Kurt had been studying the school with subtle curiosity ever since he had arrived, looking for any possible reason to discourage Brittany from attending.
Regrettably, he had yet to discover one. The entire affair was run with a ruthless efficiency which was somehow not stifling. There were boundaries in place, but a sense of community and pervasive cheerfulness were also present.
Brittany would flourish here, he was sure.
He was impressed with Buffy and Faith; while he believed the two did not truly like each other, they were united in their dedication to their students. Willow was so enthusiastic and perky that he sometimes wanted to drive a hammer through her skull, but she was otherwise a lovely woman. He had absolutely no idea what she saw in Kennedy.
It had taken more effort than he'd wanted to expend to chase off Dawn and Andrew, who had been giving him big eyes and breathy voice catches from the moment he crossed the threshold. He had been flattered, of course, but uncomfortable. Dawn didn't seem to care that he was gay, while Andrew was unperturbed and disgustingly aroused by Kurt's creative threats. He had finally gotten rid of them with the help of Rupert, with whom he would be sharing dinner that evening.
A slow smirk spread across his face at the thought of the Watcher and all of the exquisite torture he planned to wreak on the older man's delicious body. Not that Rupert would be complaining, of course.
He snapped out of his Happy Naughty Place and smiled brightly when Xander stumbled in to the room. He'd developed a real fondness for the new Watcher and already considered him a good friend.
Xander had been the one to approach Brittany about what she had become. He'd been so kind and patient with her, giving her time and space, and allowing her to ask her many and sometimes nonsensical questions. He had always answered honestly and with great tenderness, which Brittany desperately needed after Santana had been killed by a Polgara demon.
But Tina was working on that. His eyes sparkled at the thought.
"Hey!" Xander grinned. "Finding everything okay?"
Kurt nodded. "Yes, thank you." He paused. "Alexander, I just want to reiterate how much I appreciate how well you've treated Brittany." He swallowed heavily and blinked back tears. "Santana's loss has affected us all, but Brittany especially." He met Xander's eye with grave seriousness. "Thank you."
Neither noticed that Buffy, Faith, Willow, and Spike had entered from the other door, listening keenly, curious about Kurt, whose approval they knew was necessary to ensure Brittany's attendance.
Xander blushed and scratched the back of his neck, uncomfortable with Kurt's sincerity. "I promise I'll look out for her."
"I know," Kurt said. "You're the only reason I'm encouraging her to stay."
"You think she should stay?" Xander asked slowly. "You know she doesn't have to, Kurt, not if she doesn't want to. We'd never force her. We just want her to know her options."
Kurt smiled. "I do know that, and I believe this is the best place for her right now. She thinks so, too. It may not look like it, but Brittany is very determined and incredibly strong-willed. Believe me when I tell you that, while she trusts my opinion, I do not make her decisions for her. That said, I'll be moving here, of course."
Xander's grinned again. "Yeah, I kind of figured. I'm glad. She needs you, and I think you need her."
"Very much," Kurt said softly. "After my father died, I don't think I would have survived the grief without her. Santana and Quinn were wonderful, of course, as were Tina, Artie, Finn, and Sam, but Brittany got me through the worst of it."
Buffy felt her heart clinch and her eyes welled as she thought of her mother. She understood all too well what Kurt had gone through, would likely always be going through, and was glad Brittany had been there for him, just as Xander had always been a stalwart presence at her own side.
She sent an unobserved watery smile in Xander's direction and nodded her head in thanks at Faith, who had laid a comforting, if tentative, hand on her arm.
Spike snorted, shaking his head, and stomped forward.
"Look here, you adorable little poofter," he barked at Kurt, "you're watching out for your girl and I respect that, but if the only reason you're leaving her here is because she'll be under the care of Droopy, you might as well take her home now. He's completely incompetent. Been saying so for years."
Xander stiffened as Buffy's mouth tightened with rage and Willow's eyes bled black.
"Chill," Faith whispered. "I want to see how the kid handles this." She smirked. "I think we're in for quite a show."
They relaxed only minutely.
Kurt turned to regard the vampire and tilted his head. "Back off, Overbite," he snapped. He ignored Spike's suddenly very wide eyes. "The only advice of yours I would ever heed would be how not to dye my hair."
Spike's mouth fell open in shock and he retreated a few paces when Kurt began prowling toward him.
"I don't know who you think you are," Kurt continued, narrowing his eyes, "but if you believe for one second that your opinion is of any relevance whatsoever, allow me to correct your misconception.
"I knew what you were the first moment I looked at you. I don't mean that you're a vampire, of course; anyone with a kindergarten diploma could have spotted that from space. I mean that you're nothing but a pathetic, lovesick, pedantic sycophant desperately clinging to his delusions of adequacy."
"Hot damn!" Faith moaned.
Spike cringed at her words and decided he needed to reestablish his dominance and instill some fear in the little blighter.
"Aw," Kurt cooed, sneering at him, "did I strike a little too close to home? Why don't you drop your pants to prove what a big man you really are? We could all use a good laugh."
Kurt threw back his head and cackled. "Do you really think you scare me, you insignificant cockroach? The only terrifying thing about you is your fashion sense, or lack thereof. You dress like disco vomited on New Wave and was then trampled by light metal."
Giles entered the room and arched a brow in bemusement.
Kurt leaned forward and stared into Spike's eyes. "You dare to speak of Alexander in such a derogatory way, yet the only reason you wormed your way into their graces was because you were neutered and as helpless as a fluffy kitten. You preyed on them for years. You tried to kill them multiple times and were a perpetual failure. You tried to turn them against each other to serve them on a platter to your demon robot, and you failed again. Your afterlife has been nothing but a series of missteps, miscalculations, and deficiencies."
Spike growled and meant to rush him, but was held in place by Brittany, who had appeared with no fanfare or herald.
"No one hurts Kurty," she said sweetly, her eyes arctic. "Not that you ever could."
Kurt smirked at the vampire. "You were a pathetic excuse for a human who wrote dreadful poetry, was ridiculed by every woman you encountered, and had mommy issues so paralyzing, it's a wonder you weren't still breastfeeding when you started Oxford."
Faith was howling and hanging off Buffy, whose lips were twitching as though they were being tickled by a feather. Willow conjured a box of popcorn.
"After you were turned," Kurt dispassionately continued, "you desperately clung to an insane vampire who physically and verbally abused you whenever the urge struck; that is, when she wasn't slutting around with Angelus or any number of other nasties. When she left you, you stuck yourself to Buffy's side and continually antagonized her friends, because you knew, despite your depraved love for her, they meant more than you ever would."
"That is not true!" Spike thundered.
"Uh, yeah, it is," Buffy blurted. "I felt something for you, Spike, but if it had ever been a choice between you and them, you would've been dust on the wind."
Kurt nodded. "We'll just skip over how easy it was for the First to manipulate you, shall we, as well as your very embarrassing resurrection. You didn't fit in any better with Angel's team than you did with this one, but I'll give you extra Pitiful Points for hanging in there and trying. And when Angel finally had enough of you, you turned up here."
He raised a brow. "You believe Alexander to be incompetent, you albino annoyance? Correct me if I'm wrong, but other than Brittany and myself, Alexander is the only being in this room not to have died or turned evil and tried to destroy the world, yes?"
Willow turned to Buffy and Faith, holding out the popcorn. "He's got us there."
The girls nodded and helped themselves to buttery goodness.
"Kurt..." Xander tried, blushing and looking quite small and lost.
"Further," Kurt said loudly, drowning him out, "Alexander, by my count, has saved the world singlehandedly on two separate occasions." He looked around the room. "Can anyone else say the same?"
The resulting silence spoke for itself.
He nodded. "If you want to speak of incompetency, William, stick with your own. There's certainly enough there to mine."
Spike opened his mouth and then felt the many hard glares in his direction. He said nothing.
Kurt nodded again, this time with approval. "Very wise. At least you're capable of learning." He turned to Xander and smiled. "Alexander, I know you have a backbone. Use it more often. No one beneath you can ever offend you, and no one your equal would." His eyes softened. "You're a good man." He leered. "A hot one, too. If I didn't have a date tonight, and Tina hadn't already staked her claim, I'd have had you horizontal by now."
Xander's eye widened, his blush now furious, both at Kurt's surprisingly welcome flirting and this supposed claim staked. "Tina?"
Kurt grinned. "She'll be arriving tomorrow. Prepare to be wooed."
"Wooed?" Xander blankly repeated.
"Go X!" Faith cheered.
Buffy and Willow smirked, already plotting as to how best to help Tina seduce their best friend.
"You have a date, Kurty?" asked a hyperactive Brittany.
Giles cleared his throat, crossed to Kurt's side, and held out his arm, which Kurt took. "Dinner awaits. I presume you enjoy nouvelle cuisine?"
Kurt snorted. "Is Willow a lesbian?"
Faith burst out laughing.
"Kurt," Xander interrupted, "how did you know all of that?"
Kurt cocked a hip, tossed his hair, and raised a brow.
Alarms went off in Xander's head, but he was startled from his thoughts when Kurt's eyes suddenly burned white.
"Brittany," he said calmly, "there's a nest three blocks over to the west. Seven vampires and one Fyarl."
Buffy and Willow stared.
Brittany nodded. "I'll suit up."
Kurt turned to Xander and smirked. "Did I mention Cordelia was my cousin?"
Willow flailed as a soft smile took over Xander's face.
Kurt sashayed toward the door, dragging a grinning Giles with him.
"Get some, Jeeves!" Faith hooted.
Kurt winked at her. "It's in the bag."