Blaine’s head is in Sam’s lap, and Sam’s casually running his fingers through the curls that are never normally allowed out in public, listening to Rachel rant about her director or her costume or something, and trying not to fall asleep. He’s pretty sure Blaine’s already out for the count, but he’s too comfortable to actually move his head and find out, and he lets the conversation the others are having wash over him, content to just stay exactly like this.
It’s been a crazy day, long in the way he’s still not used to, and he knows Blaine’s has been just as bad. It’s at times like this that he misses high school, misses the structure and the freedom at the end of it, misses getting home before it’s dark out and weekends that linger and not having to worry about rent and food and electricity bills. New York’s great, but it’s only when he’s with Blaine - the two of them ignoring the rest of the world - that he feels fully at ease in his own skin, which isn’t a new feeling but still leaves a buzz in his bones all the same.
His eyes have drifted shut of their own accord, and he’s feeling the pleasant tug of sleep when Santana’s voice interrupts Rachel’s monologue.
“Okay, but no, when did this happen?”
He hears Artie snort, and he can just imagine the way his friend’s shaking his head.
“Oh, please,” Santana continues. “I get that they’re besties all of a sudden, but come on.”
“They’re friends, Santana,” Kurt says, and oh, okay, they’re talking about him and Blaine. Which isn’t awkward at all. Sam knows he should probably open his eyes and tell them that they clearly don’t understand the sacred nature of bro cuddle time, but he’s also more aware than anyone that that isn’t entirely true.
“Sure, they’re inseparable and whatever. Trouty gets someone to high five and geek out with, and the Hobbit gets someone to go all mother hen on and tell him he’s awesome,” Santana says, and Sam’s pretty sure that if he had more energy he’d be pissed on Blaine’s behalf. “But none of that explains the touchy-feely, post-coital sprawlage thing they’ve got going on.”
“They’re close,” Mercedes says, but she sounds skeptical even to Sam’s ears.
“Kurt and I share platonic embraces all the time,” Rachel says, which is super true, everyone knows that, except then she says, “It’s exactly the same,” which, uh. No. It’s not, and Sam wonders exactly how much his friends know about the past year of his life.
“Precisely,” Kurt says, and okay, so Kurt apparently doesn’t know any more than Rachel which is kind of weird and Sam should probably ask Blaine about that another time when they’re awake and not folded in on each other.
“Okay, y’all,” Artie says, and his tone makes it perfectly clear that he thinks they’re all talking crazy. “Except no.”
“What?” Santana says. “You gonna tell us your senior year was some school-wide love fest?”
“Well sure,” Artie says. “For those two. Not so much for the rest of us.”
“We get it,” Kurt says, sounding a little huffy. “You’re saying they became weirdly close out of necessity or whatever and now they resemble codependent koalas.”
Artie laughs, and Sam realizes what he’s going to say about two seconds before he says it. “No, I’m saying that you don’t date for, like, six months and not end up super comfortable around each other.”
The room goes deathly silent, and Sam has a moment to think ‘dating’s a bit of a strong term’ before he twigs that a) none of them knew, and b) none of them knew. Which sort of blows Sam’s mind because everyone knew? Or, everyone at McKinley knew, anyway. They weren’t exactly subtle about it, and to be honest, besides Tina’s initial freak out, no one in school had cared. At the time that had been a huge relief; the football team had gone quiet after all the stuff with Karofsky had gone down, but the other sports teams had been more than happy to pick up the slack in Sam’s junior year. Come senior year, though, it was like no one actually gave a damn about harassing the glee club, and as President and VP (and co-captain of the Cheerios in Blaine’s case), the two of them were pretty high up the social ladder without even meaning to be.
It wasn’t dating, though. Not really. It was more…friends with benefits? Best friends with benefits? Someone he could speak Na’vi with and marathon Star Wars and sing Disney medleys, and also spend entire days in Blaine’s bed when his parents were out of town on business. It was the easiest relationship Sam’s ever been in by far, and when Blaine had suddenly gone quiet and pulled back, Sam had let him because losing the sexy times was better than losing all the other stuff.
Then the whole engagement thing happened, and Sam had deliberately stopped thinking about any of it, had agreed to be the Best Man and moved to New York and generally continued to try and be the best friend Blaine could ever have, because that was the most important thing.
It still is.
He just can’t believe none of his friends knew.
He knows that Blaine wouldn’t keep secrets from Kurt deliberately, not after the whole one night stand debacle, which must mean that he assumes Kurt knew too, and, yeah. Sam’s starting to think that they maybe gave their friends too much credit when it came to keeping up with their lives.
“You’re kidding?” Santana says, a little too loudly and after a little too long, and Sam wonders if Artie’s wincing with his own realization.
“How did you guys miss that?” Artie says, sounding stunned and defensive all at once. “Tina had a blog dedicated to them! Coach Sue tried to get them crowned Mr. and Mr. Ohio in a completely made up election! Which isn’t actually as offensive as it sounds only because I’m pretty sure Blaine’s, like, the second student in the history of time she’s actually liked. Brittany did a Fondue for Two about their “sexy boy kisses”. Even Jacob Israel kept up a running Blam Watch segment on his site. So I repeat, how did you guys miss that?”
“I-” Kurt starts. “What?”
“Oh my god,” Rachel says, and Sam’s sure she has that half genuinely shocked, half desperate for gossip thing going on.
“Yeah,” Mercedes agrees, and it’s all shock in her voice. Sam gets it; she’s the only girl he’s dated that’s genuinely liked him, and if this is all brand new information then it probably has kind of ripped the rug out from under her. “Oh my god.”
“Like, for real dated?” Santana asks. “Not just pathetic ‘bro dates’ or whatever?”
“Like, ‘I can’t count the amount of times we caught them making out in the choir room’ dated,” Artie says, and Sam should probably intervene before this all goes any further, but--
But part of him really wants to know how this is going to go down.
“Wow,” Santana says, and Sam’s impressed that Artie’s managed to throw her off her game.
“Why wouldn’t Blaine tell me any of this?” Kurt asks, and he sounds kind of hurt and kind of mad, and Sam’s preparing himself to run so much interference tomorrow when he feels Blaine’s hand tighten around his ankle and realizes that neither of them are as asleep as the others think.
And Blaine’s not saying anything either.
“My guess is that he thought you knew,” Artie says, voice a little softer. “Puck and Finn and Mike all knew. I think even Quinn knew and she barely ever came back to Lima.”
“But,” Kurt says, and he’s definitely leaning more towards mad now, “I didn’t even know he was-- He never said that he was even thinking about--”
“Seeing other people?” Mercedes asks, and he assumes Kurt nods because she continues. “Didn’t you date that Adam guy? And hook up with that thief-shaped-Santa?”
Blaine’s hand’s still wrapped around Sam’s ankle, and Sam only just manages to stop himself sighing when he starts running the pads of his fingers gently over the skin there in tiny, nonsensical patterns. He doesn’t let himself think about how much he’s missed this, missed Blaine’s intentional touches in forms besides hugs and high fives, only because if he starts he doesn’t think he’ll be able to switch it off this time.
“Well, yes,” Kurt says. “But Blaine knew about Adam.”
“Because you specifically told him or because you changed your Facebook status?” Artie asks, and wow. Harsh. Sam’s impressed.
“I told him, thank you very much,” Kurt says, sniffing at the insult. “At Mr. Schue’s disastrous wedding.”
Ah. The wedding. Sam feels Blaine’s fingers still and then his thumb press down in apology, like Sam has any right to feel mad about Blaine hooking up with his ex when they never even defined what the hell was going on between them. Sure, at the time it had hurt like a bitch, but Sam’s never been able to stay mad at Blaine, mostly because he knows that Blaine’s not perfect but he also knows that he’s got the best heart of all of them.
“You mean the wedding where you two went at it on any available surface?” Mercedes says, and that’s definitely judgment in her tone.
“Okay,” Kurt says. “Not my most shining moment, I’ll admit. But that’s not the point. The point is that Blaine never told me about him and Sam, and if I’d known--”
“If you’d known, what?” Rachel asks, and Sam thinks it’s a minor miracle she’s stayed quiet this long.
“Well, I don’t know how comfortable I’d have been about letting my fiancé’s ex sleep on my couch for months!”
“Please,” Santana snorts. “You weren’t comfortable with it when you thought they were just bff. We’ve all sat through your well rehearsed rant on that one.”
The fingers of Blaine’s other hand wrap around his knee, like he’s letting Sam know that none of this is coming from him, and Sam does know that, but he won’t deny that he appreciates the reassurance.
“Look at them,” Kurt says. “It was sort of cute before, but now--”
“But now there are added layers of intent,” Rachel says, like she understands exactly what’s going on because she’s seen life in her eighteen months away from Lima, Ohio. “Or, at least, perceived intent.”
“Yes!” Kurt says, and Sam thinks it’s great that they’re best friends because he’s not sure anyone else would get them the way they get each other. “I mean, after the whole Sebastian and Eli C. thing--”
Sam can feel the way Blaine’s entire body freezes, the tension making him feel brittle, and Sam curves the palm of his hand around the back of Blaine’s neck, gently tugging at the curls that are still threaded through his fingers and hoping that Blaine understands everything he’s not saying.
You’d forgiven yourself. You can’t go backwards. You were a teenager who made a mistake. This isn’t one of those things that will define your life.
“You need to decide whether you can get over that or not,” Artie says, calmly but firmly. “You have every right not to, but you also can’t hold it over his head and bring it up every time you learn something new about him that doesn’t fit in with the fifteen year old boy you met at Dalton. Not if you actually plan to marry him and spend the rest of your lives together.”
It’s such a true statement, is everything Sam thinks all of them have wanted to bring up at least once since they came to New York, that he can’t believe someone’s actually said it. Apparently Blaine can’t either because he goes suddenly boneless, melting into Sam with something that’s probably sadness and definitely relief.
No one says anything for a while, and Sam wonders if tomorrow he’ll be able to look any of them in the eye and pretend he doesn’t know that everything’s changed. He wonders if Blaine will.
“I know,” Kurt says, eventually, and he sounds exhausted now, too. “I know I’m not being fair. I just-- I love him so much but I’m afraid that, when it comes down to it, I don’t actually know him anymore.”
“I think I’m going to go for a walk,” he continues, once that’s sunk in, and Sam’s suddenly very aware that this is one of those moments, one where everything can change in the blink of an eye. “If anyone wants to join me, they’re welcome. I’ll probably stop for ice cream.”
Sam hears the scuff of chairs against floorboards, the jingle of keys, and then the room feels suddenly empty.
“I’m really sorry, guys,” Artie says, after enough time’s passed. “I didn’t mean--”
“It’s fine, Artie,” Blaine says, sleep still settled on his tongue, and Sam wonders how long Artie’s known they were faking it. “It-- it needed to be said.”
Sam shifts as Blaine sits up, stretching his arms over his head and leaning back into the couch.
Artie scoffs. “Well, yeah, but I didn’t mean to bring everything to such a--” He waves his hands about a bit, looking for the right word, and it’s Sam who says, “Crossroads.”
Blaine blinks at him, nodding slowly, like it’s all starting to sink in.
“Yes,” he says. “A crossroads.”
Artie sighs, pulling on his gloves and shooting them one last guilty look. “I honestly thought they knew,” he says, and Sam shakes his head.
“I think we all did, man.”
Neither of them talk as Artie leaves, promising to catch up tomorrow, once the storm’s passed, and Sam can feel his own heart start to beat faster with every passing second.
“I’m sorry,” Blaine says, finally. “I never told you that.”
Sam shrugs and doesn’t look at him. “It’s okay,” he says. “I mean, if you weren’t still my best friend it wouldn’t be, but--”
Blaine sighs, and Sam knows he’s tugging at the hem of his shirt. “I wish you’d stop letting me get away with things.”
Sam frowns, finally turning to face him. “What do you mean?”
“I mean,” Blaine says, eyes wide and gesturing between them, “that I’m a dick and I don’t deserve you, this, any of it.”
“Yeah, but no,” Sam says, because it’s really important Blaine understands. “You deserve everything.”
Blaine makes a choked off noise, something deep and painful, and Sam wonders if he should apologize, should take the words back and just keep trying to show Blaine through actions the way he’s always done, but then Blaine’s leaning forward and burying his face in the curve of Sam’s neck.
“How are you even real, Sam Evans?” Blaine asks, the words muffled against Sam’s skin, and Sam shudders under his mouth and thinks best friend, best friend, best friend, until he can bring his own arms up to wrap around Blaine’s back.
“It’ll be okay,” Sam says, eventually, and he knows he can’t promise that, not really, but he also knows he’ll do anything he can to make it true. “It’ll be okay.”
“It will,” Blaine says, strangely certain, and for the first time in a long time Sam has no idea what’s going on inside his head. “It really will be, Sam.”
Sam’s pretty sure that he’s going to wake up tomorrow morning and the world’s going to have permanently changed, the sort that sets everyone down a different path, and he doesn’t know if that’s going to be a bad thing or a good thing, so he just tightens his arms around Blaine and holds on for a little while longer.