himself. "Has anyone here seen The Silence of the Lambs?"
"I have!" Rusty piped up.
"When Clarice Starling was chasing Buffalo Bill, what did Hannibal Lecter tell her about the killer's motive?"
Rusty frowned and searched his memory. "He covets," he finally said, triumph ringing in his voice.
"And what do we covet?" Kurt asked.
Rusty blinked. "We covet...what we see every day."
Kurt nodded. "The killer knew them," he said flatly, "and they knew him, at least well enough to extend to him a conditional level of trust. The lack of sexual assault doesn't indicate that the interest is not there, only that he doesn't have the courage to commit the act.
"He wants to, but he can't bring himself to do it. He knows he's a pedophile, but he doesn't want to be. It frustrates him, and that frustration culminates with the murders. He directs the frustration at the children, killing them because he irrationally blames them for his failure. He's then shamed by his actions. He covers their faces so that they can't see him, so that they can't judge him."
He looked at Provenza. "Is the violence escalating with each murder?"
"Yeah," the man said, suspicion in his tone.
"He's becoming more enraged by his own inability, working his way up to rape. His lag time will shorten with each kill, as he becomes more and more inured to murder. He will start to crave it, and he will become more sloppy. It's imperative you catch him now."
"And how do we do that?" Flynn demanded.
"He's already kidnapped the next victim," Kurt said decidedly.
All of the oxygen was sucked from the room.
"How do you know?" Sharon asked.
"Because it's logical," Kurt said. "He has a feel for it now. He's discovering what works and what doesn't, what excites him and adds to the thrill. Every day that passes, his conscience recedes more and more from his awareness. He's becoming so consumed by his paraphilia, that he can think of nothing else but sating it."
He frowned. "Pedophiles usually have a type, and that type is obvious here. They tend to stick to their own ethnic groups." He paused. "You're looking for a white male, between twenty-five and forty years of age. He's of average or below-average intelligence, and most likely works a menial job. He probably lives with his parents or a family member. He likely has no siblings, or one who passed away when he was a child. I'm betting on a sister, one who looks just like these girls."
Kurt nodded. "He was probably involved in her death. I'm not suggesting that he killed her, though he probably wanted to. It was most likely an accidental death to which he unwittingly contributed, perhaps a push down a flight of stairs. It's highly probable that the sister died before he could enact his fantasies, so he's taking these girls not only because they remind him of his sister, but because he wants to rewrite history. He wants to have them before they die, but he can't yet bring himself to cross that line."
"Jesus Christ," Sanchez muttered.
"As Rusty said," Kurt continued, "we covet what we see every day, and we all know that, with pedophiles, it's about access." He blinked. "Were the children, or their families, of the same faith?"
"They didn't go to the same church," Sykes said.
Kurt shook his head. "That's not what I asked. Did they share the same religion? Were the girls Catholic, for example?"
Tao began thumbing through his reports. "They were all Christian, I'm sure."
"What denomination?" Kurt asked. "Episcopalian? Presbyterian? Methodist?"
Sharon hurried over to Tao to assist him. After several long moments, she looked up and stared at Kurt. "Episcopalian."
He nodded. "White male, of average of below-average intelligence, with a menial job," he reiterated. "It's highly likely that he shares some physical characteristics with the victims, probably blond hair and blue eyes. He saw them at services, so he has a job that allows him to travel to different Episcopalian churches, perhaps as a janitor or caretaker, possibly even an assistant deacon. It's probable that he wanted to enter the church as a pastor or some other official, but was denied, most likely because of a psychological evaluation."
He looked around the room. "I would suggest you start with their churches and interview the pastors about temporary or transitory staff."
Raydor blinked, shook herself out of a stupor, and quickly gave assignments, dispatching Provenza, Flynn, Sykes, and Sanchez, all of whom hurried from the room, pausing to say their goodbyes to Brenda and looking at Kurt with a curious mixture of respect and awe. Tao left to confer with Morales. Buzz ushered Rusty back to his desk to finish his homework, though it was obvious he was far more interested in Kurt.
Sharon stepped closely to Kurt and Brenda. "If this works..."
"It will work," Brenda said quietly.
Sharon considered her.
"This goes no further than the three of us?" Brenda pressed.
Sharon nodded. "Of course."
Brenda looked at Kurt and nodded.
Kurt sighed and turned to Sharon, plainly wary. "His name is Matthew Baker. He's a caretaker at St. Alban's on Hilgard, in Westwood. He's twenty-eight, with dirty-blond hair and blue eyes. He'll start his shift in three hours. He won't be late. He prides himself on his job. The girl he's taken, Katherine Brown, will be in the basement, in a locked room. He's only just taken her, her parents don't yet know she's missing. She's six. He'll do nothing to her until after he completes his work."
Sharon's eyes bulged and she began sputtering.
"No questions, Captain Raydor," Brenda hissed, looking discreetly around the room. "None of the information you have just been given can be verified prior to discovery. There is nothing that will give you probable cause for a warrant. You have no reason to haul Baker in for questioning. As of this moment, there is nothing you can legally do to him, because you would have to explain why he's a person of interest, and you can't." Her eyes narrowed. "Do you understand what I'm saying?"
Sharon stared at her, and then at Kurt, and slowly nodded.
Kurt exhaled quietly. "Thank you."
"The things we've seen, Sharon," Brenda softly murmured, "the horrors we've witnessed, are nothing compared to what he sees, to the images he has in his head. He does this work because he has to, because he has no choice unless he wants to go insane. Don't make him regret this, or I swear I will make you regret your entire existence up to this point."
She swallowed heavily. "We will never understand. We wouldn't want to." She shook her head. "Regardless, Kurt has to be protected. You can't even imagine what would happen were word to leak out - all of the cases he's closed, all of the criminals he's put in jail, the people with whom he works - it would all fall under scrutiny it couldn't withstand." She forced a smile. "After all, we all know there's no such thing as psychics, don't we?"
"Dear god," Sharon whispered. "Chief, Kurt, you have my assurance that this will never go beyond me. I promise you that."
Brenda and Kurt nodded, murmured their thanks, and Brenda gave Sharon a quick hug.
"Kurt will be in town until the end of the week," she said in Sharon's ear. "Let us know how everything goes."
"Yes, of course," Sharon said briskly, pulling away. "Please do give my best to Special Agent Howard."
"I will," Brenda said brightly, waving to Buzz and Rusty, who waved back.
"It was very nice to meet you," Kurt said quietly to Sharon.
"And you, Kurt," she said, taking his hand in her own. "We will never be able to thank you enough. You've saved several lives today."
He grinned sardonically. "So have you."
Sharon blinked, but before she could reply, Kurt and Brenda had sailed out of the room.
From the corner of her eye, she watched as Pope emerged from the hallway the corner, only to turn around quickly when he caught sight of Kurt. She laughed.
Three days later, Major Crimes had Matthew Baker dead to rights, and this was one case on which Sharon was unwilling to compromise, much to the chagrin of Chief Pope and DDA Hobbs.
Baker had been caught red-handed and was only too happy to tell everyone within earshot of his crimes, actually wanting to be locked away, unable to harm any other children. He had revealed the location of the storage facility he had used to commit the murders, and the forensic evidence had spoken for itself.
Katherine Brown had been saved and returned to her parents, traumatized, but thankfully not sexually assaulted or dead. The squad had been pleased, absurdly grateful to Kurt Hummel, though they mourned for the children Baker had senselessly slaughtered.
Sharon had conceded to Hobbs taking the death sentence off the table, if only to avoid the publicity and misplaced sympathy such cases aroused. Baker's attorney had tried to wheedle a deal in which his client would serve concurrent life sentences, but Raydor had been unyielding, demanding and receiving consecutive terms without the possibility of parole.
It was a win, but had come at a heavy cost.
Kurt Hummel was on the minds of the entire squad, but Raydor in particular. She would never have been so stupid as to dismiss Brenda Johnson's threat - she well understood the woman could, and would, deliver on it. Sharon was confident they most likely would have apprehended Baker without Kurt's assistance, but not so quickly, and certainly not without the loss of Katherine Brown's life. For that alone, she would be eternally thankful.
Still, Brenda's words had shattered beliefs Sharon hadn't realized she'd even held. She had been in the game long enough to become familiar with alleged psychics, particularly the ones who hung about police stations like groupies, weaving illusory yarns about shadow men and dark places.
Her experience with Kurt had been drastically different. For one, from the moment he had spoken Matthew Baker's name, Sharon had believed him - utterly and with no second thought. There hadn't been even a moment of doubt, which, as she looked back upon her reaction, was rather shocking to her. Never would she have believed herself to be a gullible person, or one susceptible to supposedly psychic phenomena.
But that hadn't really been the case here, had it? There had been no crystal ball, no tarot cards or navel gazing, no phony seizures. She had been offered the confident words of a young man who had unflinchingly met her eyes, daring her to disbelieve his sincerity - and she hadn't.
Her time with Rusty had reawakened maternal feelings, which, though not shut away, had been relegated to the backburner. She couldn't help but wonder what it was that Kurt saw, how he experienced his visions or dreams or whatever they were. Did he receive vibes or impressions? Or was he subjected to scenes of unspeakable brutality and pointless violence? She was betting on the latter, and it sickened her.
It enraged her that a young man, practically still a child, was forced to bear to witness to such heinous crimes. He should be off planning for college, for his life, and she guessed that he was, but the fact of the matter was that his world revolved around violence. She, Brenda, and their colleagues had chosen that life, determined to make a difference. Kurt hadn't been given a choice; he had been forced into it by something probably no one, including Kurt himself, understood.
She didn't know what she would have done had it been Rusty. She couldn't imagine how Brenda dealt with it. When Brenda had looked at Kurt, however, Sharon had seen nothing in her eyes but love and devotion, and though she wasn't surprised Brenda was capable of such heartfelt emotion, she was surprised Brenda had allowed others to see it.
She was startled out of her thoughts by the pounding on her office door.
"Come in," she called, looking up from her desk. "May I help you, Lieutenant?"
Provenza grunted, his default mode of speech. "We're going out to dinner. Not to celebrate, but to acknowledge that it's over. You and the kid are coming."
She raised a brow. "All right," she said slowly, hiding a smile. "I'm sure Rusty will enjoy it. Thank you for including us."
"We want to invite the Chief and her nephew, too," he added, all but daring her to contradict him.
She nodded. "A good idea. I know Kurt is leaving in a few days, and we really should thank him."
Provenza nodded and turned to leave, only to stop in his tracks. He looked over his shoulder at her. "Is he what I think he is?"
"I don't know what you think," she said honestly, "but I do know that it would dangerous, to our case and to all the others on which Kurt has worked, to offer pointless speculation." She spread her hands on her desk. "And then there's Chief Johnson to consider."
He nodded and she saw the fear in his eyes, knowing she could never hope to instill the same within him. She had no wish to do so, of course, that simply wasn't her, but as she watched him shuffle back out to the bullpen, her respect for Brenda Johnson only grew.
Sharon Raydor knew she was a good cop. She was smart, practical yet intuitive, and knew the rules better than anyone. She was more than competent at her job. That aside, she knew Brenda Johnson was in an entirely different league.
Until this week, she would have argued that there was no one better. Now she knew differently, and she wasn't at all surprised that the only person who could surpass Brenda was related to the woman.
They had agreed to meet at a relatively inexpensive - well, for Los Angeles - restaurant that was nevertheless warm and inviting. Sharon noted with dismay the advertisement for karaoke. Knowing Lieutenant Provenza's love for the activity, she gathered this evening wouldn't end well and was thankful for the Tylenol she had in her purse.
She and Rusty were the last to arrive - Buzz couldn't join them until later - and were directed to their party. Sharon was very interested in watching how Rusty would interact with Kurt, considering the boy hadn't shut up about the other for the past few days.
Not for the first time, she wondered about Rusty's sexuality. She was well aware he had hustled, but she didn't know whether or not he was actually gay, or if he had turned tricks for men simply because that was where the money was to be found. She would never ask him, wouldn't press for him to explain himself, but she wondered.
After they had closed the case, she had called Brenda to advise her of what had happened, and she had dropped some subtle questions about Kurt. Brenda had been as reluctant to discuss her nephew as Sharon was to discuss her ward, but had revealed that Kurt was involved with another boy and had been for the past two years. Apparently, the boyfriend would be following Kurt, once he decided on a college. She'd explained this to Rusty, who could've cared less, which left her confused as to whether Rusty had a crush on Kurt or was simply in awe of him.
They wandered in to the large room and followed the sound of Provenza's gravelly voice.
"Taylor and Pope declined to attend," he drawled, smirking and looking at Kurt. "Can't imagine why."
Kurt snickered and leaned over to whisper something in Provenza ear, causing the man to burst out laughing. Despite the desperate prompting of the others, he wouldn't say what Kurt had told him, only shaking his head as tears of laughter rolled down his heavily flushed face.
"Sorry we're late," Sharon said wryly, gracefully dropping into a seat next to Fritz Howard and pulling Rusty with her. "Hello, Agent Howard."
Fritz smiled. "We're off the clock, Sharon. It's Fritz."
She smiled and nodded her head. "Hello, Brenda, Kurt."
"Sharon," Brenda said warmly.
"Hello, Captain Raydor," Kurt said, still smirking at Provenza, whose laughter continued unabated.
They placed their orders with a harried waitress and fell into easy chatter. Rusty monopolized most of Kurt's attention, mainly asking about schoolwork and what life was like in Ohio. Kurt had replied that it was utterly boring and he was looking forward to getting out.
"Is this your first time in Los Angeles, Kurt?" Sharon asked.
He shook his head. "I was here two years ago for a competition."
"Oh? What kind?"
"Cheerleading," he replied. "I'm my squad's captain..."
"Family resemblance," Flynn interrupted.
"I was never a cheerleader!" Brenda heatedly exclaimed.
Kurt smiled. "Oh, yes, you were, and I have the pictures to prove it.''
"We won Nationals that year, and last year," he continued, "and will be defending our title in a few months in Miami."
Tao was impressed. "Your team is ranked first in the country?" At the others' surprised looks, he shrugged. "Kevin has friends on the football team, and I've been to a few games. Most people don't appreciate how difficult cheerleading is, or the level of athleticism it demands. It combines gymnastics, tumbling, and synchronized dancing. It's tough."
Kurt nodded, pleased. "It is, yes, and especially for our team."
"Why?" Rusty asked, looking Kurt up and down and trying to determine just how limber he was.
"We sing while we perform."
"Sing?" Provenza repeated, a gleam in his eye. "You sing?"
Kurt nodded again. "I'm also a member of my school's glee club. We won our Sectionals meet this year and will be vying for the national title in New York, shortly after I finish with the Cheerios."
"You do all that plus hold down a job?" Flynn asked.
"I'm very lucky in that I'm able to set my own hours, and Justine, my partner, and my boss, Liza, are kind enough to make sure that I'm allowed that time. It's a volunteer position, anyway. I'm not paid. If I need money, I work in Dad's shop."
"What kind of shop?" Julio asked.
"I'm a mechanic," Kurt said with pride. "Fully certified."
Flynn held up a hand. "Wait a minute. You're in law enforcement, you sing, you're a mechanic, and you're a gymnast?" He shook his head. "Why the hell wasn't I born gay?" He blinked. "Wait."
As the others laughed, Sharon registered Kurt's words and choked on her wine. "Liza?" she repeated. "Montgomery County, Ohio? Do you mean you work for Liza Capwell?"
Kurt smirked. "I take it you've heard of her?"
Sharon rolled her eyes. "We've had...some exchanges."
He nodded. "That's a good word for it. I'll have to remember that the next time I'm trying to describe my interactions with her."
"So what's the deal with this Capwell chick?" Provenza asked.
Sharon snorted. "If you thought I was bad, you should meet her. She gives new meaning to the words officious bitch." She looked at Kurt and smiled. "No offense."
He held up his hands. "None taken." He smiled. "I may have pulled the same routine with her a few times that I did with Pope and Taylor."
"Good," Sharon purred, baring her teeth.
"I think Liza's a lovely woman," Brenda huffed.
"You would," said both Sharon and Kurt, who looked at each other and then began laughing.
"So when are you leaving, Kurt?" Tao asked.
"Tomorrow afternoon," the boy replied.
"Are you going back to Ohio?" Rusty asked.
Kurt opened his mouth, then closed it and considered his response.
Brenda narrowed her eyes. "Kurt?" she prompted.
He sighed. "Yes, I'm going back to Ohio."
"But first, I'm stopping off in Sacramento."
"No, you're not," she insisted, her tone brooking no argument.
"Don't you Aunt Brenda me!" she exclaimed, wagging a finger in his face. "I don't want you anywhere near that man."
"What man?" Rusty asked.
Kurt turned toward him. "I'm going to visit my uncle. He's a consultant with the CBI."
Fritz blinked. "CBI?" He stared at Kurt. "Not Patrick Jane?" He turned to Brenda. "You're related to him?"
"Barely," she seethed, "and not by choice. No, Kurt."
"It's not your decision, Aunt Brenda," he said, with steel in his voice.
"He's a conman, Kurt!"
"Not anymore!" he protested. "If anyone's a conman, it's Uncle Neal."
She rolled her eyes. "That's beside the point! Patrick has a serial killer after him!"
The table exploded with concern.
Brenda slammed her hand on the table. "He hasn't spoken with any of us in almost ten years, Kurt. He won't even acknowledge his own family."
His eyes glowed with anger. "And you know why that is. He doesn't want to endanger any of us. You've read the reports, Aunt Brenda, I know you have. You know what he's been through, what that bastard did to Aunt Angela and Charlie!"
Brenda instantly reined herself in, dropping her head. "I know," she whispered, "and it's appalling, and I certainly give Patrick credit for his work, but we both know his aims are not altruistic. The only reason he joined the CBI was to get the inside track on Red John."
"Red John," Flynn whispered. "Holy fuck."
"He's like us, Aunt Brenda," Kurt said flatly. "He's a closer. I don't care why he does it. I don't care if he's only interested in chasing down the sadistic monster who butchered his family and continues to taunt him. We both know what we would do were we in his shoes."
That shut her up, and she nervously twisted a lock of hair around her finger.
"I'm not going after Red John," Kurt said more sedately, "nor do I plan on drawing his attention. I'll look at the files only if Uncle Patrick asks, and we both know he won't, but I'm tired of this. He didn't give me a choice when he just cut us all off, and now that I'm of age, I'm going to go up there and knock some sense into him; literally, if necessary."
"If he asked you for help, would you give it?"
She nodded sadly. "Yes, of course, but he never will."
He nodded in kind. "But we're still family. That counts."
"Yes," she softly agreed, "it does. All right, I'll drop it."
"Brenda!" Fritz hissed.
"There's no point," she said, sighing. "Kurt's going to do what he wants to do, and that's the end of it. He's like a person that way."
Fritz just shook his head, but let it go. He would be making some calls, though.
"Your family is unbelievable," Rusty said to Kurt.
Kurt's eyes sparkled. "You have no idea."
After being forced to listen to Provenza murder a Brenda Lee - pun intended - song, the others, heavily pushed by a whiny Rusty, signed up for their own numbers, though Sharon refrained, finally having to threaten to draw her gun.
Brenda and Fritz sang together, a horrifying rendition of Elton John and Kiki Dee's Don't Go Breaking My Heart, which drew loud guffaws and cheerful boos from their delighted audience.
Flynn sang a Frank Sinatra number and was surprisingly good, which led to a good-natured ribbing from Provenza, who was clearly jealous and just as determined not to let it show.
Sykes had to be pushed - literally - by Provenza up onto the stage, where she proceeded to sing a Jordin Sparks song to much acclaim, though clearly nervous the entire time. After she slunk back to the table, her blush deepened as Kurt gushed over her performance, much to Rusty's annoyance.
Tao sang a Barry Manilow tune, but delivered it in such a manner that it instead became a comedy routine. No one could tell whether or not it had been on purpose, and Tao wasn't telling.
Sanchez sang a Spanish ballad with which no one was familiar, save Kurt. Julio had a truly lovely voice, deep and raspy but full of emotion and with a strong vibrato. Kurt and Sharon led the applause, much to Julio's deep embarrassment.
"Go on, boy!" Brenda screeched, pushing at Kurt. "Get up there and show us what you've got!"
He rolled his eyes and made his way to the stage, grumbling under his breath. He climbed up the two stairs and smirked at the waiting audience.
"I'd like to dedicate it this to my Aunt Brenda," he said.
"Damn," she mumbled.
"She's really something...well, she's something."
Their entire table burst out laughing, except Brenda, who scowled and waved at the other curious patrons.
Kurt cued up the machine, slid the headset on, and waited for the song to play, grinning like a fool the entire time.
"This is going to be awful," Brenda complained.
"This is going to be awesome!" Rusty cheered.
There was suddenly an explosion of guitars - acoustic, electric, and steel - along with percussion, organ, and fiddle.
"Aw, man," Rusty moaned. "Country? Really?"
"Oh, shut up," Buzz laughed. He had just arrived after seeing his sister Casey off at LAX. He was glad he had missed most of the singing, knowing Rusty would have been relentless in prodding him to perform.
Kurt adjusted the microphone, pulling it further from his mouth. He stared at Brenda with bright, mischievous eyes. She rolled hers in reply.
"Phone rings, people cry, TV Diet Guru lies." He waved his fingers at her and smirked. "Good morning, honey."
She laughed, as did Sharon.
"Go to work, make up, try to keep the balance up between love and money," Kurt sang. His smile remained, though there was a note of seriousness in his voice that had been previously missing from the first lyric.
His voice was decidedly different from the others. It was obvious that he had trained, and trained hard, and the level of mastery he held over his voice was impressive. His voice was high, but oddly lower than his speaking voice, and it was bright and clear, producing bell-like tones that were amplified by the microphone and echoed throughout the room.
That he had perfect pitch was obvious, but it was the way he controlled his voice that sparked universal appreciation. His breaths were equally measured and he had a slow, delicious vibrato that recalled Dusty Springfield and Linda Ronstadt.
"She used to tie her hair up in ribbons and bows, sign her letters with Xs and Os."
Brenda blushed, wondering how he knew that, yet sure he had proof in his possession, most likely gifted to him by her late mother, for whom embarrassing her only daughter had almost been sport.
Provenza frowned as he tried to picture a young Brenda Leigh with her hair tied up in bows, skipping around a grassy yard in a pinafore and Mary Janes, dancing to a tune heard only by her. He shook his head. He couldn't do it, but had no doubt she had been that child once, happy and carefree, safe in the arms of her parents.
He wondered what had happened, why she had chosen to enter law enforcement, particularly as an interrogator, a position in which many women did not excel; but excelled she had, acing CIA training to boot. He counted her as one of the people he was closest to, but he really knew very little about her. Sure, he knew her character, her desire for justice, her willingness to bend and even obliterate rules in pursuit of that justice, but about her life experiences prior to Los Angeles? Not so much.
Kurt smiled sadly at Brenda. "Got a picture of her mama in heels and pearls, she's trying to make it in her daddy's world."
Brenda flinched a looked down at the floor, thoughts of Willie Rae rushing to the fore. She supposed she would forever wonder what her mother had wanted to discuss prior to her death. It haunted her in a way. Had her mother known that something was wrong, that she hadn't much time left, or had she been wondering when Brenda would make her a grandmother? Perhaps it was nothing more than wanting beef stew for dinner the next night. She would never know, and it was endlessly frustrating.
She felt as though she had failed her mother in some basic way. Perhaps it was due to her job and her singular devotion to it. Maybe it was because she hadn't had children. Maybe it was because she had moved to Los Angeles, away from everyone she loved and had ever known. She felt she had disappointed her mother, though Willie Rae had never even so much as hinted at that. Of course, she wouldn't have; that wasn't her way.
Brenda's guilt, for so many things, was omnipresent.
"She's an American girl. An American girl."
That lyric resonated deeply with her. She was an American girl, and fiercely proud of it. She was well-traveled, both personally and professionally, and spoke several foreign languages, but she was, at heart, an American who loved her country.
She briefly wondered how Kurt knew this was one of her favorite songs, and then felt stupid for it. Of course he would know.
"Slow dance, second chance, mama needs romance," Kurt sang, winking at Fritz, who laughed and wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulders. "And a live-in maid," he added, giving Brenda a thoroughly unimpressed look which left no doubt as to how he felt about her housekeeping skills. "Fix the sink, mow the yard, it really isn't all that hard - if you get paid."
"Amen!" Sharon called out, raising her glass.
Several patrons, mostly women, laughed and copied her movement.
"She used to tie her hair up in ribbons and bows, sign her letters with Xs and Os. Got a picture of her mama in heels and pearls, she's trying to make it in her daddy's world."
Kurt decided to kick it up a notch, which meant he jumped into a Russian split and then leaped from the stage, landing easily on the floor before it with the grace of a cat.
"Nice," Rusty whispered.
Sharon turned toward him and raised a brow, which he ignored.
Kurt danced over toward the table and held out a hand, which Brenda hesitantly took. He rolled his eyes and pulled her to her feet, close against him.
"An American girl. An American girl," he sang as they did a quick two-step, before he again pulled her to him and then spun her out, smiling at her laughter as Fritz caught her in his arms.
He gathered his breath and prepared to belt. "Well, she's got her God and she's got good wine, Aretha Franklin, and Patsy Cline!"
He turned the last note into a fermata and held it far longer than many people thought possible; so long, in fact, that he ended up holding it over the entire upcoming stanza.
As many stood up and cheered, Fritz moved his arms down from Brenda's shoulders to encircle her waist. She hesitated for a moment before she put her hands over his and guided them to her abdomen, pushing them against it.
Fritz stilled and peered down at her, a hope he thought he'd never have, one which he'd tried to deny he had ever needed or wanted to feel, dawning in his eyes.
"Are you?" he rasped.
Sharon gasped softly.
Flynn nudged Provenza, who glared and turned his head, eyes widening with realization. Tao and Buzz quickly caught on, the latter blinking back tears, as was Sanchez, who turned away so no one could see him. Sykes clapped joyfully. Rusty stared.
Brenda, lips tightly pressed together, looked up at her husband and shyly nodded.
"We're having a baby?" Fritz whispered. "We're having a baby!" he screamed, picking her up in his arms and swinging her around, much to her protestations that morning sickness was not just in the morning. He quickly set her down as thunderous applause broke out, Kurt smiling widely.
"She used to tie her hair up in ribbons and bows, sign her letters with Xs and Os. Got a picture of her mama in heels and pearls." He looked at Brenda and nodded. "She's gonna make it in her daddy's world. An American girl. An American girl."
The other squad members gathered around the couple to offer their congratulations and best wishes.
"She's an American girl."
After Kurt took his bow to a standing ovation, he rushed from the stage, whispered something to Fritz, and then hurried off toward the bathroom.
As the others talked amongst each other about how good Kurt's performance was, Brenda leaned over to her husband.
"What did he tell you?" she whispered.
"Are you sure you want to know?" Fritz asked, brow cocked.
"Of course I do!" she hissed, slapping his shoulder.
He chuckled and placed his hand over her abdomen. "He said the baby is fine," he murmured, noting her quiet sigh of relief, "and that it's a boy."
She turned to stare at him. "A boy?" she quietly repeated, tears pricking her eyes.
He nodded. "A boy." His voice was rife with emotion. "We're having a son, Brenda."
"We'll have to think of a name," she said, laying her head on his shoulder.
"I already have," he replied. "His name is William."
She couldn't be bothered to wipe away her tears.
The next afternoon, after many more tears and desperate hugs, Brenda finally allowed Kurt to escape her clutches and board his plane, extracting a promise that he would call her the moment he landed, and every six hours thereafter.
She would never be comfortable with Kurt so close to Patrick, but she understood why he was going. Part of her was even grateful. Patrick hadn't deserved what had become of his life, but she was wary to trust him with Kurt. Still, she knew he would do nothing to endanger the boy. Of course, that wasn't what worried her.
Despite Kurt's insistence that he had a plan to get to Patrick while flying under Red John's radar, the entire matter didn't sit well with her.
"He'll be okay," Fritz said, nuzzling her neck.
She patted his cheek. "I know." She swallowed heavily. "I know."
End Note: The song used in this story is "XXX's and OOO's," by Trisha Yearwood, off her album Thinkin' About You (1995). I've changed the lyrics slightly and corrected the grammar of the title, because it was bugging me.
If you'd like to suggest further crossovers, feel free. The other fandom should ideally be one that features law-enforcement in some manner. There are no guarantees that I'll take the suggestion, especially if I'm unfamiliar with the fandom, but they're nonetheless welcome.