Am I Blue?
Disclaimer: This is fan fiction. I don't own BtVS
. Song credits are in the text.
"I don't suppose we could have asked to borrow a car for this," Willow puffed.
"And just leave it abandoned out here when we go poof?" Kennedy asked. "Hardly fair to the owner."
"Couldn't we have asked Puck or somebody to drop us off?"
"And leave him wondering what ax murderer got us? Talk about scarred for life. It's bad enough we're taking off like this."
"It's not like we could really explain where we're going."
"Sure we could: back to Cleveland."
Willow sighed. "Do you want to go back and say goodbye? My portal spell should work just as well tomorrow."
"No, that would just be harder," Kennedy decided. "Besides, we're here."
They had reached a field three miles out of town. Kennedy turned and started to trudge through the mud.
Willow sighed loudly.
Kennedy looked back. "You really want somebody driving past and seeing this?"
"No," Willow admitted petulantly.
They finally found a spot out of sight, with a small copse of trees hiding them from the highway. Willow took a cardboard canister of salt from her bag and began to pour a circle on the ground around them. Then in the center of the circle, she lit three candles. She pulled a slip of paper from her bag. Taking Kennedy's hands, she reached out with her magic, feeling the power of this different earth. Then she read the words aloud.
The candles burned like torches. Wind sang around them. Kennedy could see a tiny crack appear in the air, so bright it hurt to look at.
The crack slowly started to widen. Then she heard Willow groan. The crack snapped shut with a thunderclap, and she had to hold tight to keep Willow on her feet.
Kennedy gently lowered Willow to the earth. She used a handkerchief from Willow's bag to wipe the blood from the witch's nose.
"Well," Willow panted. "So much for that idea."
That weekend they boarded a bus and headed for Cleveland. The city didn’t have a hellmouth in this reality, but there was a convergence of ley lines in the same location that Willow said would make it easier to break through the dimensional barriers. So Kennedy found herself in another circle of salt, this time on top of a parking garage.
She caught Willow before the witch could collapse onto the concrete. This time the blood seeped from her ears as well as her nose, and it took eighteen and a half minutes before she woke up. Kennedy was definitely counting.
The next morning they snuck into the basement of the largest church in Lima, the center of spirituality for the greatest number of real people in the universe, and made another attempt at the ritual during services. Willow cast the spell right at the sharing of the peace, the moment when everyone’s energies were focused on goodwill—or at least when everyone was trying. The parishioners thought there was an earthquake, but all Willow got for her efforts were tears of blood.
Kennedy hid Willow until they could get away unseen and, after Willow had awakened, forced her to go to the emergency room. She also put her foot down—there was no way they were trying that spell again without a lot more research. Willow’s throbbing skull forced her to agree.
“Did we get Vi and Andrew chipped free yet?” Buffy asked. She’d found Xander in the kitchen doing repairs.
“We’re at about 50%,” Xander answered. “I have to make another run to the hardware store for a new set of chisels.”
“Again?” Buffy asked. “What are you doing, eating those things?”
“Hey, Fyarl snot is hard as rock!” Xander protested. “And your slayers aren’t exactly gentle when they pound on something. I think Andrew’s fearing for his body parts.”
“He should be used to it by now,” Buffy said. She fidgeted. “Do you ever worry that we’ve, maybe, seriously damaged him since we took him hostage in Sunnydale?”
“Are you kidding?” Xander snorted. “We’re the best thing that ever happened to him. He’s got a fulfilling job where his skills are valued, he has friends who won’t try to force him to embrace the dark side, and he’s surrounded by beautiful women.”
“Which seems to be exactly what he wants... about half of the time.”
Xander shrugged. “That’s not so strange. You can’t tell me you’ve never thought about it.”
“What, me with another girl?” Buffy snorted. “Yeah, that’d be the day.”
“I’m not saying it would work out, or that it would ever even happen,” Xander said, “but can you honestly say you’ve never thought about it?”
Buffy sighed. “Of course not. You?” she asked with a smile.
Xander smiled softly. “Buffy, I’m a guy. I can assure you I’ve thought about pretty much everything.”
thought about or air quotes
thought about?” Buffy asked.
“Oh, probably both,” Xander said brightly.
“And yet most men wouldn’t be man enough to admit it,” Buffy observed.
“True,” Xander agreed. “I’m sure if Willow were here she’d have an explanation.”
“That neither of us would understand?” Buffy teased.
“Yeah,” Xander said. “That’s our Will.”
“Yeah,” Buffy echoed softly.
“So,” Xander said, visibly trying to cheer up. “Was this entire conversation just your way of finding out if I was interested in Andrew?”
“What? No!” Buffy’s voice rose before she could bring it back to normal. “As if I would ever—are you?” she asked quickly.
“I’m going to the hardware store,” Xander said, and ducked out through the the still open kitchen wall.
“Kennedy, I have to say I’m surprised to see you here,” Mr. Schuester said. “What made you decide to join New Directions?”
“I haven’t had a chance to do anything artistic in a while,” she said. “You know—so busy with sports and everything. I used to love to sing, and I miss it.” Kenned smiled. “Plus, I heard Willow’s joining. I don’t want to upstage her—if you give me the OK, I still want to wait until she’s performed her song for you—but I’ll follow her anywhere.”
Schuester smiled. “That’s sweet. So, what did you have in mind?”
Kennedy handed a pack of sheet music to the pianist. The name Dave Frishberg ran across the top.
“Jazzy,” Schuester commented as the piano started to play.
Kennedy just smiled until she started to sing, low and sultry. “I’m impressed, with my attorney Bernie...” She was every inch the vulnerable young woman who had no idea she was being taken advantage of. The disconnect with Kennedy’s own personality was marked, jarring.
“Wow,” Schuester said once she’d finished. “Kennedy, I would love to have you sing with us.”
“Great,” Kennedy said, smiling. “As soon as Willow gets her act together, I’m in.”
“Looking forward to it.”
She wasn't sure what exactly caught her eye in the first place. She'd been walking in the park in the morning before school, just trying to get out of her own head, when she saw someone stretching. It looked like that new girl, Kennedy. At second glance, she appeared to be going through some kind of meditative martial arts routine—every move was careful and deliberate, but each motion also promised power. Then the girl surprised Quinn with a series of backflips, one after the other after the other, and landed gracefully to resume her tai chi or whatever. From her years of cheerleading, Quinn knew how much hard work it took to make something like that look effortless. That second glance lasted longer than she was comfortable admitting. The sudden warmth in her belly was startling.
The next morning found her in the same place. Kennedy was there again, doing the same routine. Quinn watched for as long as she could without being too obvious. She found herself wondering if she could borrow a dog just to have a reason to be in the park. Not that she needed one—her own walk was reason enough, right? But somehow a dog would make her look less conspicuous.
The day after that she hadn't found a dog to walk, but she came back anyway. Kennedy wasn't in her usual spot. Feeling more disappointed than she wanted to admit, Quinn turned around to walk back home, then stopped abruptly just before she could bump into the person who was suddenly standing there.
“Looking for someone?” Kennedy asked.
“I, um...” Quinn was sure she would die of embarrassment, and considering what she'd been through in the last couple years, that was saying something. The memory gave her strength. “Your routines. They're amazing.” Quinn tried not to let too much warmth into her voice, but she suspected she failed.
There was something in Kennedy's smile that Quinn took as confirmation.
“You're an athlete, right?” Kennedy asked.
“Former captain of the Cheerios,” Quinn said. “I know my way through a routine.”
“I'd imagine so,” Kennedy said. “Why don't you join me?”
“Oh, no, I don't want to disrupt—” Quinn began.
“It's no more disruptive than all that watching you were doing,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy took no notice. “Come on. It's not that difficult. I can show you.”
Quinn made a show of thinking about it for a moment, but her mind had been made up since before Kennedy had made the offer. She smiled. “Let's get started.”
Kurt caught Kennedy’s attention on his way to math class. “You might want to check out the home ec room,” he said.
“Sorry, not really the domestic type,” she retorted.
“Oh, I think Willow’s clearly got that angle covered.”
“Yeah, she doesn’t quite seem like herself. I’m a little worried, actually. I get the impression something’s bothering her, but she wouldn’t say what. And she’s somewhere between her second and third gross of cookies.”
“That’s a lot of... Wait. Willow’s baking cookies
Kennedy sighed. “I should have been there an hour ago.”
“What’s wrong?” Kurt asked again as Kennedy moved off.
She called back, “Willow only bakes when she’s feeling guilty!”
Fortunately Willow only believed in using her hands in cookie baking penance, otherwise Kennedy was afraid she would have walked in on a scene from Fantasia.
Still, it was pretty chaotic, with mixing bowls and trays of cookies everywhere and timers on three different ovens running at once.
“How did you get the teacher to leave you alone for all of this?” Kennedy asked.
“Oh, that was easy,” Willow said. “I told her it was for the glee club bake sale.”
“Uh, Willow, we’re not in the glee club yet,” Kennedy said. “And I don’t think they’re having a bake sale this year.”
“Oh,” Willow said. “Well maybe they could.”
“If nothing else, I’m sure they’d enjoy the cookies,” Kennedy said absently.
“No, the cookies are for you,” Willow said.
“I may be a slayer, but even I have my limits,” Kennedy laughed. “So... cookies for me means you’re feeling guilty about something. Are you cheating on me, or is your witchy science project not going so well?”
“Cheating on you? Never!” Willow protested. “I’m a one-woman woman, woman!”
Kennedy groaned. “How long have you been saving that one?”
“Maybe a little while,” Willow admitted.
“Mmhmm. I had a feeling.” Kennedy plucked a cookie from the nearest tray and munched for a minute. “These are really good.”
“Thanks.” Willow wrung her hands nervously, then darted across the room as a buzzer went off, sliding a tray of cookies onto the cooling racks and replacing it in the oven with a tray of misshapen dough balls.
“So... what did you find out?” Kennedy asked.
“That the school’s ovens aren’t very well calibrated?”
“Uh, right.” Willow gulped. “Well, basically, I found out that there’s a, a kind of barrier surrounding this universe that makes it impossible to open a portal elsewhere from the inside.”
“We got here somehow,” Kennedy noted.
“Sure, incoming portals are no problem. It’s just, when you try to leave this universe, you can’t.”
“Did you find out why?”
“Not exactly... it’s just how the universe is put together. Creating a portal out of here would take the entire energy budget of the universe. Of course at that point we could transport almost arbitrary amounts of mass, but we literally couldn’t leave this universe without destroying it. I suspect D’Hoffryn set it up that way to torment us.” Willow was near tears.
“And populated it with hundreds of people so there’s no way we would ever try it.” Kennedy’s tone was more thoughtful than angry. She laughed bitterly. “What a bastard.”
“You said it,” Willow said, smiling weakly. “It looks like we’re stuck here.”
“I’m sure you’ll find another way,” Kennedy said encouragingly.
From Willow’s reaction, it was exactly the wrong thing to say. “That’s just the thing. This isn’t something we can work around. This is solid metaphysics. This is the speed of light, or the apocalypse coming in May, or Dawn getting kidnapped on a Tuesday.”
“Didn’t we get kidnapped on a Tuesday?” Kennedy asked.
“So not the point, babe,” Willow said. “Hey, why aren’t you freaking out?”
Kennedy shrugged. “There’s not just one reason. First, impossible explanation aside, I still believe in you.”
“Then you probably weren’t paying attention,” Willow muttered.
Kennedy ignored her. “Second, I’m not going to give Doffy the satisfaction of seeing me freak out over this non-starter. You and I chose to give our lives to helping others—you especially, since I was kind of drafted. I won’t lie and tell you I don’t want to go home very, very badly. Hell, I even miss Andrew! But sacrificing all those people, even if you could find a way—that’s not who we are. And it’s so far off the mark that I’m offended Doffy thought it might tempt us.”
"Well, tempt, maybe," Willow said. Then, at Kennedy's glare, "Kidding!"
Kennedy rolled her eyes. “And last, there are worse hell dimensions out there. This one isn’t so bad, as these things go. I really think we could be happy here. Because we’re here together.”
She took Willow’s hand. “My home is where you are. You’re my heart.”
“You mean that?” Willow asked, her eyes downcast. “You really forgive me for failing to get us out of here?”
Kennedy took Willow’s chin in her hand and gently lifted the witch’s eyes up to meet her own. “Love, there’s nothing to forgive.”
They held each other’s gaze until the next buzzer went off.
Kennedy thought she hear music, da-duh-duh, da-duh-duh, and the same lilting pattern repeated a few notes higher, then lower again, cycling back and forth, almost like an accordion playing a dance... Before she knew it, she and Willow were singing a duet of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You, Babe.” It was pretty romantic, a silly love song as they cleaned up the kitchen together. They no sooner had it all cleaned, in about a verse and a half, when Kennedy blinked and found herself serenading Willow on stage in the auditorium. They sang back and forth, dancing around each other to a full orchestra and some pretty amazing special effects, some of which she was sure were magical... until the world blinked again and they found themselves singing to each other in front of the glee club in the choir room. As the song faded out, they were greeted by cheers and applause.
“That was great!” Mr. Schuester said. “See, Willow? All you needed was the right song.”
“And someone to sing it to,” Willow added, beaming. She threw an arm around Kennedy, and they found their seats next to Kurt.
“You know, Vi,” Buffy said idly as she chipped at the Fyarl residue with one of Xander’s new chisels, “when I send a slayer out on a mission, I expect a report.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Vi said, miserable. “What would you like to know?”
“Why don’t you tell me what you found?”
“You mean besides the demons?”
“Right, the three Fyarls and something that has everybody pulling the library apart trying to identify it."
“Xander’s calling it the Not A Gorn,” Andrew put in. “Dawn said that would do until she found something better.”
Buffy's tone became falsely casual. "Speaking of Dawn, did you happen to know that my sister’s been studying magic?”
“I don’t suppose we can reschedule me answering that until I’m no longer glued to the wall?” Vi squeaked.
Buffy chipped more vigorously for a few moments, then relented. "Just tell me about the mission."
"Before the demons noticed us, Tanya was able to trace the extradimensional signature to a studio lot." Vi half shrugged, partly restrained by demon goo. "So we broke in."
"Subtly, I hope," Buffy commented.
Vi grimaced. "We thought so at the time."
Buffy matched her expression. "Been there. Did you see anything before you had to activate the recall portal?"
"Yeah, we followed one of the actors to rehearsal. They don't get the lines on paper. They get, um, seated in a dentist's chair, and then this massive purple tentacle glomps onto their head."
"Tentacle," Buffy echoed.
"Yeah, attached to a giant octopus demon," Vi explained. "Except, you know, with lots more than eight legs. Size of a friggin' house."
"How do you know that's how the actors get their lines?" Buffy asked.
"Well, partly because Tanya said she felt a mystical energy that felt like brain waves," Vi answered. "But also because, after that, the actors went right to makeup."
"That's more than a little disturbing," Buffy said.
“We need a club,” Brittany said. She was carefully filling in a page in a Disney Princesses coloring book. A candy striper had brought it, and Santana had carefully refrained from dispelling the impression that a much younger child would be visiting soon.
“Glee club and Cheerios aren't enough for you?” Santana asked.
“Well, those are fun, but we need a club for kids like us.”
“Smoking hot chicks?”
“Well, yeah. And unicorns like Kurt.” Brittany nodded at Blaine's bed. “And him, once he gets better.”
“You really think that would help?” Santana asked. “It sounds kind of crazy.”
“Why not?” Brittany countered. “I mean, we already have the God Squad and the Celibacy Club and the Math Club for kids who aren't ever going to have sex.”
“Who's not having sex?” Kennedy asked. She and Willow brought flowers for Blaine's bedside.
“Certainly not the Celibacy Club,” Santana snarked.
“Ironic but probably true,” Willow commented.
“Not just probably,” Santana said, “their president had a baby sophomore year.”
“Really?” Kennedy said. “Huh.”
“So much for truth in advertising,” Willow muttered.
“What brought this up?” Kennedy asked, settling into a chair and pulling Willow onto her lap with a yelp.
“Brittany thinks we've found a solution to homophobia.” Santana's tone was ironic but softened with affection.
Brittany paused in her coloring. “Words that sound the same but mean different things?”
“Uh, no, hatred of gay people,” Willow explained.
“Oh, good. Because I don't think I have an answer for the other one. So confusing.” She wrinkled her brow. Santana put a reassuring hand on her shoulder as Brittany continued. “But the hatred thing? Yeah, I think I get that one. People hate us because they don't know how awesome we are. We have to show them. And we can't do that alone. So...” Brittany waved her hands in a dramatic flourish. “We need a club.”
“That's actually not a bad idea,” Kennedy said. “It's all about familiarity and exposure. We create a safe space for each other and do education and outreach for the school at large.”
“Are there even enough of us for a club?” Santana asked.
“Enough of what?” Kurt asked, making his way into the room. “And what are all of you doing here?”
“Hey, Kurt,” Willow greeted. “We're counting noses.”
“Sorry?” He set his backpack down on an empty chair. “Can you try that again, but with more making sense?”
“Brittany's suggested we form some kind of lesbian commune,” Willow explained.
“OK, I'll catch up with you guys later,” Kurt said, picking up his bag again.
“Wait,” Kennedy said quickly. “It's not what you think.”
“Right,” Brittany said. “Boys would totally be welcome, too.”
“OK, still not convinced...” Kurt found a chair himself. “Can someone please tell me what's going on?”
“It's simple,” Brittany said. “I figured the reason people hate people like us is they don't understand us. So we need a club.”
“What, all the gay kids?” Kurt asked. “I think we have the entire GLB population of McKinley High right here in this room.”
“That we know of,” Kennedy said.
“Well, sure,” Kurt agreed, “but the ones who don't know themselves yet or aren't ready to tell anybody sure aren't going to join a club about it. There's not enough of us to start one.”
“It wouldn't just be us,” Kennedy said. “The club would have to be open to anybody. Two reasons. First, numbers—there just aren't enough of us to do much besides sit around and talk. Not that that's not useful, but we couldn't exactly hold a car wash or a bake sale.”
“And second,” Willow added, “if you make it open to everybody, gay and straight, you can include those kids who haven't figured themselves out yet or aren't ready to be open about it.”
“Right,” Santana said. “I read about those online while I was getting ready to come out to my parents. The clubs are called Gay-Straight Alliances.”
“Kind of grandiose,” Kurt sniffed. “And dated. GSAs are so 90s.”
“Kurt, why did you run for class president?” Kennedy asked.
“To round out my NYADA application...” his voice trailed off. “Huh.”
“Ping!” Willow chimed.
“What's that?” Kurt asked.
“The sound of the light bulb going off over your head,” Kennedy said.
Groans of laughter.
“We wouldn't necessarily want to use that name,” Santana said. “But the idea has some promise. We should think of people to approach, straight kids who've been supportive in the past. Like Rachel, with her two daddies, and Finn.”
“Good idea,” Kennedy agreed. “But Kurt, somebody's got to tell your brother that outing people isn't cool.”
“Oh, believe me, he's been told,” Kurt said. “And not just by me. Dad and Carole really let him have it.”
Santana shrugged. “Not that I'm unhappy to hear about Finn taking the heat after that bit of stage-slap blackmail he pulled to get us all to sing together, but Finn didn't really do anything I wasn't about to do myself anyway.”
“Still,” Willow said, “shouting people's business across the hall, not cool.”
“True,” Kurt said, “but I do believe he was provoked.”
“Yeah, I really wasn't gentle with him,” Santana admitted. “Claws and teeth. Right in the nuts.”
“Holy mixed metaphor, Batman,” Willow said, shuddering. “Also, ewww.”
Santana shrugged. “He's not such a bad guy, really. I think he would support us.”
“So... have any of you ever started a club at McKinley before?” Willow asked. “Do we need a faculty sponsor?”
Nobody seemed to know the answer to that one.
“Well,” Willow said. “That's one thing we need to find out.”
“We might have a bit of a challenge on our hands getting Figgins to agree to this,” Kennedy pointed out. “He's really skittish about controversy.”
“I think I have an idea that might help with that,” Kurt said.
“Congressman Hummel, Mr. Bryan Ryan of the school board, what can I do for you gentlemen today?” Figgins asked, ushering the two men into his office.
“I'll get right down to it,” Burt said. “You've got a bullying problem at this school, and we intend to help you fix it.”
“I'm grateful, truly, but this is not a new issue for us,” Figgins protested. “I assure you we are doing everything we can to keep our children safe.”
“And if that were true,” Burt countered, “I wouldn't have had to transfer my kid out of your school last year after some other kid got tired of shoving him into lockers and moved on to threatening his life.”
“Yes, well,” Figgins said, “I was on something of a sabbatical at the time.”
“But you were responsible for the atmosphere of this school before,” Bryan Ryan pointed out, “and you are again. Which is why we've come to you with the tools to address this situation.”
“Tools?” Figgins asked.
Burt handed him a manilla envelope. “This is a report from the Library of Congress on the most effective anti-bullying curricula in practice in this country today. I recommend you look it over and begin to implement the one you think best fits McKinley.”
“The school board will be conducting a similar review of anti-bullying policies for the district,” Bryan Ryan added. “Once that policy is in place, you will be expected to enforce it.”
“Of course,” Figgins assented. “But these are the kinds of resources we've had access to for some time. You can't expect us to resolve a complex situation like this overnight.”
“Not overnight, no,” Burt allowed. “But soon. I will be shining a national spotlight on this issue and this school
in the coming months. The public could come to know McKinley High as one of the most dangerous schools in America—or they could see you as a school facing real problems but also willing to do what it takes to make real progress. That's up to you.”
“I see,” Figgins said somberly. “In that case I seem to have some work to do.”
“I was hoping you'd see it that way,” Burt said, with a bit of a smile. “Now, I just have one more thing to ask, and then Mr. Ryan and I can let you get back to work.”
“Oh? What's that?”
“Some of the kids want to start a club,” Burt said, “a group of students to raise awareness about gay issues. They're hoping to stem some of this violence, peer to peer, with a little understanding. I'd take it as a personal favor if you would avoid placing any obstacles in their way.”
“I can't offer special treatment,” Figgins protested.
“And I'm not asking for any,” Burt said levelly. “But this school has several other student run clubs where students talk about about controversial issues. I'm just asking you not to find any special reasons to deny these kids the opportunity to form this one.”
“But the school board—” Figgins started.
“Has to follow the law like everybody else,” Ryan finished. “Let us worry about the politics. You just keep the kids safe, OK?”
Figgins looked down at his desk, then back up at his guests. “Very well.”
“OK,” Burt said. “Well see ourselves out, then.” The two men rose. “Principal Figgins, thank you for your time.”
Kennedy had just finished changing after another truly enjoyable hockey practice. She’d discovered that even better than checking her obnoxious teammates into bruises they’d remember for days was simply showing them up on the ice. Years of figure skating—her watcher said it would help her balance and agility—and a slayer’s killer instinct made her pretty much unbeatable. She slayed her teammates at practice and made the team shine like stars in matches. True, they hated her, but that was something she was willing to live with for a while. So she wasn’t surprised at the first words she heard drifting through the vent as she finished up in the girls’ locker room.
“That bitch is going to ruin everything, man!”
Kennedy recognized the voice of Rick “The Stick” Nelson, the hockey player who was running for class president.
“Shh, keep your voice down.”
“What, you think she’s got super hearing, too?” Rick joked.
“Don’t be an ass,” the other voice said. “But I’m not paying you to take chances.”
“Yeah? You didn’t exactly tell the guys that fairy boy was a frickin’ boxer.”
“If three of them couldn’t handle one lonesome choirboy, I’ve clearly come to the wrong place.”
“We did the job, didn’t we?” Rick said sourly.
“Yeah. And now you’re afraid you’ll get found out since they put a girl on the team. Weak.”
“What are you saying?”
“Obviously you have a problem. I’m not going to pay you to do yourselves a favor, but it seems pretty clear to me that you need to solve this problem the same way you solved mine.”
“But dude, have you seen her on the ice? She’s, like freakishly strong!”
“So don’t go after her. Get some guys together... and have a little chat with her girlfriend.”
Kennedy burst out of the locker room, but there was no one around. She went back in and traced the ducts through the walls, trying to determine where the conversation had come from. But every spot she checked was empty.
"So I've been meaning to ask," Kurt said to Willow as they walked through the hospital parking lot late in the evening. "How are your parents OK with you and Kennedy living together on your own?"
That earned a bitter laugh from Willow. “It’s not that they’re OK with it, necessarily,” she said, “but more that they’re just really unobservant.”
“They don’t know you two are together?” Kurt asked.
“You know,” Willow said, “I don’t think they do know. My parents are both psychology professors. They’re out of town so much with book signings and lecture tours and conferences that I may as well have raised myself.”
“Wow,” Kurt said. “I can’t imagine that.”
“You don’t know how lucky you are,” Willow said. “Seriously.”
“I have a pretty good idea,” Kurt countered. “You heard about Santana’s grandma?”
“Yeah,” Willow said. “Ouch.”
“Definitely,” Kurt agreed.
They walked on for a few moments.
“Kennedy’s parents don’t mind either?” Kurt asked, picking up the thread.
Willow shrugged. “I don’t know if they would or not. They gave Kennedy up years ago. She was raised by her, um, martial arts instructor.”
“Really?” Kurt asked. “That’s...”
“Complete and utter bullshit?” a voice finished.
Three burly hockey players stepped around a corner into the glow of the street lamp. Each held a thick length of iron pipe.
“Completely true, actually,” Willow countered. “Is there something we can do for you guys?”
“Nothing too difficult,” the first one said. “Let’s see how good you are at bleeding.”
He raised a pipe and made to swing at Kurt.
“I really didn’t want to do this,” Willow said. She waved a hand at the three attackers. “Sleep,” she commanded.
The three instantly slumped to the ground, pipes falling in a clatter.
“Uh, what just happened?” Kurt asked, finding his voice after a long moment.
“That might take some time to explain,” Willow said.
“Oh, I’d love to hear it,” another voice drawled. Another teen stepped out from behind a parked box truck.
“Sebastian?” Kurt asked. “What are you doing here?”
“I had a feeling these guys might fail to get the job done,” Sebastian said. “So I brought a little insurance.” He pulled a handgun from his waistband.
“What the hell are you doing?” Kurt shouted.
Sebastian grinned. “Taking care of the competition. Why else would I have paid good money to make sure Blaine couldn’t sing?”
Kurt sputtered in rage. “You what?”
Sebastian shrugged. “It’s not like it was hard. Your school’s a tinder box of hatred and resentment just waiting to burst into violence. A little cash to fan the flames, and anything’s possible.”
“That wasn’t a good idea,” Willow said. Her voice chilled Kurt in a way he couldn’t explain, beyond the fear, cutting through his anger. Somehow he knew that the maniac with the gun wasn’t the greatest threat.
“Seems to be working out well so far,” he said. “Now hand me your wallets so this looks like a mugging.”
“Not going to happen,” Willow told him.
Kurt could feel his teeth chatter.
“I really don’t like guns,” Willow continued. “So cold and unnatural. If you’re looking for violent death, try something more... organic.”
She whispered a series of syllables Kurt couldn’t follow, then waved a hand at Sebastian. Impossibly the gun lengthened and softened, changing in color and shape. Soon Sebastian held an enormous snake in his hands.
“What the fuck!” he shouted, dropping the snake.
“That’s not nice,” Willow told him. “She never did anything to you.” She stared at him. “It looks like you don’t appreciate snakes. That’s a shame. They’re beautiful creatures, and I’m quite fond of them,” she said. She extended a hand to the ground, and the six-foot green reptile slithered up her arm and across her shoulders. “Now, I suggest you go tell the police everything you just told us. I would hate to have to leave one of these in your shower, or you car. Or your bed.”
Sebastian just stared, his eyes darting from Willow and the snake to Kurt and back again.
Willow raised her hand, summoning a ball of fire. “This would be the part where you run away.”
The moment was broken. Sebastian bolted. The flames flickered, then vanished.
Kurt found he could breathe again.
“What the hell just happened?” he asked in a rush. “How did you do those things? And did you really just steal that line from Shrek
“I don’t suppose you’d believe it was stage magic? Special effects?” she tried.
“In the middle of the night? Outside? With people who obviously weren’t in on it as demonstrated by their eagerness to beat the crap out of us?” Each question raised the pitch of his voice.
“Oh, boy,” Willow sighed. “I really wasn’t looking forward to this conversation.” She waved a hand at the snake, causing it to disappear. Kurt rubbed at his eyes. “I don’t suppose you’re up to driving after all that?” Willow asked.
“Probably not,” Kurt decided.
“All right, then,” Willow said. “Take my hand.”
“Okay...” And suddenly they were somewhere else.
Willow busied herself making tea while Kurt hyperventilated in a seat at her kitchen table. “It’s of the good, you know,” she told him, reaching for two cups while the water heated.
“What, the complete shattering of reality?” he asked, as if the word didn’t fit on his tongue.
“I meant breathing, actually,” Willow said, adding what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “I’ve got peppermint, cinnamon, lemongrass, chamomile, and decaf chai,” she continued, rummaging through a small metal box. “Oh, and plain decaf tea. Kennedy won’t let me keep caffeine in the house,” she confided.
“Oh,” Kurt said. “Does it cause problems with your powers or something? Like something else from a comic book?”
“Not really,” Willow says. “Except that it makes me kind of spazz out.”
Kurt nodded. “Okay,” he said. He resumed staring at the table.
Willow sighed. Kennedy, I could really use a hand right now,
The mental reply was agitated. Willow? Where are you? I couldn’t find you at the hospital, and I overheard these guys talking about hurting you. Are you safe?
Willow chuckled softly. We’re fine. We did have a bit of an incident, but nobody got hurt. We’re home now
, she added. Who’s ‘we’?
Kennedy asked. I sort of had to do magic in front of Kurt,
Willow said, and then he was so shaken up I brought him home with me.
She refrained from mentioning the teleport. I’m plying him with tea now, but I could really use your calming presence.
Willow could hear the snort. Right, my calming presence
, Kennedy snarked. But don’t worry—and don’t go anywhere!—I’ll be right there. We’ll be waiting
, Willow sent, and broke the connection.
The water boiled, and she poured her own cup. “Did you decide which one you want?” she asked.
“Peppermint, please,” Kurt said, still distant in his thoughts, then, “Thanks,” as she handed him the steaming cup.
“Cream? Sugar?” she asked.
“Oh, no, thanks,” he said, “not in herbal.”
“Okay, then,” Willow said, seating herself opposite Kurt. “Can we talk about this? You must have questions.”
“I’ve got a million,” Kurt said. “It’s just a question of nailing one down.”
Willow shrugged invitingly. “Just pick one.”
“OK...” He thought for a moment. “Might as well get the basics out of the way. What was that with those guys, when you knocked them out, and when Sebastian’s gun turned into a snake?”
“Magic,” Willow said simply, sipping at her tea.
“That’s impossible,” Kurt said.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Willow said, slightly peeved. “I thought you wanted the truth. If you’d prefer to believe in a series of stress-induced hallucinations, I’ll totally support you.”
He swallowed nervously. “But magic’s not real.”
“Do you want another demonstration?” she asked.
“You mean you can do that kind of thing whenever you want?”
“Within limits,” Willow said. “I’m a witch.”
“A witch,” Kurt repeated. “Like, black hats, black cats, broom rides, rituals at midnight?”
“No, sometimes, no, and only for holy days and major apocalypses,” she rattled off.
“Major...” Kurt was back to staring at his tea.
“Tell me you didn’t lead with apocalypses, plural,” Kennedy said, joining them in the small kitchen.
“I didn’t!” Willow protested. “And you’ve got to stop being so sneaky.”
“Part of the mystical package,” Kennedy protested, greeting Willow with a kiss.
“Wait, you know about this, too? Are you both witches?” Kurt asked.
“No,” Kennedy said. “Willow’s a witch. I’m actually something else.” She paused. She didn’t send it telepathically, but Willow was sure she practically heard Kennedy wonder if this were a good idea. “I’m a vampire slayer.”
“Oh, right,” Kurt snorted. “What, like Buffy?”
Willow and Kennedy stared at him. Kennedy found her voice first. “Yes, actually,” she said. “How do you know about Buffy?”
“What, haven’t you guys watched TV in the last ten years?” Kurt said. “What universe are you from?”
This time it was Willow who recovered first,. “Funny you should mention that...”
Kurt held up a hand. “Give me a minute before you finish that. There’s only so much I can take at once.” He sipped at his tea again. “It’s a shame this isn’t something stronger.”
Willow waved a hand, wordlessly transforming Kurt’s peppermint tea into peppermint schnapps.
Kurt sputtered at his next sip. “Gah, don’t do that!” he cried. “I’ve had reality disembowled enough for one evening.”
“Eww, nice image,” Willow said.
“Hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it,” Kennedy quipped.
“Oh, god,” Kurt moaned.
Willow changed Kurt’s drink back to its original form, and Kennedy got up to make a cup of tea for herself.
“Kurt, do you want to spend the night here?” Kennedy asked. “We have a cot we can set up in the kitchen.”
“Uh, no, that’s OK,” Kurt said. “My Dad will be worried if I’m not home in...”—he looked at his watch—”half an hour ago. And now he’s going to be pissed.”
“Want us to go with you to help explain?” Kennedy offered. “Without the magical bits, anyway?”
“I don’t know if that would help or not,” Kurt said.
“We can figure that out on the way,” Kennedy suggested.
“OK,” Kurt agreed. “Um, but I don’t really know we are in relation to my car.”
“Oh, yeah, I didn’t see it outside,” Kennedy said. “You guys made pretty good time for walking.”
Willow couldn’t hide a guilty look.
“Really?” Kennedy said, scolding. “You hadn’t given him the big magic reveal yet and you decide to teleport
him across town?”
Willow shrugged. “It seemed better than crashing the car. Not fun,” she added, in case that was in doubt.
Kennedy held her face in her hands for a moment.
“I think I’d done it before,” Kurt said softly.
“What?” Kennedy asked, her voice sharp. “You’ve teleported?”
“Well, not intentionally, but now that I think back, there were plenty of times when we would sing a song for New Directions and find ourselves somewhere else. Maybe we’d start the song in the choir room and finish in the auditorium, or vice versa,” Kurt explained. “Funny that I never noticed before.”
“Perceptual conditioning spell?” Willow wondered.
“I think it happened to us today, too, now that you mention it,” Kennedy said.
“It reminds me of something,” Willow said, “but I can’t remember what right now.”
“I don’t think we’re going to figure this out tonight,” Kennedy said. “Willow, do you have enough juice to get us back to the hospital now?”
“Kind of dicey with three.” Willow shook her head. “Especially twice in one night.”
“I guess I’d better call my Dad,” Kurt said. He finished his tea, though not without a couple of suspicious glances that made Kennedy giggle and Willow look guilty. Then he pulled out his phone.
“Are you sure that’s how we should play this?” Willow asked, after Burt had picked Kurt up. The elder Hummel hadn’t looked happy.
“It’s what you and Kurt agreed to,” Kennedy said. “If you can’t pull off the know-nothing act, you should talk with Kurt first before you come clean.”
“No, it’s OK,” Willow said. “I mean, we’d just have to come up with a different non-magical cover story. I just hope Kurt doesn’t get in too much trouble tonight.”
“You kept him out of a lot worse,” Kennedy responded. “Now come on. No more worrying tonight. Let’s get to bed. I’ve got an early start tomorrow.”
“Oh, right,” Willow said. “Your date with Quinn.”
“Please,” Kennedy protested, “It’s not a date.”
“You’re going to meet a girl... in the park...” Willow teased.
“You know you’re the only one for me, right?” Kennedy said seriously.
“Oh, I know,” Willow laughed. “But you’re fun to work up sometimes.”
“Hey, that’s my line!”
“I think I’m entitled to steal it once in a while,” Kennedy said, placing a kiss on Willow’s nose. “Come on. Let’s finish this conversation in the bedroom.” She grinned wickedly. "Let's see how worked up you can get me."
“Disqualified!?” Rachel screeched.
Kennedy grimaced. She and Willow were walking down the hall toward Blaine’s hospital room, and Rachel’s voice definitely carried. “Show time,” she whispered. Willow nodded.
“Shh, keep your voice down,” Kurt hissed. “This is a hospital.”
“Sorry,” Rachel said. “But that’s pretty shocking news.”
“I know,” Finn said, sounding stunned himself. “With the Warblers unable to compete at regionals, once we get through sectionals...”
“It’s in the bag, I know!” Rachel squealed again.
Kennedy chose that moment to enter the room, Willow in tow. “What’s a warbler?” she asked.
“Hey, Kennedy, Willow,” Finn greeted. “The Warblers are the glee club at Dalton, Blaine’s old school. Kurt’s, too.”
“Oh, right, the prep school. It must have been weird for you guys, coming back here and leaving all your friends there,” Willow said.
"Yeah, some friends," Kurt huffed.
"What do you mean?" Willow asked.
"I—uh—Finn, you tell her. I can't go through it again." Kurt didn’t look at Willow.
Finn started to explain. "Kurt got a call from a guy he knew at Dalton. What was his name? Karl, Kevin..."
"Try 'Jason,'" Kurt corrected.
"Right, Jason," Finn agreed. "Anyway, Jason told Kurt that the Warblers were disqualified."
"And that our favorite squirrel-faced skincare PSA was expelled," Kurt added fiercely.
"Right," Finn said. "Andrew, or Alex..."
"His name is Sebastian," Kurt put in.
"Hey, who's telling this?" Finn objected.
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Boys."
"You're preaching to the choir on that one," Kennedy snarked. Willow shushed her.
Rachel took over. "What they're trying to say is that Blaine's attack wasn't a hate crime. It was cheating!" Clearly in her mind that was worse.
"Cheating?" Willow echoed. Kennedy glared at her. What? I was convincing,
she sent. Don’t overact,
"It sounds like Sebastian paid those McKinley hockey players to attack Blaine to take him out of the competition," Finn finally explained.
"And it worked," Rachel sighed.
"It's not just about Blaine," Finn said.
Kurt raised an eyebrow, eerily close to that expression of Rachel's that let him know he was about to step in it.
"I mean, Sebastian's plan. I'm sure he wanted to knock the rest of us off our game, too."
"And whether that works...." Rachel started.
"...is up to us," Kurt finished.
"Kick their asses," came a parched voice.
"It turns out it wasn't just about Blaine," Willow said, tossing the folded newspaper at Kennedy. Following a retreat to the cafeteria, they had returned to Blaine’s room once the flurry of nurses and tears and phone calls and hugs had subsided. The slayer deftly plucked the awkward flutter of pages from the air.
“Huh,” Kennedy said, reading. “When Sebastian confessed, he really confessed. He was paying the hockey players to harass us in school since the start of the year. Specifically targeting LGBT kids.”
“But Sebastian’s gay,” Finn said. “Why would he do that?”
“If he just had them go after the kids in show choir, maybe it would be too obvious,” Blaine suggested.
“It really wouldn’t,” Kurt remarked bitterly. “We get slushies to the face all the time. Or we did,” he said, throwing a curious look to Willow. The witch smirked at him. Kurt grabbed the rail of Blaine’s bed to steady himself.
Kennedy elbowed Willow, who looked a little guilty.
Blaine watched, puzzled. “Why do I feel like I missed out on a lot?”