Internet crisis solved! Usually, I do my best to try and respond to at least half of the reviews that I get, but thanks to a faulty internet connection and me never being home during business hours, that's been going not so well lately. So to anyone who reviewed Friendly Rapport or any of my other stories lately, apologies, appreciation, and accolades (:

I don't own Glee. I had a slushie last week, though.


If he was being summoned for execution, Kurt mused, as ten fingernails dug into each sleeve of his D&G sweater, at least he'd have an excuse for not handing in his physics homework.

That his demise was imminent was certain: when he'd turned the corner into the science wing two minutes earlier, three sophomore Cheerios had been waiting for him in the doorway of his classroom. Kurt recognized the insidiously neutral expression gracing each face; a studied blankness only found on the broken-spirited girls entirely under the thumb of Coach Sylvester. Pleading, rationalizing, bribery; all were useless in the face of such thorough brainwashing. Running and hiding were both futile—candidates selected by Coach Sylvester as potential future personal lackeys often went missing for weeks at a time, coming back with a skill set suspiciously similar to those acquired during Green Beret training.

Recognizing the hopelessness of his situation, Kurt had sighed heavily and handed over his bag to the smallest of the three girls, allowing the other two to march him down the hall to the athletic wing. Fortunately, his reputation for style and glamour had permeated the brains of even the most empty-headed of Cheerios, and their uncomfortably tight grips on his biceps were still light enough to avoid wrinkling his sweater. Thank Kors for small miracles.

Now, as they neared the door to Coach Sylvester's office, Kurt was feverishly wracking his brain, trying to figure out what he'd done to incite the level of wrath that would result in a team of mercenary Cheerios being sent after him. It couldn't be merely a minor annoyance—those were typically dealt with via corporal punishment or public humiliation. It also was unlikely that he'd done something she found truly horrible, or she would have talked Santana into publicly disemboweling him as a warning to other would-be miscreants.

And Kurt had to shudder at how little it would take to convince Santana to put a knife through his large intestine. Shaking his head to clear that sobering thought, Kurt willed himself to look composed as the Cheerio holding his bag knocked on the door to Sylvester's office and pushed it open.

Coach Sylvester, as expected, was seated behind her desk, looking visibly annoyed. What was not expected was the giant syringe and stack of papers strewn across the desk, or that she was not alone: Brittany was sitting across from her in a red folding chair, gazing dazedly at a spider on the ceiling. She gave no outward sign indicating that she had noticed the four students entering the office, and continued to swing her foot gently back and forth under her chair.

Coach Sylvester glared disapprovingly at the Cheerios. "Shoddy work, Minions," she decreed. "When I say I want a Flaming Homosexual tracked down and dragged into my office using any means necessary, there's no reason it should take more than three minutes—those pants are visible from space." The two Cheerios who were still holding onto Kurt looked first at his pants, then at each other, then at Coach Sylvester, clearly confused. The third Cheerio had the good sense to avoid any eye contact—Kurt had heard at least five variations on the rumor that Sue Sylvester could freeze enemies with her eyes just like Medusa—and merely hung her head in shame.

Sylvester sighed dismissively. "Thirty wind sprints on the track before practice. Make the first one out of my sight." Obediently, the girls bolted out the door; the third Cheerio shoving Kurt's bag roughly into his chest while whipping past him. Slightly winded, he looked at Coach Sylvester, who indicated the chair next to Brittany with a tilt of her head. "Have a seat, Liberace," she commanded. "Your sheer terror is much more enjoyable when I'm towering over you, and frankly, I don't feel like standing right now." Starting to feel a bit of that sheer terror now that her attention was directed at him, Kurt sat, swallowing the sudden lump in his throat as best as he could.

As he settled himself into his chair, Brittany finally noticed him, and waved in what she probably thought was a discreet manner. Kurt gave her a shaky smile in return, while watching Coach Sylvester fold her hands sinisterly on the desk in front of her.

"I have a bone to pick, Hummel," she began, "and as you are part of the problem, you are going to make sure you are part of the solution, or I will chop your impossibly petite, androgynous little body into so many pieces that they'll be serving fruit salad in the cafeteria for weeks. Do I make myself clear?" Kurt opened his mouth, having no ready response. "I-I—"

"That's enough backtalk," Sylvester ordered, and Kurt promptly shut his mouth again. She smiled darkly. "Now. A little bird told me that one William Schuester had you hauled in to see Principal Figgins on a matter involving insubordination and, dare I say it, mouthiness, during that disturbing bi-weekly acne-fest masquerading as a legitimate music rehearsal." Her eyes glittered maniacally, and Kurt felt his palms begin to sweat.

"Normally, such a complaint reaching my ears would be thoroughly rewarded—a trip to Tijuana, exclusive access to my nuclear missile silo, etc. The more avenues through which Schuester's pathetic existence is slowly annihilated, the less time I have to devote to it personally, and the more time I can spend plotting my 2013 takeover of the United Nations." Apparently misinterpreting Kurt's shocked expression, she grimaced. "I know, why not sooner? The truth is, part of the plan involves the total destruction of the greater London area, and I'd hate to do that before the 2012 Olympics and deny myself all those images of physical pain and crushed hopes and dreams."

Kurt nodded in what he hoped was a sympathetic manner. He had already stayed alive approximately nineteen seconds longer than he had anticipated—if he could keep her ranting on other subjects, it was possible she'd forget whatever he had done wrong until after he had escaped.

Unfortunately, Brittany chose that moment to cough, breaking Coach Sylvester's misdirected bloodlust. If Kurt didn't adore her so much, he'd have to throttle her in her sleep some night.

"In any case, while I was initially thrilled that my French-warbling castrato was apparently following in the footsteps of one Sue Sylvester by publicly tormenting the Hazmat zone that is Will Schuester and his hair, I was less pleased that the subject of your shrill diatribe was that washed-up, promiscuous, rebellion instigator, Britney Spears."

She shook her head with disgust, her eyes narrowing dangerously. "Britney Spears. There are a thousand reasons why that name brings bile lunging up the back of my throat, and why I plan on having her publicly executed when I'm President. She had better enjoy the few years she has left; once I turn thirty-five, her days are numbered. But I digress. Today, the reason that disturbs me the most is that you, and a number of your other 'Glee club buddies' have managed to infect my previously vacuous but mentally malleable protégé with your Britney worship. And I. Do not. Appreciate it."

Kurt looked at Brittany. Apparently unconcerned that she was being talked about by her psychopath coach, she was picking at her nail polish.

Coach Sylvester was still ranting. "At first, I thought the flashes of self esteem and arrogance were a side effect of the Alzheimer's medication I've recently started doctoring her Master Cleanse with," she admitted. Brittany smiled hazily at that. "It makes my drink taste like coins," she affirmed. Kurt choked.

Sylvester continued as if she hadn't noticed the interruption. "I took a drug test to confirm that it was actually staying in her system long enough to reach her clearly undersized brain," she explained. Kurt nodded, somewhat disturbed, but definitely relieved that the syringe on the desk had already served its purpose. Except…"Isn't that kind of a large amount of blood for a drug test?" he asked, eyeing the oversized barrel.

Sylvester waved a glib hand. "My sources tell me that Bela Karolyi dropped a lot of seed in middle America in the early nineties." She looked at Brittany appraisingly. "The paternity test was inconclusive, but I stand by my suspicions that such a heady combination of excessive stupidity, uncontrollable word vomit, and unnatural flexibility can only be come by naturally."

"The drug tests, however, showed slight traces of both the medication and hallucinogens, neither in amounts potent enough to modify the behavior of the dimmest of bulbs. Which is, obviously, the baseline we're concerned with in this case." Coach Sylvester glared at both Kurt and Brittany from across the desk. "Which leads me to the obvious conclusion that you and your 'Glee Club' are somehow building up her self image to the extent that she's beginning to display signs of 'original thought' and 'opinion'. I don't think I have to tell you what a disaster it would be if Brittany began attempting to think for herself, or endeavoring to act in her own self interest. Just think: instead of cluelessly wandering around town in a haze of bewilderment, she could potentially get behind the wheel of a vehicle to try and get somewhere. Instead of blindly copying the work of her peers, she could try and make an effort on her own, trashing her academic eligibility and future prospects. Worst of all—she could develop…interests of her own, instead of being brainlessly content to cheer and sing and dance when told. The Dutch are a tricky bunch, Hummel, and I will hold you personally responsible if she starts expressing any sort of fondness for tulips or European football. You have ninety seconds to release your insidious hold over my Cheerio before I begin expressing my...displeasure."

Kurt shuddered horribly. Privately, he had been thrilled at Brittany's Britney/drug-induced confidence, particularly when it had served his own purposes in his battle with Mr. Schue. But the idea of Brittany behind the wheel of a moving vehicle… His sweet, ditzy friend couldn't even make a bowl of soup without resulting in a DEF CON 2 level alert. Much as he felt like a terrible person admitting it, Coach Sylvester potentially had a point.

On the other hand, crushing Brittany's self esteem was somewhat akin to kicking a mentally deficient beagle puppy, and he didn't think he could bring himself to do it.

Practicing his yoga breathing, Kurt slowly turned in his chair to face Brittany. "Britt, sweetheart," he began, trying to formulate a plan on the spot that wouldn't end in dismemberment or tears (both his own). Brittany smiled brightly. "Hi, Kurt," she responded in her usual, slightly flat tone.

Kurt smiled back gently. "So, here's the thing, Britt. You know how you're the most talented out of everybody in Glee club?" Brittany nodded, as if the observation was a foregone conclusion. "Well," Kurt continued, stalling slightly, "it turns out…you're so talented in Glee, that it's making everyone else scared to sing and dance. They're afraid they'll look stupid in comparison." Brittany nodded again. "I get that," she agreed. "They look pretty stupid anyway, though."

Coach Sylvester's mouth twitched, nearly reaching a smile before flickering back to her previous stony expression.

"Anyway," Kurt went on, "it might be a good idea if we kept how talented you are a secret for a while, just until everyone calms down a little. You can still tell me and Santana, but if Rachel gets any shriller or Finn's dancing gets any worse, the choir room might explode." Both Brittany and Coach Sylvester reacted to Kurt's assessment of the situation: Brittany with wide-eyed alarm, Sylvester with barely restrained excitement.

"So, is it a deal?" Kurt asked Brittany, mentally willing her to agree—he didn't have a back up plan yet. Fortunately, it didn't look like he'd need one. "It's a deal," Brittany promised. "Principal Figgins said that if I make anything else explode, I'll get suspended and have to talk to Ms. Pillsbury, like, all the time."

"…right," Kurt said slowly, "terrific." He glanced at Coach Sylvester, who had leaned back in her seat. Her eyes studied Brittany. "All right," she agreed. "Brittany. If I tell you to jump, what do you say?"

Brittany stared cluelessly at Coach Sylvester. Coach Sylvester smiled. "Exactly."

Sitting back up in her chair, she began shuffling papers around her desk. "All right, I have nothing of particular importance to do, but your presence is starting to bore me. Get out before my boredom becomes something more sinister." Kurt didn't need to be told twice. Hastily getting to his feet, he tugged Brittany up by the arm and started quickly toward the door.

Just as he had pushed Brittany out into the hall and was about to follow, Coach Sylvester called after him. "One more thing, Hummel. Do you enjoy the jock itch contaminated sweat of a Jewish butt crack?"

Kurt felt his throat close over in disgust. "Not even slightly," he managed to choke out, vaguely wondering if he could wait the thirty seconds it would take him to get to the bathroom to throw up.

Coach Sylvester shrugged. "Okay, just checking. On a related note, you might want to burn those pants you're wearing. Thanks for disinfecting my chair."

Kurt was wrong. It only took eight and a half seconds to sprint to the bathroom.